Friday, 2 August 2019

Assessment: are Rangers ready for the SPL, or not?


We’ve had a few pelters recently for negativity, with a number of responses alleging that all we do is moan.

And yet, after the fourth sub-par display in a row, we’re starting to feel the early pre-season optimism of gubbing The Nag’s Head XI select and Winniford Park Sunday XL et al was a touch premature.

Ok, slight exaggeration, Marseille are a decent side, but they were certainly miles behind in fitness. And the four most recent performances – both Progres legs and the friendlies v Blackburn and Derby, in completely simple terms, haven’t been impressive.

We can already hear the frothing at the mouths types who are already screaming ‘it’s only pre-season’ and ‘give it time’ and ‘yer t*ms’ which is pretty much the standard response to criticism in Rangers circles these days.

But the hard reality is this squad, while a seeming improvement on paper, with quality apparently throughout, especially in midfield, has simply failed to produce the sum of its parts lately.

Yes, this team did what it needed to do v Progres and progressed, but Steven Gerrard wasn’t happy with either performance and frankly neither are we.

Progres were dangerous, sharp, strong, and Rangers, while ultimately professional enough to bring the result home, which is of course the only thing that truly matters, didn’t play well at all in either leg and we can’t exactly say this team now looks ready for the rigours of an SPL season.

Because that’s exactly what it’s got to deliver on Sunday with a trip to a notoriously difficult venue coming up.

For all the good feeling we all had maybe two or three weeks ago, it’s just clear now that this squad hasn’t got its act together yet, and Gerrard may be struggling to find the right blend.

The split form last season was immaculate – it benefited from a settled XI which basically didn’t change at all for the final five games bar the Killie loss, and now with change every single match there’s definitely a lack of rhythm.

Well, the players and manager better figure something out by Sunday or any chance of 55 is already badly on the back foot.

We know, we know – get behind the team and support, right?

We do, absolutely. We want nothing more than to will the lads on and to see a good display and good result on Sunday.

We want completely to be wrong.

But unfortunately the patterns the past couple of weeks have not looked good in preparation for this season. It’s one thing destroying League One Oxford when they’re about 3 weeks behind in fitness, quite another to convincingly beat both Blackburn and Derby – and we didn’t manage it.

Steven Gerrard is a demanding man, and he will expect much better on Sunday. We too are demanding fans and so do we.

The stage is yours, Rangers.

5 comments:

  1. Good observations and it is pre season and tricky Europa Ties for sure. I hope Steven Gerrard has the best 11 on paper ready for Sunday cause we need to lay down a marker . I am still convinced we really need another Striking option . Not sure where the money or even that player is but it could be the difference . The rest of the squad is well capable of beating the rest of the SPFL but only with that goal threat in place on the field in every game .

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  2. Last night was absolute pish. It was the same old story of loads of possession and not converting into attempts on goal (until the last 10 minutes when PN were running on empty). That was the story in the league last year and it looks like it will be script for this year too - albeit with better players. PN were a good proxy for Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibs and all the other hammer throwers and what they'll do again this season - run around a lot, foul a lot, fall over a lot to get dead balls, try to hit on the break. Gerrard has got his team crossing into the box earlier to be fair, but he needs more direct action through the middle too - more shots from the edge of the final third to get deflections/second balls/penalties. Walking the ball into the net three times a season will win us hee-haw. We need more shots from distance from Aribo, Jack and Kamara. Two other points; Borna doesn't like the physical stuff - keep Andy H as first choice LB. SG knows his priorities; "it was 155 degrees in the dressing room". That number keeps coming up in his post match comments lol

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  3. Very happy with improvement last season however in pre season we seem to have morphed back into Warburton style plenty of possession without creating anything worthwhile.

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  4. Good recruitment but still missing a piece or two of the jigsaw. It's great Gerrard wants us to play like Liverpool in the sense of speed, movement in attack but our league has more hammer throwers than anywhere and we must have another option in the sense of a tall battering ram and bully up front in the mould of Andy Carrol for instance. Doesn't need to be the most technical, just brave to go for every header, hold the ball up, push defenders about and create space for the speed merchants and finishers to exploit. Let's be honest,as good as Defoe is at finishing he has no chance up top of dominating defenders and that results in him too easily being knocked about, which results in our wide players being less confident of firing balls into the box knowing the striker is barely gonna win anything. Too much trying to find a cross that SUITS Defoe or Alfredo and dilly dallying when sometimes you just need to hit the byline and get a cross in and a big striker will power it in...Hately style! Barasic last night struggled with that. For Croatia he fires them in at will knowing the big lad up front will be challenging for it wherever it goes.Tav has seemed the same too in the last two games trying to be too accurate and overthink the cross.Gerrard and Allen have had ample time and must see that it's glaringly obvious what's still missing and learn to adapt better against dross teams! Right now our fast free flowing footy is looking a little more Warburton and a little less Klopp..That's just my opinion Bears.

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  5. It was still pre-season but wasn't good enough. And Progress were NOT tricky opponents. They were cannon fodder not much better than St Josphes. Had we won 5 or 6 nil last night no one would've batted an eyelid.
    We have to get our act together quickly and Gerrard has effectively said we would be playing our best team now. I think we will improve but can see our seeming lack of killer touch resulting in too many daft results. Still not sure we've solved our number 10 problem and think we need another striker.

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