Rangers are enjoying a sublime season in the Premiership this term as they sit top of the table with 42 points after 17 games.
They have won 13 of their 17 matches, drawing three and losing just once. In that time, they have scored 38 goals and conceded just 18 times, with Steven Gerrard starting the campaign in charge before Giovanni van Bronckhorst came in last month.
Captain James Tavernier may get the bulk of the plaudits with his outstanding contributions in the final third this season, but his fellow full-back Borna Barisic has also been a standout for the Gers.
Tavernier tops the Rangers squad with an average SofaScore rating of 7.86, whilst Barisic is second in terms of outfield players with a score of 7.26. The former has three goals and ten assists – from 1.8 key passes per game – in 15 Premiership appearances and averages a whopping 97 touches per match.
This shows how the ex-Newcastle man is the main outlet for the Gers in possession as he takes almost 100 touches per game despite playing at right-back.
Barisic, meanwhile, averages 76.6 touches per game and has also averaged 1.8 key passes – racking up two assists. This suggests that he has been more effective in his creation of chances in relation to the number of touches he has compared to Tavernier.
Former Gers player Alex Rae once lauded the full-back’s ‘terrific’ ability on the ball, saying: “He performs at good level week-in, week-out and has terrific quality in the final third of the park.”
Mark Wilson added: “He’s the best left-back in the country. He’s improved his defending and supplies assists and is a threat at set pieces.”
Tavernier averages 2.3 tackles and interceptions and 1.6 clearances per game, whilst Barisic averages 2.3 and 3.0 in the same categories. The Croatian has also won a higher percentage (62%) of his duels – winning 51 in total – in comparison to the right-back (52%) in the Premiership. This shows that the left-sided defender has been stronger in his defending this season, to go along with his efficient chance creation.
Therefore, Barisic has been a standout for Rangers and is deserving of immense credit for his performances in the top-flight, potentially more so than Tavernier based on the pair’s underlying statistics.
However, both have been outstanding and are key to how van Bronckhorst’s team operates with their quality from the full-back positions.