For Rangers, it’s almost certain to be a crazy summer. The various links with players who would seem way beyond our reach already tells us that, and it’s not even June yet. Steven Gerrard, Mark Allen and the scouting team clearly want to get business done as early as possible. In that spirit, Rangers have already announced two new signings in Scott Arfield and Allan McGregor.
We know more than a fair bit about the latter, after his years at the club during his first spell. Arfield is one of those players you’d be forgiven for not knowing much about, though. Despite his many games for Burnley, he wasn’t the type of player who stood out as such. With this in mind, below is a breakdown of some of the statistics both players produced this season to give Rangers fans a flavour of what we can expect from our first two summer signings.
As said, we know plenty about our former keeper. He was a major part of a successful team, and has many a highlight in terms of great and important saves. What is worth noting, though, is that he’s faced a different type of challenge since leaving Rangers. He spent 5 seasons at Hull City, with one of them on loan at Cardiff. At neither team would he have had long spells in games doing very little before having to make a late, important save. We know he was capable of that in the past, so hopefully he’s retained that ability.
McGregor conceded 66 goals last season, the second highest in the league. That was from 189 shots faced, resulting in 123 saves over his 44 matches. What’s interesting to note is that over 60% of his saves were categorised as “with reflexes”. This basically means they were through a dive or the likes, rather than just a catch of a shot straight at him. It’s a high number, with Foderingham being at 48% by way of comparison.
At Hull, McGregor was mainly asked to play the ball long. He would have over 9 long kicks per match, at 59% accuracy. At this stage, it’s unknown just how Gerrard will ask the team to play. However, you’d imagine there will be more short passes and build up from the back than this.
McGregor will turn 37 during next season. Goalkeepers are always difficult to judge when it comes to their peak years. Using two of the best ever as examples, Buffon doesn’t seem to have had any sort of real dip as he’s got older, whilst Casillas is clearly not as good as he once was. By all accounts, McGregor had a great season at Hull, and is playing well. His age won’t be too high a factor as long as his fitness is kept high, and luck is on his side in terms of injuries.
Arfield made 18 league appearances last season, averaging around 79 minutes per match. He scored 2 goals, against Liverpool and Watford. He turns 30 in November, so is probably at his peak years right now. With over 80 games played in the English Premiership, he comes back to Scotland a very different player from the one who left.
Arfield mainly played wide left for Burnley. Interestingly, he rarely crossed the ball, with less than 1 cross per match. Burnley were around average for crosses overall, so it seems that Arfield wasn’t asked to play as a conventional wide man when he started matches. Burnley were lowest in the league for attempted dribbles, and Arfield would attempt just under 3 per match with a 43% success rate.
Of his 18 shots on goal, 8 were from outside the box. The success rate of 38.89% is decent for a midfield player, but it’s worth noting the relatively small sample. His passes found the mark 71% of the time, and he won around 18% of his defensive duels.
The most impressive statistic with regards Arfield, though, was his pressing. He was among the top 5 players in the league for pressing actions per 90 minutes. Whilst he never played as many games as some of the players in that list, it’s an indication of the type of player he is. He also covers around 7 miles per match, which is well above average. Pace isn’t a major asset for him, but when you are able to play at a high tempo regardless, it causes problems for opposition defenders.
Arfield can play on either wing, just behind the striker, or as a central midfielder. He has plenty of experience and ability, and will be an important player over the course of the season.
As signings are confirmed, we’ll profile them and let you know what to expect. Hopefully we’ll have more to bring you very soon!
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