Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Glasgow Rangers side head into Sunday’s Premiership clash knowing that they simply must secure all three points if they are to give themselves any chance of retaining their domestic crown this season.
Indeed, with their Glasgow arch-rivals currently leading by nine points in the league, the Light Blues cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to push the table-toppers as far as possible over the remaining five games of the 2021/22 campaign after today’s clash.
As such, while a trip to Stephen Robinson’s 10th-placed St Mirren should not cause the Europa League quarter-finalists too many problems, Van Bronckhorst must nevertheless ensure that he gets his team selection spot-on against the Buddies in order to secure victory.
While it is true Leon Balogun had something of a shocker in the 1-0 defeat to Sporting Braga last time out, it would appear as if Fashion Sakala is the most likely candidate for the chop on Sunday afternoon, as the 25-year-old well and truly fluffed his big chance leading the line for Rangers on Thursday.
Indeed, over his 62 minutes on the pitch in Portugal, the centre-forward cost his side dearly through his wastefulness in front of goal and extremely poor hold-up play. The £3.6m-rated striker missed the target with both of his shots at goal – one of which was deemed a big chance – completed just three of his seven attempted passes and enjoyed just 20 touches of the ball.
The £10k-per-week forward also lost all 10 of his duels, committed two fouls, was flagged offside once and lost possession 11 times, meaning he gave the ball away with every 1.8 touches. These returns saw the 25-year-old earn a hugely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.1.
Furthermore, the Daily Record‘s Andrew Newport also awarded the Zambia international a five in his own player ratings, stating of the centre-forward’s display: “Given the unenviable task of filling Alfredo Morelos’ boots but missed two huge chances to give Rangers the lead. Hold-up play was hopeless.”
As such, with Rangers needing to ensure that they take their chances on Sunday afternoon, Van Bronckhorst simply must axe Sakala from his starting XI, as the player who Tom Stoltman claimed “doesn’t cut it” could very well end up costing his side their Premiership crown against St Mirren.