A lot of Rangers fans were unhappy with Rangers’ second conceded goal in Rotterdam the other night, with complaints especially being critical of the clear mess Connor Goldson and Filip Helander made of the late Dutch attack.
There’s no denying these two were at sixes and sevens with both each other and the attacker, and while Sinisterra’s composure was admittedly excellent, he still had a tonne of work to do, and neither stopper was able to do a thing.
And there’s a reason for this.
As we revealed earlier today, both Goldson and Helander are excelling in Europe above even the likes of Porto’s Pepe, in so many areas, bar one:
Neither the Englishman nor the Swede register in the top 100 of defenders in this tournament for tackles, either attempted or successful, with a pretty poor 3 attempts in 5 matches each.
In Helander’s case he was successful in all 3, in Goldson’s just one.
Compare this, for example, with the UEL’s most accomplished defender, statistically, in tackles – LASK’s Philipp Wiesinger with 32 attempts, 18 of which were successful.
The problem with our back two, aside the apparent lack of obvious understanding between the pair, is they’re just not physical enough.
Look at Pepe who we argued was performing inferior to them both in clearances and blocks – well known for being tough and dirty, the Portuguese has attempted 8 tackles this UEL, with a stunning 6 of them working out.
It doesn’t strike us obviously that Helander and Goldson are suited. They’re basically the same defender, give or take – there’s no obvious balance or contrast of styles to counter each other.
There’s no physical Niko Katic to take the hard gritty work side of defending, and we have no doubt Katic would have slid in on Sinisterra – it would either have been a penalty, or a wonderful goal-saving tackle. But we’d have rather our man tried.
But the two we have did nothing beyond be modestly beaten.
And that’s a major reason Rangers’ away hoodoo in Europe goes on.