Joe Aribo must take centre stage for Rangers v Leipzig with key men absent
Rangers head into the biggest game of their season so far this Thursday when they take on RB Leipzig in the Europa League semi-final.
They face an uphill task already having lost the first leg 1-0 last week thanks to a moment of brilliance from Angelino late on.
But after a great performance and draw against Celtic at the weekend, the team now have their full attention on beating the Bundesliga club at Ibrox, but they will be without several key men.
Alfredo Morelos will miss the game with a thigh injury, while Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey are doubts with their own niggles.
Ryan Kent has led the way for the majority of the time in their absence, but it’s now time for someone else to step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
That man has to be Joe Aribo, the brilliant and dazzling Nigerian playmaker who has been a key man under Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Steve Gerrard before him.
His dribbling is exquisite, with a tremendous ability to get out of tight spaces with possession while his eye for a pass is excellent too. But one thing he can add to the side is goals.
Aribo has scored just eight goals in 51 appearances so far this season to go along with nine assists, but you’d have to feel as though a player of his quality should be offering more than that.
If Roofe misses out once again, then it’s likely that we’ll see Aribo used through the middle of the attack once again with Fashion Sakala out wide in his preferred position.
It will mean that Aribo is the focal point and the main man for all attacks that happen in a must-win game for the club. There’s no hiding in that situation and he will need to step up and take centre stage.
It could be his crowning moment, as he leads Rangers to a first European final since 2008 and takes them to the cusp of a cup double, or he could show that he’s not quite of that ilk to carry a team on his shoulders.
Undoubtedly it will take a team effort for Rangers to beat Leipzig and qualify, but they will need at least one player to step up and stand-out more than any other. This time it must be Aribo.
In other Rangers news, Ronald De Boer sets Rangers challenge v Leipzig after shocking Tuesday development