Post-match Analysis: Rangers vs St Mirren

By Jamie Currie
 August 10, 2020

Rangers followed up their away win at Pittodrie with a convincing start to their home campaign. The Gers managed to put three goals past the Buddies without reply. Rangers took the lead through an Conor McCarthy own goal in the first half after Alfredo Morelos fired the ball across the area in the 23rd minute.

The second half was a bit hit-and-miss until the match was sealed by a double from the much talked about Alfredo Morelos. His first came from a bullet header via a superb James Tavernier corner in the 69th minute and the second was a tap-in from about a yard out; this came after some great link-up play between Joe Aribo and Borna Barisic.

Now, I will look at three of the main features to arise from the 90 minutes at Ibrox stadium from a tactical and statistical viewpoint.

Alfredo Morelos looked sharp and hungry for goals

He was the topic of great debate on social media, as he usually is, but again, while many wanted him dropped for Cedric Itten, Alfredo Morelos is a man who continues to prove people wrong.

Aside from his brace, Morelos’ his all-round play was superb. He made ​28​ passes with a pass accuracy of ​84.6%​; he also made ​two​ key passes. Furthermore, Morelos had ​eight​ shots overall, with​ five​ of them being on target. Let’s have a look at Morelos’ goals.

Morelos' power outfoxes the Saints defender

The above image is vintage Morelos – power and desire and a powerful header. As you can see he already has a start on the defender and keeps going to power the header past Jak Alnwick.

Morelos runs from deep and gets in at the back post to score

The above image illustrates how pivotal Morelos is in the build-up to his second goal of the day; he exchanges passes with Joe Aribo and breaks his neck to sprint from the blue shaded area to get himself in between the post and on the end of Barisic’s cross. It was a good afternoon for the Colombian hitman.

Changing shape helped break down the St Mirren low block

Steven Gerrard tweaked his shape for this match, moving from the 4-3-2-1 which was utilised against Aberdeen and Bayer Leverkusen to a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Joe Aribo playing more to the right and Ianis Hagi directly in behind Alfredo Morelos.

While this may not look like a big shift, you can see in the above images that Morelos is playing more of a traditional number 9 against St. Mirren and the full-backs are far higher and the attacking areas in general are less condensed. Even though it’s not Joe Aribo’s best position playing as a right-winger it helps the overall balance of the front four become more effective.

The Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara double pivot

The Jack-Kamara midfield axis is another topic which causes much debate within the fanbase. However, they proved how effective they can be in a slightly altered shape. They were tasked with covering the rampaging full-back as they doubled up as wingers in the attacking phases of play. Additionally, Glen Kamara allowed Ryan Jack to play as a six while he was the one who was more involved in the final third along with the front four. Kamara registered one shot and three key passes, which is a large shift from Aberdeen where he has zero in both categories. He also had a pass completion percentage of ​98%​ from ​99 ​passes and ​108 ​touches.

Maybe it’s that the Rangers fans are conditioned to the fact that Jack and Kamara are too similar in a 4-3-2-1, but this match was a positive in terms of a partnership as the defensive midfield partnership.

Conclusion

It was a positive afternoon for Rangers all-round. They beat the low block comfortably and they have their main striker finding the net again. The system worked really well and should be the go-to shape at home to the smaller sides going forward. It really couldn’t have been any more dominant. If there was to be a criticism it’s that the attacking players should be shooting more instead of trying to score the perfect goal, but that is nitpicking on a good afternoon for Rangers.

Written by Jamie Currie (@jamiecurrie89)

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