This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Rangers overcame Feyenoord in their opening Europa League group game on Thursday night, and much of their success was due to the performance of one man – Alfredo Morelos.
Although he didn’t score – he has 8 goals in 9 Europa League appearances already this season – Morelos was a constant menace to the Feyenoord back line, enough for manager Steven Gerrard to single him out for praise after the match and describe him as unplayable.
“I thought he was unplayable. I thought he caused them endless problems and his hold-up play was fantastic. The only thing his performance didn’t have tonight was a goal.”
Indeed, all that was missing from his performance against Feyenoord was a goal but other than that, the numbers (via WhoScored) speak for themselves.
He completed eight dribbles, rolling his marker on numerous occasions to either get a shot away or attempt to set up a team mate.
On six occasions he pulled the trigger and forced saves on two of those, with five of the efforts coming from inside the box – showing is expert movement to get into genuine goalscoring opportunities rather than simply peppering the goal from range.
But Morelos was also responsible for three key passes and on another occasion he would’ve created goals for both Scott Arfield and Sheyi Ojo, who couldn’t convert.
The most telling statistic detailing just how involved in the match Morelos was, he also had 60 touches of the ball – third-highest in the Rangers team, only behind James Tavernier and Ryan Jack. Usually forwards are amongst the lowest ranking in this regard, but Morelos’ impact on the game was frequent and relentless.
Morelos has shown so far this season that he is the man for the big occasions and if Rangers are to go far in the 2019/20 Europa League, they’ll need more ‘unplayable’ performances from El Buffalo.