Sunday, 18 December 2016

End of the road for Philippe Senderos?


When Rangers were first linked with Philippe Senderos, it looked finally like Mark Warburton was taking Rangers’ defensive woes seriously. A long-standing complaint from most fans was the fragility at the back, and the unreliability of the Wilson Kiernan partnership, a duo which was just about sufficient for the Championship but would surely never cope with the country’s top tier.

Hence when Rangers not only got linked to ex-Milan, Arsenal and Valencia centre-half Senderos but actually had the 50+ Swiss cap train at the club’s Auchenhowie facility, it looked a surefire solution to Warbs’ defensive headache.

Here was a top-class defender with Uefa Cup, Champions League, European Championships and World Cup experience and he was earning a deal at Ibrox?

Unfortunately, something odd happened – instead of the former Grasshoppers star swiftly gaining a contract, Rangers instead went in pursuit of the thoroughly disliked Joleon Lescott, a defender who once had the world at his feet but now was part of a disoriented Villa side that got relegated. We all know the soap opera that occurred around this so I will not revisit it.

It did not happen, and Senderos many days later belatedly got his deal.

And, a couple of starts aside since, has not featured for his new employers beyond taking up space on the bench. When Clint Hill found himself suspended for the visit of Hearts, it was not his ‘marquee’ centre back Warburton turned to, but Danny Wilson instead. Wilson, who is gradually gaining long-overdue popularity with swathes of Rangers’ support, has never been universally appreciated, but while his form is currently rather impressive, if Senderos could not get a call when Clint Hill was unavailable, it suggests two things:

1: The giant stopper will be gone next month.

2: He was never wanted in the first place, and was a last resort after alternative deals fell through.


For whatever reason, possibly not impressing in training, Senderos just is not rated by Warburton. His display at Parkhead was not even that bad, but two mistakes seem to have defined him and somehow he just never regained any favour at all. If he ever had any to begin with.

It would be a surprise to see him remain at Ibrox beyond January, albeit the manager always professed he needed four defenders for the SPL, and right now that is the number Rangers have. But only three of them ever get selected – defence circles between Hill, Kiernan and Wilson; with Senderos permanently on the outside.

It is an odd one, but results have improved, and Rangers have conceded so few goals (just two in three matches, both being as the result of midfield errors) recently you would have to concede defence is working right now too, justifying the situation.

Watch this space.

6 comments:

  1. He's just being unlucky. Who would have suggested that Wilson and Kernan would start playing well together. If anything it's the fact that senderos and hill are both behind which might be pushing them forward. We don't see what is said or happens at training.. so could the old dogs be passing on info that the younger ones are putting in to practice? Certainly can't hurt having experience there

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  2. I thought he would have needed a run of games to see what he can actually offer he certainly has the experience so should not be written off completely

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  3. If anyone thinks for a moment that Wilson and Kiernan are the defensive solution, or for that matter that Holt and Halliday are anything other than lightweights in midfield, then we will be consigned to challenge once again for second place and second place only. We also require a big centre forward with Ariel ability ...over to you Dave. PS... I'm loath to criticise our manager...but...I'm concerned, really concerned regarding that he appears unable to see these glaring deficiencies in our team...we can all see them, but he continues to have faith with guys who continue to make mistakes week after week...some of you may say there are improvements in central defence for example but I can still spot basic errors week on week... sorry...that's my rant over with...

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    1. Agree with most of that Neil. like most supporters i've been really concerned about the CBs for a long time. A problem that should have been a priority during the summer.
      Couldn't agree more about Andy Halliday. It's good that Andy is a Rangers fan and he does seem to be a likeable guy. However, he cannot play as a DM, especially on his own in a 4-3-3 set up.
      Thankfully MW appears to have listened, at last, and has changed the system a bit. With Hodson at right back and Tav giving Halliday a bit of support. Interchanging with Holt.
      The changes have helped a bit, against teams that have come to Ibrox recently and not pressed us too hard. Aberdeen and Hearts were nowhere near as adventurous as I thought they would be.
      When that happens, our CBs get things a bit easier. Andy too is allowed to swan around doing a bit of square and backward passing, with the occasional dart forward.
      The problem is, Celtic will be coming to Ibrox, shortly, and they WILL press very high up the park. Just as they did at Parkhead. Celtic are a decent side, but we made them look like world beaters by playing another slow player, on his own, in the DM position. Joey Barton. Barton done his nut after that game and that isn't entirely surprising.
      At least Barton, unlike Halliday, can tackle a bit and is a fairly robust player. Andy is a total lightweight.
      Because the CBs are so slow they have to sit too deep to prevent balls being played in behind them when teams attack us. That leaves too much space between the backs and our midfield. Rogic and others had a field day with all that space at Parkhead. The whole selection and the 4-3-3 set up was a disaster.
      One thing that a lot of people seem to have forgotten recently is our vulnerability in defence from the high ball. Particularly at set pieces. That is still there. It WILL return against Celtic.
      That sick feeling in the pit of the stomach, that we all felt, as far back as last season's SC semi-final, will return every time Celtic get a corner or a free kick near our goal.
      I don't care if Kiernan and Wilson have been doing alright recently against teams that haven't pressed us too much. They are both HOPELESS in the air. We need at least TWO who are good in the air DEFENSIVELY. Hill is quite good in the opponents box. Not so good in his own.
      It's too late now. MW has made up his mind to play Kiernan regardless of what people say. A decision that will be costly, unless we can totally dominate possession and give Celtic few if any opportunities to play high balls into our penalty area.
      I believe that he should have been playing Senderos who is good in the air. He should have been playing Wilson beside him who is our best CB on the deck. Matt Crooks and Tav should be the DMs.
      I don't know if Crooks can jump, but he is a big guy and could have been a great help to Senderos at set pieces. He is also an imposing character unlike Andy Halliday.
      Waste of time now by the look of it. MW seems to have made his mind up. Also that set up would have needed playing time together. So it won't be happening.
      Let's hope that we DO dominate possession and win this game. I'll be ecstatic if we do. However, I won't be very surprised if things turn out much as they did at Parkhead. All those headers won by Celtic in the second half, in the SC semi-final, that went over the bar or past the post might not miss this time either.

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    2. Aberdeen and Hearts were not as adventurous because for the first time in two seasons Rangers were allowed to use a long ball to turn defences and have the opposition face their own goal for a change. With the new system and quicker balls to the wings we will give Celtic a game. If we revert to ball possession out of defence we will commit suicide. Hodson is an amazing footballer and absolutely dominates the right touchline, box to box.Can win a game on his own.

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  4. Dave is just a shareholder like park/murray/gilligan etc .we need to be run on a breakeven basis!! As for holt halliday not been good enough I am quite sure warburton knows that hence the reason he signed kranjcar rossiter Barton windass just so happens for one reason or another these signings haven't panned out

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