After three consecutive away games, Rangers finally played a match at Ibrox Stadium. Rangers played against St. Mirren. After two consecutive wins, Rangers wanted to continue the winning streak. Before this match, St. Mirren were on the bottom on the table and Rangers were huge favourites. Together with Dundee and Hamilton, St. Mirren are fighting against relegation. Every point is very important for them.
Gerrard played a 4-4-2 diamond formation against Kilmarnock. In that match, Rangers lost. After that match, against Livingston, Rangers played in their usual 4-3-3 formation and secured a win. St. Mirren are on the bottom of the table and Gerrard decided to use 4-4-2 diamond again. Defoe and Morelos played as striker duo. Davis took his place and Jack stayed on the bench. Candeias stayed on the bench too. St. Mirren played in a 3-5-2 formation.
From the start, Rangers put pressure on St. Mirren’s defence. Rangers’ players closed down passing options. Their plan was to win the ball and with quick transition threaten St. Mirren’s goal. Rangers pressed with at least five players. In case they won the ball, they wanted to secure as many as possible options in attack.
Rangers’ defence played long on their right side of the pitch. Then four Rangers’ players formed a rondo and tried to win the second-ball battle.
Six Rangers players pressed six St. Mirren’s players. They closed down all passing options. In their own half, Rangers’ players usually overloaded wide areas. In the image below we can see five Rangers players, which surrounded the player with the ball. When the ball was in the middle of the pitch, Rangers defended generally in a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
When the first pressing line was broken, Rangers defended with eight players. Strikers Defoe and Morelos stayed forward and all other players were in their half. When they won the ball, they wanted a quick transition to create a chance.
Ryan Kent was a key player. He uses his speed and skill. Defoe was a more static striker. Morelos was more moveable then him. Morelos moved all around the pitch. St. Mirren defended in a 3-5-2 narrow formation in a deep block. When they won the ball, they had only one or two options in attack and it was difficult for them to create a goalscoring chance. Their attacks were harmless. They recorded only five shots in this match (zero shots on target), despite having 47% possession.
We can see nine St. Mirren players in their own half. They defended in a narrow formation.
In the image below, we can see St. Mirren’s attacking structure. They attacked in a 3-5-2 formation. But, only six their players were in opposition’s half. As we said, Rangers usually defended with eight players in their half. St. Mirren were outnumbered. Rangers attacked with seven or eight players. Midfielders, especially Kent and Arfield, often got forward.
In the image below, we can see that Kent and Arfield were in the 18-yard box. They were in front of strikers, Defoe and Morelos. Rangers usually played down the flanks. Also, they do not play out of the back. Usually, they went long.
Around the 30th minute, Rangers switched to a 4-3-3. Kent moved to left winger position and Morelos moved to right winger position. St. Mirren also played long. But as we said, they defended in a deep block. Only one or two players stayed forward. So when they played long, there were little options in attack. When Rangers switched to the 4-3-3, they played in defence also in that formation. When St Mirren played the ball to one side, the two nearest midfielders moved to that area to help their side defensively. This first half was of interest because Rangers had two penalties. Tavernier took both of them. He scored first but missed the second one.
At the start of the second half, St Mirren attacked with five players in the forward line. They played 3-5-2 in the attacking phase of the game. In the image below we can see five players in line and two players behind them. Rangers reacted to that change and they defended with all players in their own half. On 54 minutes, Ryan Jack replaced Ross McCrorie. Jack take place as a defensive midfielder. He dropped deep to help their defenders in build-up play.
On 55 minutes, Rangers had another penalty. This time Tavernier scored. After that goal, St. Mirren did not attack with five players anymore. They played in their formation from the first half. Rangers still forced attacks down the flanks. Full-backs secured width. On 64 minutes, Candeias replaced Davis. Rangers switched formation again. They played in a 4-4-2 flat formation with Candeias and Kent as wingers. In defence, Rangers played in a 4-4-2 flat formation. In attack, Candeias and Kent moved into the centre of the pitch. Full-backs played wide. They often had a lot of space. They had a one-on-one situation or even, they were through on goal.
In this image, we can see Rangers’ 4-4-2 formation.
Candeias moved to a central area and secured Tavernier a one-on-one situation against St. Mirren’s full-back. Rangers scored another two goals. Defoe scored from a penalty-kick. The fourth goal was scored by Kent. Interestingly, in this match Rangers had four penalties.
It was an easy win for Rangers. They controlled the game from the start of the match. Gerrard tried a few formations. Rangers started the match in a 4-4-2 diamond. After around 30 minutes, they switched to 4-3-3. In the second half, when Candeias came in the game, Rangers switched to a 4-4-2 flat formation. St Mirren are on the bottom of the table and this was a routine victory for Rangers. Gerrard had the luxury to experiment with formations and players.
On 6 February, Rangers will play against Aberdeen. This is an important match because of the Aberdeen–Rangers rivalry. Also, the match is important for the battle for UEFA Competitions. Aberdeen are in third place on the table and only two points behind Rangers.
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