A 1-1 draw on the road put Rangers in the driver’s seat ahead of hosting Slavia Praha at Ibrox this Thursday night. The Gers were not at their best but claimed a crucial away goal prior to the return leg contest. They are still unbeaten in Europe and the new Scottish Champions are this close to making it to the quarterfinals of the prestigious Europa League competition.
It’s been a remarkable ride for the Bears under Steven Gerrard who is determined to emulate last season’s European success. Having said that, the Czech champions showed their ability last week and almost claimed a win in the closing moments of the game. Rangers must maintain their composure at the back but, at the same time, should not opt for a deep-defensive strategy compromising their usual show.
Predicted 4-3-3 Rangers Lineup To Face Slavia Praha
Allan McGregor is proving his expertise week in week out as his stupendous save late in the match denied Slavia a first-leg victory. He is expected to be tested at Ibrox too and the Light Blues would rely heavily on his stewardship between the sticks.
Skipper James Tavernier is still a few days away from returning to action and Nathan Patterson, the 19-year-old right fullback, should deputize the Englishman once more even though Leon Balogun is available after serving a one-game suspension last midweek. Filip Helander scored the crucial equalizer at the Eden Arena and must pair up with Connor Goldson who has been immense all season in the heart of the backline. The hopes will be higher from Borna Barisic, particularly from set-pieces amid Tavernier’s injury absence.
Ryan Jack has recovered from a calf strain and is likely to grab a place in the matchday squad after being left out for their trip to Prague. But the gaffer must not hand him a start straightaway and should trust on the ever-present Steven Davis from his usual deep-lying midfield role. Glen Kamara would help Rangers dominate possession against Slavia Praha with his technicality and vision, whereas the work rate and unpredictability of Joe Aribo need to be explored in order to create goal-scoring threats from the centre of the pitch.
Ianis Hagi has contributed significantly on an array of big occasions including the first leg fixture when he set it up for Helander to tap in from an extremely close range. The Romanian should continue from the right-hand flank and link up more frequently with Alfredo Morelos who is tipped to spearhead the Gers attack. Ryan Kent has been incredible in recent weeks and must cause menace in the Red and Whites’ defensive third with his pace, power and dribbling traits. Fit-again Kemar Roofe should stay among the substitutes alongside Scott Arfield, Scott Wright and Cedric Itten.