If Rangers are to get a result at Parkhead next weekend, Ovie Ejaria must be dropped for Lassana Coulibaly.
Steven Gerrard’s men take the huge trip to Celtic Park next Sunday looking to beat their rivals for the first time in over two years. There is real optimism for the first time in years heading into an Old Firm game.
It appears that Rangers’ strengths align nicely with Celtic’s main weaknesses. However, in order for Gerrard’s men to get a result, he has to select the right team.
It may seem odd timing considering the on-loan Liverpool kid just notched his first goal for the club at Fir Park. Ejaria slotted home a tremendously worked goal, albeit Trevor Carson’s goalkeeping for Motherwell left a lot to be desired.
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Can’t be risked
However, the 20-year-old simply cannot be risked heading to Celtic Park next Sunday.
This is mainly down to the fact that Ejaria still has the tendency to make loose passes and lose the ball easily. There’s no doubting the youngster is growing into the Rangers jersey week-by-week.
But, if Rangers are to get a result, starting Ejaria could prove costly. With Celtic’s strongest area of the park being the midfield, Rangers need players in there who can break up the play.
Gerrard has, in the past, labelled Coulibaly a destroyer. That’s the one kind of player Rangers have missed in Old Firm games for too long over the years. A lack of fight in the engine room has led to the likes of Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham having it all their own way.
In order for Gerrard to ensure that doesn’t happen again, he needs a player like Coulibaly in there.
Equally, the Rangers manager needs Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield in the centre of his midfield too. Jack has been a consistently positive performer since Gerrard came to the club, and can’t drop out next week.
Arfield plays in the number 10 role in behind the striker. Therefore, it’s not likely that he’ll find himself being dropped for a defensive midfielder.
That leaves Ejaria to drop out of the side next Sunday. It may seem harsh on the Liverpool kid given his goal and generally positive display on Sunday.
However, Gerrard has to put the team first in this situation. Fans want nothing less than a marker to be laid down at Celtic Park.
In order for them to do so, Coulibaly needs to be in there and Ejaria needs to drop out.