Match Analysis: Alfredo Morelos vs Aberdeen

By Jamie Currie
 January 13, 2021

Rangers recorded their 15 league win on the bounce on Sunday at Pittodrie. Steven Gerrard’s side beat 10-man Aberdeen 2-1 and that allowed Rangers to start their Tuesday morning with a 21 point lead in the table. Rangers’ goals came in either half after James Tavernier had missed a penalty. The goals came from the right boot of Colombian hitman Alfredo Morelos.

Matty Kennedy’s goal deep into the second half made the score 2-1 but that couldn’t dampen a great day for Rangers and Morelos, in particular, as he picked up the Man of the Match award.

Morelos was excellent all afternoon and I will analyse his performance during the 90 minutes against the Dons.

Movement and link-up in the build-up phase

A new feature of Morelos’ game this season is him coming deeper and playing the role of a false nine. During this match Morelos had 52 touches during the 90 minutes. In the previous two matches before this he had 50 touches against St Mirren while grabbing a goal and 41 in the win over Celtic.

Interestingly, however, Morelos from the off mixed his game up and as a consequence made Ash Taylor’s afternoon a miserable one.

rangers v aberdeen

15 seconds into the game Morelos is looking to unsettle Taylor. The Colombian gets in behind and Taylor fails to deal with James Tavernier’s long pass and unfortunately for Morelos he didn’t get a good connection on the ball.

rangers v aberdeen

Again, later on in the half, Morelos gets in behind and down the side of Taylor; no goalscoring chances come from this run in behind from the Colombian getting on the end of Steven Davis’ through-ball, but it illustrates the variety Morelos had to his game.

rangers v aberdeen

To continue the variety theme. Morelos against Taylor — who was his man-marker — came to the forefront again in the above image. Morelos drop deep this time, as Taylor is man-marking him, he leaves his position. Therefore, when Barisic receives the ball from the Colombian, he’s able to get the ball into the centre of the goal with ease because Taylor has vacated the area and therefore, cannot attack the ball. Unfortunately for Kent, his effort was cleared off the line by Jonny Hayes.

rangers v aberdeen

Before Kent’s effort being blocked off the line he was involved in a move that didn’t quite come off, but it illustrated how Rangers’ forward rotations were able to break Aberdeen lines even before the sending off.

As the image shows, Kent is deep and Morelos drops, Taylor shadows, thus creating the space — red shaded area — for Steven Davis to run in behind. Obviously this space wouldn’t have been open to exploit if it wasn’t for Morelos removing Taylor from the area.

rangers v aberdeen

Morelos was outstanding and not only did he grab a brace but he was instrumental in winning the penalty.

He received the ball close to the white shaded area. And then it’s all about him utterly decimating the man-marking system. He spins, feeds Aribo and simply outpaces Taylor and burst into the red shaded area — where Taylor would have been if he had passed Morelos on — and he’s clipped by the backtracking Ryan Hedges when in the act of shooting.

Alfredo Morelos: the goals

Morelos’ attacking stats were really good; two shots on target and one blocked from a three total shots. One key pass and 31 accurate passes.

First goal

rangers v aberdeen

The quality of his two goals were superb. The first goal was all about the spin and snapshot. Typical Morelos, in all honesty. When he received the ball on the half-turn, he made himself some space and quickly unleashed a shot back across Joe Lewis. It certainly wasn’t a finish of a striker who was low on confidence in front of goal.

Second goal

rangers v aberdeen

This goal again was about Morelos playing between the width of the posts. Kent‘s flick and Hagi’s run across the front post, take out the Aberdeen three central defenders and leaves Morelos space, and it’s that one touch and quick finish beyond Joe Lewis.

More touches in the box = more chances to score — simplicity at its finest

rangers v aberdeen
Six touches inside the box
rangers v aberdeen
Two touches inside the box
rangers v aberdeen
10 touches inside the box

It’s pretty simple to suggest the more touches a player has inside the box, the better chance they have of scoring. In terms of matches against Aberdeen, this was Morelos’ highest number of touches inside the box with 10 in comparison to six and two in the previous two fixtures. Furthermore, Morelos had more of his touches higher up the park in Sunday’s match compared to the other two games and while he’s taken on a new role. Sunday was his best display in terms of combining the new role with confident finishing and, as a result, goalscoring.

Final thoughts

Is this a return to form for the Bufalo? Only time will tell but it will certainly go a long way to ease the feelings of those who felt he had fell off a cliff in front of goal. You have to hope that he is on his way to banging them in just in time to fire Rangers to the title. No matter the wide range of opinions on Morelos, his new role and his goalscoring this season, Rangers are by far a better and more potent side with Morelos leading the line.

He now has six league goals, being just five behind joint leaders James Tavernier and Kevin Nesbit. I wouldn’t put it past him to outscore both players now he looks like he has his goalscoring mojo back.

It’s great for Morelos and Rangers but on the flip side it’s looking pretty ominous for the rest of the league if Morelos can replicate this type of performance, hunger and goalscoring quality between now and May.

He’s got to build on this performance and make sure he is the man who fires Rangers over the line. This is Rangers’ time and hopefully it’s Alfredo Morelos time too.

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