Colak & Morelos: Who should start?

After that dominant performance at Easter Road where Colak looked terrific, this probably wasn’t a debate many fans expected to pop back up again, yet it has. Against Hibs he was excellent, held up the ball well, linked play better than he ever had previously and, of course, managed to get two goals. That seemed to be the end of the debate, the end of fans wanting Morelos to start but then came the game at Fir Park.

Colak was miles off of the pace, a drastic departure from the player he looked that night against Hibs. His link up play was off, he couldn’t hold the ball up and his decision making.. Well the less said about that, the better. The one key moment that really got fans triggered was when Cantwell played through a beautiful defence splitting pass to him, after he had made a really intelligent run, but when Sakala was standing alone in the six-yard box for a simple cut back, he decided to wildly slash it wide instead.

The type of decision and finish normally expected from Morelos was just the cherry on top of an incredibly poor performance from the big Croat. What made it even worse though, was the fact that when Morelos came on he looked sharp, hungry and made the correct decisions in the moment. He was played through wide on the left and with many, including the Motherwell defenders, expecting him to slash at it on his left, he cut back onto his right foot and picked out Tillman on the edge of the box for the goal that sealed the game.

This short cameo looked more like the Morelos of old and in true Morelos style, missed a great chance with a header when he really should have scored. So this kicked up the debate that has lasted almost the whole season, who should be first choice? Should Morelos be getting the game time when it’s starting to look likely he will leave?

The season isn’t over and there’s still two shots at silverware, albeit one being almost out of reach, so the best and most inform player should be the one who leads the line. Both players have had purple patches this season but neither has managed to sustain their spells of good form for more than a handful of games, let’s look at their stats this season;

Let’s break it down into a few different sections. When it comes to pure goal scoring numbers, Colak comes out on top, by a considerable amount. Morelos is currently performing under his xG, meaning he’s scoring less than expected, where Colak is performing above his. He also scores more goals from less shots on target and less touches in penalty area than the Colombian, stats which won’t surprise many.

When it comes to everything outside of goalscoring Morelos is much more involved and more successful in his involvements. Five assists compared to one, more dribbles at a higher success % which goes hand in hand with almost three-times as many progressive runs.

He’s also involved in more offensive duels, at only a slightly lower success % and slightly less Aerial Duels P90 but >5% higher success rate.

So what do these stats highlight? The fact that if both players could be combined Rangers would have a striker of ridiculously high quality! Unfortunately, that isn’t an option. After Hibs it seemed like Colak was a lock for the starting spot for the rest of the season, but his performance in the Motherwell game was so poor that the position is back up for grabs.

Should Morelos get the chance again, even if he’s looking likely to leave, or should the manager stick with Colak and hope that he finds the form of the Hibs game after the international break? It’s a tough decision and one Michael Beale may have some sleepless nights over.

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