As most Rangers fans will know, the last 32 draw was today. It threw up some tasty ties, such as Man Utd Sociedad, and Arsenal Benfica, but Rangers’ interest was of course who we would get.
And we must say, Royal Antwerp is an infinitely negotiable tie and probably one of the easiest draws we could have had.
Reliable beIN sport journalist Tancredi Palmeri quotes a win likelihood of 40/60 in favour of Rangers, which is among the strongest numbers he provides for all 16 ties.
Sitting a mediocre 7th in Belgium, Antwerp have just one win in their last five and only qualified for the KO stage in the Europa League because their final group opponent, LASK, went down a man in the second half with the deadlock yet to be broken. Antwerp scored 3 minutes later.
Managed by moderately successful Croatian midfielder-turn manager Ivan Leko, Antwerp are not a horrible team, but they are one of the weakest unseeded teams Rangers could get, and frankly given Steven Gerrard’s men’s form, there is no reason if all is pure and holy that Rangers won’t be comfortably in the last 16.
We’ll have more details and depth on this in due course, but we can safely say while few of the teams in the unseeded had us worried, this one really should be a formality.
Of course we’ll respect them as we do any opponent, and we can’t just show up complacently and expect to win, but we should, if on our game and approaching it right, overcome our Belgian foes.