Breaking it down – looking at Michael Beale’s new Rangers system

Breaking it down – looking at Michael Beale’s new Rangers system
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 13: Michael Beale, Head Coach of Rangers FC, looks on prior to the Cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on May 13, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A lot of fans are asking ‘what is Michael Beale’s system’ or plan – what exactly is the style he’s going with and more to the point why is it not working (yet)?

So, under Steven Gerrard we had wingers, such as Ryan Kent, or Jordan Jones, or Scott Wright, who supplied the width and direct attacks on defenders, with overlapping James Tavernier and Borna Barisic providing the runners and depth.

Under Giovanni Tav and Barisic sat back a bit more, and Gio relied a lot more on Kent, Wright, Aribo et al just being direct and offering most of the attacks. Tav did attack but it wasn’t with anywhere near the regularity – under Gio his priority was the full attackers.

Michael Beale has abandoned both of these by eradicating wingers entirely, and going central. He is using Sam Lammers, Abdallah Sima and Cyriel Dessers to centrally drive against defences, while the defence offers long balls for route one football. We saw a lot of that v Killie, and indeed Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar and Barisic combined delivered 28 long balls – with Barisic only offering the one of those.

But Souttar, Goldson and Tav? 27.

And we all know Tav and Barisic are providing all the width now, with a combined 23 attempts at crosses (only 6 total were accurate).

So what does this mean for the system?

It means, concerningly, Beale doesn’t have a plan B.

He’s got a tonne of 10s and attackers, but he has no flexibility with wings. He has two ‘wingers’ in Sima and Wright, but neither of them are effective, and he’s relying on creativity both from the centre in Todd Cantwell (the omission of him was a dreadful error) and the long balls from deep from the defence.

It’s an absolute mess of a system at the moment. It offers no variety, other than lumped balls and fullbacks overlapping, and is something that looks, honestly, like this manager is currently ‘winging it’ as one of Ibrox Noise’s dear friends said recently.

It looks like Beale is doing a ‘Liz Truss’ and going for some new age wide-eyed untested idealism but omitting realism and common sense.

At the moment the system isn’t dynamic, has no coherence, and players are struggling to find each other on the pitch – only John Lundstram got more than 90% passing at Killie.

Beale has literally two days to find something which works in this, because at the moment, it’s diabolical.

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  1. This 4-3-3 makes no sense it just doesn’t work, I have very little if any tactical awareness but even I can see how wrong this is. As we don’t have a strong enough defense we need to play 4-4-2 this offers more across midfield and it still gives the option of RB or LB going down the wings with someone from midfield dropping back for extra cover. If it’s a case of lobbing balls from defense to the forwards why have we bothered adding more midfielders to our squad, if that’s his plan then we are truly screwed. 💙💙

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