Can Michael O’Halloran fill the void left by Martyn Waghorn & (Nathan Oduwa)?!?!

Michael O'Halloran, courtesy of RFC
Michael O’Halloran, courtesy of RFC

written by – Rangers Report

Yesterday we reported on the impact Martyn Waghorn has had on the team this season & the number that really stuck out was the fact that when you factor in goals, primary assists & secondary assists he had played a role in 48% of Rangers goals scored in the  league this season.

What’s a secondary assist?  It’s simply the pass that sets up the primary assist on a goal.  For example, in the clip below Gedion Zelalem was credited with the primary assist on James Tavernier’s goal.  If you peel back the layers on the goal, you see that Barrie McKay’s distribution was just as critical as he was the one who sent the ball into the vicinity of the penalty box for Zelalem to slide over to Tavernier.

Or how about this example…Nathan Oduwa does not show up on the official scoresheet on this goal by McKay because Waghorn actually gets his toe on the final ball the McKay ultimately finished.  Obviously, there would be no goal without the run by the since departed Oduwa.

After presenting Waghorn’s contributions yesterday, I figured it was an apt time to share the rest of the data for the season.

The below stats represent league play only & you can note that even if you subtract Waghorn’s eight (!) goals from the penalty spot, that he still is the team’s leading contributor to goals scored this season.

Player Goals Primary Assist Secondary Assists Points (G+A+A)
Martyn Waghorn 20 6 4 30
James Tavernier 7 12 2 21
Barrie McKay 4 6 8 18
Kenny Miller 8 2 7 17
Jason Holt 8 2 3 13
Lee Wallace 5 4 2 11
Nathan Oduwa 1 3 4 8
Andy Halliday 4 0 2 6
Nicky Law 1 1 2 4
Dean Shiels 2 1 1 4
Gedion Zelalem 0 2 1 3
Nicky Clark 2 0 0 2
Rob Kiernan 0 0 1 1
Danny Wilson 1 0 0 1
Billy King 1 0 0 1
Michael O’Halloran 1 0 0 1
Tom Walsh 0 0 0 0
David Templeton 0 0 0 0
Fraser Aird 0 0 0 0
Dominic Ball 0 0 0 0
Jordan Thompson 0 0 0 0
Harry Forrester 0 0 0 0

Sometimes it’s important to transfer these numbers into a graphical representation to get a better understanding of what is being presented.  So, below you have each player’s impact measured by the amount of minutes they have played this season in relation to what percent of Rangers 65 goals each player has directly contributed to – via a goal, primary assist or a secondary assist.  (One own goal has been scored in Rangers favor this season & that is not part of this study).

Impact on Rangers goals scored (1)

  • The trend line running through the heart of the graph is an effective indicator of who is contributing above or below the norm as it relates to minutes played.
  • Of course, seeing defenders below that line is not worrisome.
  • As you can see, Waghorn’s contribution this season is on another level & it’s not just because of his goalscoring. He’s had a primary or secondary assist on ten goals this season.
  • The other players who are above that trend line are not surprising.  They reflect the core of Rangers attack this season.  James Tavernier, Barrie McKay, Jason HoltKenny Miller have been carrying this team offensively all season long.
  • Michael O’Halloran’s name has been bandied about as a replacement for Waghorn’s contributions & rightfully so.  It can be contended that he’ll be called upon to also make-up for the impact of Nathan Oduwa‘s absence from the team.  Despite playing in 698 minutes (32% of Rangers minutes this season) he has accounted for 12% of Rangers scoring.  Remember, he only featured in 15 league games this season before heading back to Spurs.  Rangers scored 53 goals in those matches & Oduwa accounted for 15% of that scoring.  Rangers averaged 3.5 goals in those games & have averaged 1.4 goals in the nine matches that Oduwa did not appear in.  Of course, these stats do not account for defensive responsibility nor do they measure the extent which a player is engaged throughout the course of a match.  Clearly, Oduwa had some deficiencies that management flagged.  However, the statistics bring up a need for a player who to  fill the role that Oduwa played.  If anyone watched the second half against Alloa – it is clear that O’Halloran is primed to be that player.  He was a consistent force driving the play into the final third at a high tempo.  Rangers seem to be at their best when they play with a higher tempo, that may be why a player with Oduwa’s pace was so effective in attack.
  • To give some context to Oduwa’s impact, if you follow the trend line from his numbers up towards the minutes played of Jason Holt, who has been terrific this season, you’ll see that Oduwa was on pace to have a similar impact.  Let’s hope Michael O’Halloran can have similar results, while playing an all around game that apparently was Oduwa’s downfall.

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

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