The real culprit of Rangers’ frail defence is a surprise

The real culprit of Rangers’ frail defence is a surprise
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Players of Rangers pose for a team photograph prior to the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 match between Rangers FC and AC Sparta Praha at Ibrox Stadium on November 09, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In a rarity again for Ibrox Noise, despite our own deep-founded misgivings about defender Connor Goldson, and recent praise for captain James Tavernier, some statistical analysis reveals eye-opening numbers about Rangers’ untouchable duo, when it comes to defending.

As Rangers fans are well aware, the topic of these two has been of much contention in recent years, given the simple fact that if they are fit, they play. They are clearly immune to dropping, whatever the reason.

But Ibrox Noise has been at pains to try to keep it factual, and to that end, some very interesting numbers expose the real culprit of Rangers’ vulnerabilities on their side, and surprisingly, it isn’t Goldson. And it isn’t completely Tavernier either…

New research from Ibrox Noise reveals the real culprit, shockingly, is John Lundstram.

As stunning as his form seems to have been, no Rangers player in our entire squad is beaten for dribbles and bypassed more than Lunny, with a terrible 29 times he’s just been completely done by an opponent. He’s 6th worst in the whole league for this.

Tavernier is also high here, 21 times, suffering from Lunny being unable to do what Ryan Jack used to be able to, which is covering the entire right side, protecting the RB. Tav is 19th worst – high up the pitch as he is, he gets done repeatedly.

Goldson? This is where it gets interesting – Rangers’ under-fire defender has only been bypassed 5 times all season, he’s way WAY down the list of offenders for this at 163rd.

Balogun? Even further down, at 183rd with only 4 times his being beaten that way. John Souttar is 250th having only been dribbled past ONCE all season.

So what does this mean?

It means that Lunny cannot cover Rangers’ defence in the way Jacko used to – he will be beaten frequently and is a big offender for being dribbled past.

It means Rangers’ rearguard is left exposed by Lunny, and by Tav continuing to play his same game as before, but without Jacko’s insurance covering him.

And this is why we feel more vulnerable. Lunny’s been great, but he can’t cover the side/defence he’s being asked to cover.

Worst Celtic player? Taylor, 24th, with 19, and Celtic’s McGregor is only 17 – he can cover his defence significantly better than Lunny can.

And the upshot here is that despite how poor Lunny can cover his backline, Souttar and Balogun only have a combined 5 fails between them all season, which shows how effective they are at not being beaten. That even Lunny’s vulnerabilities don’t hurt them massively.

Goldson isn’t a lot worse, but still manages to be equal to both of them combined.

Ultimately the problem isn’t really anyone’s fault – no one can do Jacko’s old job, and it kept Rangers’ defence watertight. His last good season, 20/21, he was bypassed just 9 times, in 24 appearances. It’s pretty impressive for his position, and Rangers were immense, securing 55.

But this season, Lunny, 44 appearances, 29 beatings. It’s quite the difference.

This isn’t anyone’s fault, we just don’t have ‘that’ Jacko anymore.

Que sera.

No posts to display