After watching midfield dominance overcome Maribor, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has stressed the importance of balance in the engine room.
Lassana Coulibaly, Ovie Ejaria, and Scott Arfield all patrolled the centre of the field against the Slovenians. Rangers ended up controlling that area of the park in an impressive 3-1 success at Ibrox on Thursday night.
It was a combination of strength, skill, and composure from all three that earned them such heroic reviews from supporters. And Gerrard believes that contest showed the strength of having the right balance throughout the midfield.
Balance is exactly what we need. We can’t have three Coulibalys, three Arfields. It just doesn’t work. If you play with three in the midfield then it’s important the blend is right. You have your tough enforcer type, who can go and bite, snap and back it up, who’s a powerful runner. You need your artist in there who can open the door if you’re up against blocks and teams who are difficult to break down. Then you need someone who can complement both. Against Maribor, the balance was really good, and in the previous game Ryan Jack did a tremendous job as well. The competition is getting hot in that midfield, there are four, but you also have Jordan Rossiter to come back in.
The midfield continues to be the one area of the pitch where the Gers are almost over-stacked. With Jack, Ejaria, Coulibaly, and Arfield all playing in recent weeks, Rangers still have Graham Dorrans, Ross McCrorie, and Rossiter in the squad.
Therefore it does provide Gerrard with options in terms of his formation.
Rangers have tended to play with a midfield three during the early part of Gerrard’s tenure. However, the options available to him means that Rangers have the luxury of trying out different formations and styles.
We can play with two holders and a number 10. We can play with two 8’s and a 6, we can play with two in the middle. There are a lot of options and a lot of personnel fighting for places, which is healthy for the team
Rangers will look to kick on against St Mirren at Ibrox this afternoon.