Rangers Spartak Moscow Europa League Tactical Analysis

Rangers put in a strong and dominant performance to beat Dundee 4-0 at Ibrox in the 5th league match of the season. Goals from Coulibaly, Kent, Tavernier and Middleton were the least Rangers deserved on the day as they created numerous chances. The team saw a perfectly good goal from Morelos disallowed by an incorrect offside flag. They also forced the Dundee goalkeeper into some great saves. Dundee came to Ibrox looking to play good football on the front foot but were punished for being so open.

Rangers started the match with Halliday and Coulibaly coming into midfield to replace the injured Jack and Ejaria. Lafferty dropped to the bench to allow Kent to play wide left. New signings Worrall and Grezda were on the bench. Dundee had Kenny Miller starting the match, and brought in Ngwatala in midfield. Darren O’Dea also started at centre-half.

FIRST HALF

Rangers started the match with real intent, and it took only 4 minutes for that to reap some rewards. Constant pressure saw crosses just evade their targets and shots blocked, but the ball fell to Barisic just inside the box. His right foot shot was blocked and fell to Morelos who was able to take a touch. Just as it seemed he would lash the ball in with his left foot, Coulibaly stole in and did so with his right to give Rangers an early lead.

Four minutes later, Rangers had the ball in the net again. This time, the assistant referee raised his flag to deny a great goal. Dundee were on the attack, but it was dealt with well by the Rangers defence. In his own area, Goldson was composed and found Kent with a great pass. The on-loan winger then released Candeias on the right, who beat his man and played a perfect cross for Morelos to tap home at the back post. Replays confirmed that Morelos was onside when the ball was played. The counter-attack was excellent, and a sign of just how Rangers intended to hurt Dundee on the day.

The team only had to wait a further six minutes before getting the deserved second goal. Ryan Kent picked the ball up on the left and drove inside. Linking up with Morelos and then Arfield, he played quick one-twos and got through on goal. He finished well to open his account for Rangers. His celebrations showed just how much he’s been desperate to get that first goal.

The game started to slow down at this point as players were picking up knocks from heavy challenges. Scott Arfield took a sore one and looked to be in trouble, but was thankfully able to run it off. Barisic, Morelos and Tavernier all had to be tended to by the physio as the game became more of a battle. Dundee were able to take advantage of that, creating a couple of chances of their own. The best came from a counter-attack which saw Ngwatala link up with Miller. The midfielder was played clear in the box, but hesitated on his weaker right foot and allowed Barisic to get back and block the shot.

Just as half time was approaching, Rangers got their third. Kent played a smart ball in behind the Dundee defence for Morelos to run onto. The striker was caught by O’Dea in the box for a clear penalty. Tavernier stepped up and placed the ball to the right of the goalkeeper with too much power for him to stop.

SECOND HALF

Rangers started the second half with the same intensity as they did the first. Candeias robbed the Dundee defence of the ball which they’d let bounce and played a cross to Morelos in space. The striker had to take a touch, which allowed the Dundee defence to close him down and block his shot. It was a great chance for the striker who deserved a goal.

The next Rangers chance fell to Arfield. Ryan Kent beat Kerr to get to the byline and stand up a nice cross. Arfield met it with a header but the ball went just over the bar. Morelos created a chance from a corner when the ball fell to him at the edge of the box. He took a touch, beat a defender and flashed a shot across goal which was excellently saved by Parish. From the corner, Morelos saw a header go wide to add to his frustration.

Kenny Miller saw his match end early as he was red-carded for a late challenge on Barisic. He had been booked earlier, so a second yellow would have seen him off anyway. The straight red seemed like a harsh call at the time, but with some replays, it could be argued it was deserved.

The fourth Rangers goal came on the 82nd minute. Tavernier and Candeias linked up wide to free the Portuguese winger to get in a cross. The ball was chested down by Kusunga, and Middleton reacted first to slot home, scoring the first goal of his professional career.

Kyle Lafferty had a couple of chances to add to the scoring late on. The first was correctly ruled out for offside. The second saw him hit the bar with a header after a great ball in by Goldson. The game ended 4-0 and was a more than deserved scoreline after a dominant display.

ANALYSIS

When Rangers beat Dundee by this scoreline last season at Ibrox, it was clear they didn’t deserve to win by so many. This time, Dundee were fortunate not to lose by more. They came to Ibrox looking to attack and win possession, and that gave Rangers space to run into. That led to a lot of good counter attacks, and a number of chances being created. Ryan Kent and Daniel Candeias, in particular, had a lot of joy in the wide areas. In the second half, Dundee were unable to create much by way of attacks, but in the first half, they caused a few issues. There was a clear difference in energy and composure from Rangers as they reacted well to the defeat in their previous league match.

RANGERS:

McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Barisic; Halliday, Coulibaly (Middleton 56) Arfield; Candeias, Kent (Lafferty 65), Morelos (Grezda 76).

SUBS: Foderingham, McCrorie, Flanagan, Worrall

DUNDEE:

Parish; Boyle, O’Dea (Kusunga 50), Kerr; Curran, McGowan, Madianga, Ngwatala, Miller (Nabi 70); Miller, Kallman (Moussa 62)

SUBS: Hamilton, Mendy, Spence, Moore