This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe struggled to play together last season, but the solution to the problem is already at Ibrox. His name is Scott Arfield.
Morelos and Defoe are both very good strikers and finding a way to get them both to thrive in the same system could give the Gers the ammunition to improve on last season’s second-place finish in the Premiership.
Despite both having incredible records though, neither did well with the other one on the park. Morelos is yet to score when starting alongside Defoe, who has only added two goals when they were both in the starting XI – the first in a defeat and the second a penalty.
It may be a case that they both prefer playing alone (although the former Portsmouth man’s relationship with Peter Crouch would suggest otherwise) but Steven Gerrard must surely be thinking about the damage they can cause if he can get them both firing.
Gerrard nearly always opted for a 4-3-3 formation last season. However, a slight tactical tweak and an unusual role for Arfield could allow the boss to unleash his star striking duo in tandem.
Last season, we saw Arfield play as both a left-winger and central midfielder under Gerrard. A combination of both roles could be the final touch that allows Defoe and Morelos to thrive together.
It would mean the Rangers boss tweaking his 4-3-3 slightly to be more flexible as Arfield floats on the left-hand side of midfield. On the right, you could still deploy a more traditional winger in any of Sheyi Ojo, Jake Hastie, Greg Stewart or Jordan Jones.
With the 30 year-old Canadian flitting between offering width and tucking in to create a central midfield three, you would make room for the two goalscorers, without losing too much of the free-flowing attacking football that we saw from Gerard’s side last season, amassing 82 Premiership goals.
It is basically a lop-sided 4-4-2, with a traditional winger on the right flank moving forward to create a front three, while Arfield’s versatility can both help the attack from the left and slot into midfield to provide a shield for the defence.
If last season’s numbers are anything to go by, getting Defoe and Morelos on the pitch together could cause havoc, and Arfield is the perfect utility man to make it happen.