Gio van Bronckhorst’s Rangers return to domestic action today as the Gers go in search of their rivals in the race to win the league.
The Gers lost 2-1 in Serbia on Thursday night to progress through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 4-2 win on aggregate.
Whilst the head coach will have been pleased to make the next round he will also be frustrated with the nature of his team’s performance. Allan McGregor was forced into making a number of impressive saves to keep their lead intact and the display may lead to some players losing their places in the starting XI.
One change he must make to the starting line-up is the introduction of forward Fashion Sakala on the right ahead of Joe Aribo.
The ex-Charlton man started out wide against Red Star Belgrade and should be dropped in favour of Sakala. As per SofaScore, he lost 15 of his 23 duels and only completed 55% of his attempted passes, whilst also failing to complete a single key pass or dribble.
This is why the Zambia international must be unleashed for the Gers. He can offer more of a direct threat down the flank than Aribo, with seven goals in nine Premiership starts this season whilst also averaging 1.3 key passes per game – showing that he can be a match-winner.
Ex-Gers fullback Allan Hutton showered him with praise earlier this season, saying: “He’s like a firework, isn’t he? You just light him and watch him go.
“He’s one of these players who plays at 100 miles per hour, he takes players on, he’s aggressive, he can get shots off.
“Sometimes you just wish he could slow down, but I think that’ll come with time and experience at a new club. As he plays with these players around him with intelligence – he’ll get on that same page.
“I like his energy and enthusiasm. He loves playing for Rangers and you can see that when he’s trying hard to score goals.”
These quotes on the £8.3k-per-week flyer highlight one of his biggest strengths – his speed. He has the ability to get in behind and cause problems round the back of defenders, with and without the ball.
This means that he can offer something different to Aribo on the right, as the Nigeria international is more likely to get on the ball and link the play instead of trying to burst down the wing. Whereas, Sakala – who averages 1.4 dribbles per game – can get to the byline with his speed to create chances for the other forwards.
Therefore, van Bronckhorst must unleash the former Belgian league attacker from the start against Dundee FC as his finishing ability and pace has the potential to win the game for Rangers.