In the final game of the first phase of the Scottish Premiership, Rangers emphatically beat Motherwell 3-0. It was in part thanks to a rather impressive hat-trick from Scott Arfield, with the former Burnley man putting the Steelmen on the cosh.
While Rangers didn’t create too many chances in the first half, that changed in the second. However, the fact that Ryan Kent and Steven Gerrard were banned from playing a part seemed to affect the Gers.
Yet, Arfield proved to be a valuable replacement but the same cannot be said for veteran Jermain Defoe. The former Tottenham and Sunderland striker struggled for large portions of the game, often finding himself in an offside.
This disrupted the play more often than not, and hurt the Rangers from scoring more. It showed exactly why Alfredo Morelos is so highly thought of at the club, with the centre-forward also among the suspended after the Old Firm derby.
However, despite his struggles, the Gers still had the large majority of the game in their hands, which not a surprise. Motherwell have struggled in their recent games, with the club winning just two of their last five.
Rangers continued to dominate in the second half, but still only managed to net just one more goal. Arfield had already scored his second just before the break. It came after a period of heavy pressure from the Gers before Ryan Jack won the ball just outside the Motherwell box.
The 27-year-old passed it in towards Arfield who effortlessly lofted it over Mark Gillespie. Eventually, Arfield had his hattrick, with Defoe producing his first good piece of play to produce a cleat-cut chance on goal.
He took it and dutifully celebrated his hattrick, with the Rangers scoring three from the four shots they had on target. But Arfield wasn’t the only man who impressed today, with Southampton loanee Steven Davis doing the same.
Despite being 34 years old, Davis was effective and a good presence in the midfield. He helped keep the Rangers ticking even when the chances were few and far, even winning his share of tackles. It shows just how even the game was.
Yet, when it came to the end product, the Gers made the most. Motherwell, on the other hand, struggled to make an impact in the final third.
In comparison Rangers managed to get 4 out of their nine shots on target, scoring from three of them as mentioned above. Scoring goals has never been their biggest issue but without their man forward, few expected them to dominate the final third as they did.
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