It’s no secret that Rabbi Matondo has so far flattered to deceive at Ibrox but is there a chance he can prove the doubters wrong? Still only twenty-two, he was touted for big things as a teenager when he earned a reported €9m move to Schalke from Manchester City. He did manage eight first team appearances after his big move but didn’t manage to contribute any goals in those appearances.
In the 19/20 season he managed a further twenty-one appearances for Schalke and managed to score twice, including one in a 3-1 win away to Leipzig. The following season he had a disappointing loan spell at Stoke but it was last season he finally showed some of that quality that was expected of him as a youngster.
In twenty-six appearances at Cercle Brugge he managed nine goals, on an xG of 7.68, and two assists on an xA of 3.84. His most impressive numbers to date when he finally showed he contribute with something other than just his lightning pace.
That is the first thing anyone will notice about him. He. Is. Rapid! Blessed with incredible pace it’s often his decision making which lets him down, he has shown in the Bundesliga and Pro League that he is actually a decent finisher. The problem more often than not is shooting/passing at the wrong time or carrying the ball too far before releasing it and these problems have continued into his first season at Rangers.
Injury has disrupted his season as he hasn’t kick a ball since before the new year but he has been on the bench a couple of times recently without making it onto the pitch. Beale hasn’t given him a chance to show what he’s made of in a competitive game so far, but you would imagine that time will come soon.
Let’s look at the numbers he’s put up this season so far;
The numbers don’t actually look too bad, but the frustration from fans, as said previously, comes from his decision making. It’s obvious there’s ability there as he always looks to drive forward and take on defenders, he just doesn’t always make the right decision when it comes to releasing the ball.
The number of dribbles and the success rate is impressive, showing he completes almost four successful dribbles Per90. Combine that with the number of progressive runs (third in the Rangers team only behind Sakala and Kent) and he is a player capable of dragging the team up the pitch.
The assist numbers are also decent when you consider minutes played, Per90 he averages 0.4 assists, almost one assist every other 90mins. If you break down the assists, three of four are of very high quality. He had two in a 4-0 win at Ibrox against St. Johnstone and the first came from an excellent talent inside their box which fell to Colak who hammered it home. The second he made a great run down the left, took it round the goalkeeper then cut back onto his right foot and calmly found an unmarked Arfield who tucked it home.
The most impressive though came against Hearts in the 4-0 drubbing at Tynecastle. A switch from Lundstram to the right wing which he controlled expertly then immediately drove at the Hearts defence cutting inside away from the defender then slid a cute ball through two Hearts players into the path of Colak who slotted it home.
These were three bits of genuine quality which fans had hoped would kick start his Rangers career but he could never find consistency in his performance or his selection. Then came the injury and his season came to a halt. There is still a potential player there in Rabbi Matondo but the question now is, does Michael Beale fancy him? Will he get a chance to turn it around?
Do you think he deserves this chance? He is still only twenty-two and is a player that was thought to have a lot of potential as a teenager, is it a waste to not give him a chance at redemption? That is up to Michael Beale to decide.