Crisis for Prague as Rangers travel to Sparta

Crisis for Prague as Rangers travel to Sparta
Monaco, Monaco, 10th August 2021. Pavel Vrba Head coach of Sparta Prague reacts during the UEFA Champions League match at Stade Louis II, Monaco. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-1125-0113

Sparta Prague are just now going through a crisis, with 9 first team players now injured.

This includes their captain Bořek Dočkal who is suffering from a knee injury.

In midfield they have now lost all their first choice left midfielders and attacking midfielders, which should have had a major impact on how they play, and it has.

To cover this crisis, in the last match, they moved to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with just two midfielders, and moved Michal Sáček, who is a CM to left midfield/more central left midfield.

This 4-2-3-1 formation was used in Sparta Prague’s last match, which they won 5:2.

This permits the team to overload midfield, and press high to get the ball back from opponent who are not strong in midfield.

The other advantage is this formation allows manager Pavel Vrba to rapidly place a lot of his players in the opponent’s penalty box, without over-stretching his defensive line.

Vrba is known for adopting a very aggressive attack minded set-up to his games, but this creates weaknesses that can be taken advantage of.

Vrba was the manager for the Czech national team between 2014 to 2016, and he was fired soon after Czech’s defeat to the mighty Scotland. So enough said there.

Overall, I believe this 4-2-3-1 line-up is the formation that Vrba will deploy against us. This is because their injury crisis will prevent them from deploying the more balanced 4-3-3 formation, which Vrba deployed in the game against Brondby,in the last round.

Up front their greatest threat is from Adam Hložek, who became the youngest ever player to play for Sparta Prague at just 16 years and 2 months old

He is a natural finisher, can shoot with both feet; and he has the ability to both read positions, and to know when to run to cause the greatest damage.

His primary tactic is to run through the centre and pick up a pass from a team mate. In many ways his style of play is similar to Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi (and we all know how he did v Leon Balogun…).

However, this does not work so well against teams that have a strong defence that creates few gaps.

In games against stronger teams his goals and assists drop dramatically.

Overall, Sparta Prague are a fast, very hard-working team, think of a very skilful Dundee, who are quick on the transition, and will press high up the park.

However, they can be caught on the counter.

On form, and with the correct tactical set-up Rangers should be strong enough to get a result against this team.

We have played against stronger teams and won, but as I made clear in my last tactical analysis, we also have problems in midfield, and my prediction is this is going to be a tough match to watch.

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  1. Good coverage Derek , I think we need at least a point here to stay in contention for 2nd . We had a couple of good chances against Lyon but our defending was niave . I hope Morelos turns up and gives them a torrid time at the back .

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