Ten men Rangers delivered a spirited show on Thursday night and grabbed a 1-0 home win against Alashkert in the first leg fixture of the Europa League play-off. But the job is not done yet for the Gers as they must secure a result on the road to make it to the group stages of this European competition.
The Armenian minnows defended deep at Ibrox but would attempt to expose Rangers’ frailty at the back on Thursday evening. Steven Gerrard is struggling to emulate the mastery of the 2020-21 season and the players, too, are aiming for momentum ahead of the weekend’s Old Firm derby versus bitter rivals Celtic.
Predicted 4-3-3 Rangers Lineup To Face FC Alashkert
Gerrard handed Allan McGregor his first domestic start on Sunday afternoon and is expected to rely on the veteran Scotsman between the sticks much like he did in their previous European contests.
Skipper James Tavernier has been lethargic time and again while performing his defensive duties. The right fullback is exquisite in terms of attacking contribution but must backtrack to help his teammates. Connor Goldson is far from his best and needs to step up his game at the earliest. The gaffer should bring Filip Helander back into the mix who has been resolute with his positioning and recoveries. Calvin Bassey has been majestic down the left but the experience of Borna Barisic would be key in such a crucial game. The Croatian must get the nod and showcase his crossing as well as set-piece traits.
John Lundstram was sent off in the reverse tie, but the Bears would be boosted by the return of Glen Kamara upon completion of his three-game ban. Although he was taken off against Ross County following a knock, Gerrard is hopeful of having him back for their trip to Armenia. Steven Davis should retain his place at the centre of the pitch considering the unavailability of Ryan Jack and Nnamdi Ofoborh due to fitness reasons. Joe Aribo has been displaying a strong work ethic and is likely to occupy a free role to link up high up the pitch.
Alfredo Morelos fired in the solitary goal of their first leg triumph and the fans would once again bank on ‘El Bufalo’ to make a difference at Alashkert Stadium. Ryan Kent is undergoing a rough spell but a player of his merit might not be dropped given the significance of this midweek encounter. Ianis Hagi should feature from the right and exhibit his directness and poaching instinct as he has done so far in Rangers colours. Scott Wright would aim for an impact as a ‘super sub’, whereas Kemar Roofe is set to serve the final game of a four-match suspension which he received last season for his horrific tackle on Slavia Prague custodian Ondrej Kolar.