Rangers v Real Betis – part 2

Rangers v Real Betis – part 2
BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 27: Manuel Pellegrini, Head Coach of Real Betis, looks on prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis at Estadio de San Mames on August 27, 2023 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

So to continue this analysis, for the 4-3-1-2 you really need a high-level double-pivot in midfield for the system to work at Champions League level. That is two midfielders who have an almost telepathic understanding of what the other is going to do.

If one of the two players goes to press, the other needs to covers the passing chances, if the defenders are being pressed, they go back as a pair to support them and give our defenders an easy out. Their job is to get the ball, release the pressure of a high-press, and force our opponents to worry about where our next attack is going to come from.

Put bluntly it is the midfielder’s job to make the team an actual team. They are the backbone, and it is their job to bring calm to the team when we are on the ball; and it is also their job to have the skill to thread the ball up the park, to break a high press. Do that a few times and the opponents will back off.

But what have we got instead? When our defenders get the ball, all our opponents have to do is to run casually at them, and 9 times out of 10 it is absolute panic in our backline. This is followed by a huge punt up the park, and we lose the ball.

Honestly, why is that? Why can we never keep the ball for longer than 20 seconds?

Ryan Jack used to be the key that made our entire midfield work, but that was years ago.

Today, all our midfielders are missing. When they are needed most, they are far too often out of position, which has made it is impossible for Rangers to work as a team.

They only need to be in the correct positions to allow Goldson and the rest of the back line to have someone they can easily pass to, and it is then their job to pass the ball out wide or up the park, and to not try to do something 100% stupid.

And here I have a surprise for you. I am actually going to put in a good word for Abdallah Sima. Yes, he has not been the best up front (that’s an understatement), but he does at least have enough tactical awareness to know when our midfield is AWOL, and he has took it upon himself to try multiple times to fill the gap, to try to get the midfield working…..but that is not his job!

So, if we are going to come home with anything from tomorrow’s game, our midfield is going to have to show some tactical awareness and work their little socks off to make sure they finally get their entire act together. They need to actually move and try to support our defenders, and when we have the ball it is their job to work out how to pass the ball out of tight areas and get the ball to our strikers.

If they somehow can finally get their act together, and somehow realise they are the ones responsible for trying to get Rangers playing like a true Rangers team, then we might have a chance.

And it’s time to look at our opponents, and surprisingly this is a glass half-full analysis. Part 3 coming soon…

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