Has Pedro finally figured THIS out?

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

Older Bears of a certain vintage will remember Uncle Walter’s famous 4-4-2 during 9IAR – Hateley and Super up front, Laudrup on the wings. He would shake things up during Old Firm matches, and during his second spell was willing to go one up top plenty.

But the names Miller and Boyd are synonymous with the kind of system Walter went with. It worked – a duo up front supported by wingers.

In recent years Rangers’ formation has been a bit less obvious. Initially under Ally in 2011 it was still 4-4-2, but as admin hit and players came and went, it was a heck of a lot less structured.

When Mark Warburton took over he tried to force a new culture at Ibrox, a 4-3-3 which worked to an extent in the Scottish Championship but was brutally exposed in the SPL with the players we had.

His successor Pedro Caixinha has fiddled around with formations but his most favoured one appeared to be 4-2-3-1. A double-pivot in front of the back four with with three attacking midfielders supporting a solo striker.

Against Hamilton it worked – but the truth is it struggled thereafter, and fans have been waiting for a clear vision of a new Plan A.

Yesterday we got one.

Finally, Pedro went with 4-4-2, and it is no coincidence Rangers were the most convincing they have arguably been this entire calendar year against extremely credible opponents.

The “Alves Effect” did help for sure, but having the traditional Rangers formational structure had a stark impact on how organised Rangers were.

From the defensive unity in keeping a bank of four tight and well-drilled, to a midfield pairing who rarely went out of shape, to the right flank with Daniel Candeias and James Tavernier swapping duties in a rotational manner and supporting each other constantly, to a striking pair who were constantly running and working, particularly Eduardo Herrera who may just have elevated himself to first choice striker; all of these were borne from playing a formation entirely suited to Rangers and Scottish football.

We have been crying out for the 4-4-2 to be Rangers’ primary tactic, and finally it has been delivered, with no small coincidence seeing Rangers play significantly better and more organised than we can remember for a long, long time.

We clearly have the core of players to do this; maybe a winger or two is still needed while some fans still want the rearguard shored up, but the direction now appears to be structured – hopefully it is same again next weekend and we finally know exactly what Rangers it is that we have.

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  1. The team formation should not be decided by what you or I think is best, the formation is defined by whatever players you have available and all depending on what you think your opponent will do. You can only consistently play exactly the same formation if you have a very large squad of quality player able to fit in to the formation to cover injuries and suspensions.

  2. A huge improvement. I really enjoyed the match. Starting to feel a lot more positive after today.
    After the st johnstone game there's been an ott reaction. That team today would easily win the league this year if it wasn't for those pesky hoops!
    We need some shooting practice against lower quality opposition though before the season kicks in.
    Happy Days

    • I'm sharing your positivity for a change, Zippy:)). It's crazy, I know. Agree with Dexter though in saying Pedro has a long way to go to redeem himself (and if the manager continues to get that level of performance out of the players we'll all be happy). We need a striker, Walker and a right-back IMO. I can't work out whether Morelos is trying too hard or not trying hard enough; think it might even be the former. He only turned 21 last month and the team he played for in Finland is not much bigger than St. Mirren, so he will need time to adjust. Hope that's all it is. Johannsson would surely not have recommended him (possibly placing his own future on the line) if he wasn't 100% convinced the boy has it. But even if he does make it, we need someone like Moult up there who can rough up a few defenders and start banging in the goals from day one.

  3. I have been one of Caixhino's most consistent critics on these pages, and I remain so. He has presided over two of the most embarrassing Old Firm performances ever and our worst ever Euro result) – so it is a long way back for Pedro and a decent performance in a pre-season friendly is a small step to redemption only.
    Having said that the most encouraging aspect of the game yesterday was not what formation he employed – but it looked like it was the first time the team under Pedro took to the field with any sort of system that the players understood. What we want is a manager who can show tactical awareness and respond to the action unfolding on the pitch.
    There were certainly many positives to take from the performance. Alves is pure class and makes a huge difference to the defence. We were notably poorer when he went off, and keeping him fit will be key to our season. Cardosa also looks like the best of the other foreign imports for me which also bodes well. Good to read this morning that Marseille are complaining about him dishing it out. Overall actually the team had a physical presence that we've lacked for a while.
    Jack had a terrific game and looks better for commanding that area on his own. With Rossiter also in there both players looked hesitant and unsure of who's job it was to do what.
    Candeias showed more than I thought he had in his locker. He isn't as tricky a winger as McKay but more direct, and not afraid to track back and defend. I can see a good partnership here with Tav – who also had a good match yesterday – both in attack and defence.
    The worry is up front. We are simply not scoring from open play. The fact that Herrera managed a grand total of 6 goals last season tells you he is not a prolific 20 + a year man. Morales – sorry he is new Filip Sebo! This leaves us relying on Miller for yet another season. So if Caixhina is looking for two more signings then for me they both need to be in the forward area – and one has to be a proven goal scorer. For the moment surely young Hardie must be brought into the squad.
    PS – the long list of players we are trying to shift remains a worry

    • good post dexter i also like the fact we have a lot more bite .thought the whole team were brilliant yesterday wee pedro might just do it . w,a,t,p

  4. We are getting close to being a much better team. I slightly disagree with the article that seems to place all the emphasis of formations–rather on players. If you do not have enough quality players, you are still going to lose no matter what formation you play. Right now, we are crying out for quality wingers, and we are just hoping that Herrera might be more of a cutting edge than we have had for a long time. No doubt Kenny will always chip in with some good goals, but, at age 37, we should not be too reliant on him saving us in every game. I am not convinced by either of our full backs, though I know that it is maybe sacrilege to criticise Lee Wallace. He is not as good as he was a few years ago–as we have seen when he is up against good wingers. Taverner seems to have improved a bit–maybe due to Bruno Alves organizing the defence a bit better.

  5. The 4-4-2 formation is a very simple and efficient tactic of which Rangers and many other world class teams in the past are remembered for.

    I totally agree with Ibrox Noise that 4-4-2 could be the way forward, look for at Leicester City 2 years ago! This was surely the moment football had turned full circle with regards to formations.

    It takes a brave manager to adorn the 4-4-2 in a wold of attracive and complicated 4-2-3-1's, 4-1-2-3's etc…

    Pedro's XI set up incredibly well against Olympique Marseille, on another day we could've won which is crazy to say considering our form in closed door friendlies and producing the most embarrasing result in British footballing history. Bring back the 4-4-2 and this will offer hope for the season ahead.

    (Dodoo could potentially get a game too)

  6. I agree with some that the biggest worry is a cutting edge. Surprised we let the Ross County (?) boy go and I think we should hit Motherwell up for Moult. Not the greatest striker in the world, but better than anything we have. In our team, he would get us at least 20 goals and that would buy us a season to find something better. Add Walker for a reasonable amount now, or pre-contract in December/January and we are starting to improve our last weakness. Goals

  7. youtube.com/watch?v=Ypfn0HzZ1Go

    Forest's defence looking decidedly shaky and their fans crying out for a midfielder who can tackle. Looks like Warbs is already settled in! Having said that now, he'll probably get them promoted.

  8. Consistency is our biggest enemy and has been for seasons. We have to perform to a high standard every week, not down tools after one good result.

    Desperately need to sort this goal drought out to win our games. That might sound obvious, but it ain't happening?! Need another centre half to cover Alves, Bates and Wilson are just not good enough. Our defence is still vulnerable. Can't expect Alves to do it all.

    So question was, has Pedro finally figured this out? No, he hasn't yet for the above reasons. Time will tell at the start of the season.