So here we are, the eve of PSV v Rangers, the biggest match of Michael Beale’s Rangers career.. well.. the latest ‘biggest’ match anyway.
While Ibrox Noise did suggest the Europa League would not be a bad fall back crutch, we’d honestly rather make the Champions League and then see how we did there, with a sense of optimism that we might be able to make third place and drop into the Europa League playoffs. Or more…
But we are way ahead of ourselves, let’s concentrate on this one, and with that in mind we offer you our predicted starting XI.
Obviously in goal it’s Butland. Defence will be Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar and Barisic. It’s picking itself at the moment and while we’ll always prefer the outstanding Leon Balogun over Goldson, well, Beale is always going to justify his selection via results.
In midfield he’ll go with the four-man choice again of Jack, Raskin, Cifuentes and Cantwell, in order to pack the middle of the pitch. It’s been his selection of choice in the Champions League and we doubt he’ll change here.
Up front, yes, Sima is likely to start which means it’s one of Dessers, Lammers and Danilo.
We covered Danilo in an earlier piece, the rather underwhelming start from the Brazilian striker being a point of contention, but in the first leg it was Dessers, the Nigerian from the start.
Michael Beale has to decide if he will stick or twist, and honestly, we can’t see him twisting.
So Ibrox Noise’s prediction:
Butland; Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar, Barisic; Jack, Cifuentes, Raskin, Cantwell; Sima, Dessers.
4-4-2 diamond just like the first leg.
As Ibrox Noise’s Derek put it, PSV have no surprises for us, they have no extra firepower or systems to try instead, and it’s on them to come at us with tactics we’re already abundantly aware of – and Beale has set his team up to contain at this level, to hit on the counter.
You’re probably contemplating Matondo of course, the reborn winger, and while we’d be no weaker for starting him, we just don’t think Beale will use that ace up his sleeve from the start. Why show that card from the beginning?
But maybe he will – maybe it’ll be Matondo who starts and Sima will be used as the ace up Beale’s sleeve.
We’ll find out this evening.