Rangers host Hibernian at Ibrox on Sunday as they look to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
Steven Gerrard’s side saw their three-game unbeaten run end with a loss to the Czech side, with the Gers now having lost both of their opening matches in the group. They are top of the Premiership, though, and they face second-placed Hibernian, who are one point behind Rangers, on Sunday afternoon.
Gerrard may look to make some changes to his starting XI after losing to Sparta Prague, with Fashion Sakala likely to be one player in the firing line.
Against Sparta, only Glen Kamara – who was sent off – was given a lower SofaScore rating than Sakala’s 6.4. The forward was given the chance to show that he deserves to be a regular starter for Rangers through the middle and failed to grasp his opportunity as he put in a dismal display.
His general play in the match was abysmal. As per SofaScore, he lost 12 of his 16 ground duels and gave the ball away 20 times from 45 touches. He also committed four fouls and was dribbled past twice, whilst making zero tackles. This shows how he was a liability throughout the match in open play.
In the final third of the pitch, he did little to make up for his disappointing build-up play. In 90 minutes he managed only one shot and zero key passes and was offside three times. This shows that he did not provide any quality end product.
Sakala’s form in the Premiership has also been underwhelming. He has lost 71% of his duels in five league appearances for Rangers this season, scoring only once and managing 0.4 key passes per game. This aligns with his dreadful Europa League performance and illustrates why he is a liability to Gerrard’s side at the moment.
Therefore, he should be axed from the starting XI to face Hibernian on Sunday. Gerrard must drop Sakala to the bench and bring one of Alfredo Morelos, Ianis Hagi or Scott Wright into the mix to give them an opportunity to show what they can do.
The Romanian, for example, has one goal in three Premiership appearances and has won 57% of his duels this term. This suggests that he could be a more reliable option in the team as he has not been dominated in 50/50 battles on the pitch, allowing Rangers to keep hold of the ball in tight areas.