Rangers Bag 3 Points in Champions League Clash

Apr. 25, 2010 - 05817859 date 25 04 2010 Copyright imago Color Sports Football Scottish Premier League Hibs vs Rangers Rangers Kyle Lafferty Celebrates Rangers Opening Goal with Kenny Miller left and Maurice Edu Right PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxPOLxUSAxONLY men Football Scotland Premier League 2009 2010 Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.

A fortnight ago, Rangers FC, one of Scotland’s two soccer superpowers, opened their Champions League account with a workmanlike nil-nil draw against Manchester United.  Today, playing at home against Turkish club Bursaspor, Rangers employed the same 5-4-1 formation that stymied United. However, early on they found the necessary quality to pick up the full three points, as outside midfielder Steven Naismith used a wisp of a touch to beat Bursaspor keeper Dimitar Ivankov. Over the next 72 minutes, the Scottish club successfully attempted to prevent Bursaspor from scoring and even generated a few more chances of their own.

Analyzing Rangers’ Formation

Rangers in defense

If you’re an FFG regular, you know that most top-level managers try to make their squads maintain possession at all costs. Rangers’ Walter Smith, in contrast, has crafted his club around a bait and switch scheme. While in defense, they place nine men behind the ball and don’t bother to press opponents until they’re within 20 yards of the penalty area (tellingly, Barcelona press on the other side of the midfield line). But as soon as Rangers win possession, the wingbacks spring forward, giving their club six men in midfield while leaving three at the back. To add bite to the attack, center back Madjid Bougherra sometimes gallops down the wing, but because the squad lines up with three center backs, Bougherra’s absence still leaves the traditional two men at the back.

Rangers in attack

Edu’s Role

One of the vital cogs in the squad’s strategy is gringo Maurice Edu. Like most of his teammates, Edu has more defensive than offensive responsibilities. Yet since the formation lacks a natural link between the deep-lying midfield and the lone striker, one of the center midfielders frequently surges forward. Edu often fills this role. Against Bursaspor, his forays were turned into three shots, two of which were deflected for corners. The third was a yard away from giving Rangers a 2-0 advantage.

Of course, providing defensive steel is Edu’s main concern (producing outlet passes a close second). Against Bursaspor, his defensive effort earned high praise from the announcers, with his best work occurring in the match’s final minute. After following an attacker to Rangers’ touchline, Edu managed to win a challenge without giving up a corner. With a few more disciplined performances from Edu and his teammates, Rangers could be on their way to a place in the knockout round.

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  1. bensten says:

    Nice to have another positive performance from Edu and Rangers. If they advance to the knockout stages of Champions, I’m anxious to see how this formations fares against other styles of play–although we’ve already seen it effective against Man-U at Old Trafford!

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