From the start of the season we’ve seen a very different Alfredo Morelos.
Last season saw the Colombian once again carrying much of the offensive burden, in many cases it was Morelos or bust. A total of 39 goals/assists was a brilliant individual return.
This season the numbers may not look quite as impressive: 18 goals/assists from 31 games. It’s still a significant return, but there is far more to Morelos’ game than just numbers and the team success highlights exactly that.
Unbeaten in the league with a 15 point lead, Rangers are having one of the best seasons in the clubs history.
69 goals scored
8 goals conceded
Then there is europe where Rangers also remain undefeated. Eliminating Galatasaray, topping a group containing Benfica, Standard Liege and Lech Poznan and now in a great position to advance to the last 16 after a dizzying 4-3 victory away to Antwerp.
It’s been a special season on the whole, and Morelos is still at the heart of everything good.
Given the manager, the formation and the attacking fullbacks it’s no surprise that many elements of Rangers’ style are often likened to that of Liverpool, Morelos’ role this season has only added to that.
From the opening game of the season it was evident that Morelos was going to spend a lot more time playing in deeper areas, linking play and pulling defenders out of position for midfield or wide runners to exploit. It was a part of his game previously, but it’s now a much bigger part.
In fact, the season opened away to Aberdeen with Morelos doing exactly that to create the winning goal. He dropped into the Rangers half, dragged his CB with him and committed the other CB towards the ball before playing Kent in behind to win the game:
To progress to the Europa League group stages Rangers had to go through Galatasaray, once again it was the movement of Morelos dropping deep that pulled the CB out of position to create the space for Arfield to run into, Morelos’ dummy to Hagi also crucial:
It’s easy to highlight his involvement in goals, but it’s the constant link up play that moves the team forward that often goes under the radar:
The improvements in these areas has made Morelos a more complete player and Rangers a more complete team, but he hasn’t lost any of the lone striker play that we’ve come to expect.
Morelos still leads the line brilliantly, physically dominates CB’s, gets into dangerous positions and his understanding with both Tavernier and Barisic is regularly on display with excellent runs into the channels that create a constant threat:
Another benefit to the variation in Morelos’ play is that far more goals are being spread throughout the team as others take advantage of the space he helps create.
17 goals from Tavernier
12 goals from Roofe
8 goals from Kent
7 goals from Arfield
6 goals from Aribo
5 goals from Hagi
5 goals from Itten
This has allowed the team to play a similar way and still get results when Morelos is unavailable, albeit usually in less convincing manner.
Rangers came through Morelos’ recent 3 game ban with 2 wins and a draw, but in each game we only managed a single goal.
Royal Antwerp were the opposition faced with a returning Morelos and they felt the full force of El Bufalo.
A dominant CF display saw Morelos bully the Belgians back 3 all night and every part of his game that has been mentioned was on full display as he played a key role in all 4 Rangers goals and showed just how crucial he is.
Assisted the first goal:
Earned the penalty for the 2nd goal:
Assisted the 3rd goal:
Brilliantly timed run, physical strength and delivery to create the penalty for the 4th:
It was another complete CF performance and a timely reminder of just how valuable Morelos is, and has been, to everything we do.
This has been a special season so far and it’s been a complete team effort, but as Rangers stampede towards 55 it’s El Bufalo leading the charge from the front.