Rangers kicked off their 2021/22 Europa League group stage campaign with a disappointing loss at home to Ligue 1 side Lyon on Thursday night.
Toko Ekambi and an own goal from James Tavernier sealed the three points for the French outfit as Rangers’ six-match unbeaten run in all competition came to an end.
There were some positives for Steven Gerrard to take from the game, with a few promising attacks to create openings in the Lyon box. However, they failed to take any of those chances and were unable to get the ball past Anthony Lopes.
Despite the encouraging aspects of Rangers’ play, there is no shying away from the negatives. There were a few frustrating performances out on the pitch, with Joe Aribo in particular struggling to hold his own.
The central midfielder was shifted out into a wide role on the right in place of Kemar Roofe but the experiment from Gerrard did not go to plan. The 25-year-old looked out of place and did not show the requisite quality needed to make an impact against Lyon from a wide berth.
Going forward, Aribo contributed very little. As per SofaScore, he only created one chance and had one shot in 76 minutes on the pitch. He attempted one dribble and one cross, being unsuccessful with both, whilst losing possession of the ball 12 times from 46 touches.
This shows that he did not have the quality with the ball at his feet to make a real impact in the match. Roofe, who scored two goals in four Europa League starts last term, may feel that he could have done a better job in the final third.
Defensively, Aribo was a lightweight out wide for Rangers. As per SofaScore, he ceded 62% of his duels against Lyon players, losing eight of his 13 duels in total, including seven of his 10 battles on the ground. He made zero interceptions, clearances or blocks and was dribbled past twice, the same as the number of tackles he made.
This shows that he was not up to the physical battle against Lyon left-back Emerson as the Nigerian came out worse off in the majority of his 50-50s. Therefore, he was not suited to the wide role in place of Roofe and should have played in his more natural central midfield position or been put on the bench for this match.
Gerrard will surely be feeling badly let down by the former Charlton midfielder. He placed his faith in the Nigerian to put in a strong performance in a different position but Aribo was not able to repay him, as he struggled to showcase his qualities offensively and defensively last night.
AND in other news, Gerrard must make key Rangers decision over “exciting” gem after deadline day failure…
SourceInternet Explorer Channel Network