Scott Arfield’s injury is certainly a massive blow for Rangers, and it leaves Steven Gerrard in a real state of emergency.
As the squad heads to McDiarmid Park on Sunday for a crunch clash with St Johnstone, one postion sees the Gers notably light. Thanks to Arfield’s injury, Rangers have no natural number 10 available.
The midfielder came off at half-time against Hibs with an apparent hamstring injury. The longevity of that could potentally be a concern, especially with Saints, Hibs, and Celtic all to come before the Winter break.
Ross McCrorie came on against Hibs and did an extremely capable job. He wasn’t scared to push forward, and subsequently moved the ball well without being overly-threatening.
That’s the main issue here. Rangers only have defensve-midfielders available for Sunday. Whilst Ryan Jack, Lassana Coulibaly, and McCrorie can get forward, they never really look a threat. Coulibaly in particular gets into some terrific postions, but is let down by his decison-making.
Rangers also have Andy Halliday available, but once again, he’s not a natural number 10. The Ovie Ejaria departure has left that hole, and it’s one the club simply have to fill in January.
How do Rangers go about replacing Arfield?
But for Sunday, how should Gerrard go about this?
Jack and McCrorie will likely feature. The former is a constant in Gerrard’s squad, whils the manager showered McCrorie with praise after his Hibs performance.
The other alternatives to Coulibaly and Halliday would be the wide men. The likes of Daniel Candeias and Eros Grezda have never featured in the number 10 position. Grezda may be worth a shout, but it’s not a role you can see Candeias performing well in at all.
Gerrard could always switch to two up top and go 4-4-2. This would allow any combination of Jack/McCrorie/Coulibaly to play their more natural game. The downside of that, however is the fact that the ill-fated partnership between Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty would be back again.
There’s no obvious solution for Sunday. In the matches Arfield has been suspended, Gerrard has been keen to give different stars a chance. Who should he select to take Arfield’s place on Sunday, however?
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