Sunday, June 26, 2022

Rangers 2021-22 Season Review: Major Talking Points, Best Players And Key Moments

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Pratyay Maitra
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Rangers enjoyed an incredible league run last season as they stayed unbeaten en route to conquering the silverware. But they underperformed this term, particularly after Steven Gerrard’s egress. Celtic reclaimed the Scottish crown with a four-point cushion, also the heartbreak in the Europa League final almost ruined their campaign.

The Gers, however, regrouped themselves for the Scottish Cup final and defeated Hearts in the extra time to finish the season on a high note. The victory at Hampden should uplift their spirit ahead of the Champions League qualifiers.

Rangers’ 2021-22 Season Review: Major Talking Points

The Gers had a disastrous start to their European campaign when they got knocked out by Malmo from the Champions League third qualifying round. An edgy playoff win against Alashkert earned them a place in the Europa League group stage, but the sudden exit of Gerrard jeopardized their progress following back to back defeats.

The club appointed Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the new Ibrox chief and the Light Blues scripted a massive resurgence under his tutelage. They not only progressed to the knock-outs but also defeated the heavyweights like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig before locking horns with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final. The Light Blues punched above their weight at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, but an awful spot-kick from Aaron Ramsey shattered their dreams in the tie-breaker.

Rangers midfielder James Sands
Rangers’ US midfielder James Sands reacts as he walks past the trophy during the UEFA Europa League final football match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Glasgow Rangers at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on May 18, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Rangers were below par in the league since the managerial alteration, however, their comeback victory against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semifinal laid the foundation for the title triumph on Saturday evening.

Rangers’ Best Players Of The 2021-22 Campaign

Calvin Bassey

Unsurprisingly, the Nigerian won Rangers’ Young Player of the Year award for his immense contribution in the defensive third. Despite beginning as the understudy to left fullback Borna Barisic, Bassey soon grabbed a regular role for his marauding runs and attacking expertise. He was later deployed as a makeshift centre-back amid injuries to Leon Balogun and Filip Helander, something that worked exquisitely on big occasions. He was the Gers’ best performer in the Europa League final and a host of Premier League sides are now circling like vultures to secure his services this summer.

John Lundstram

In spite of his high reputation, the former Sheffield United star struggled initially to fit in Gerrard’s game plan. But a tweak in formation under Van Bronckhorst worked stupendously when he started featuring as the ‘double pivot’ alongside Ryan Jack. His down the middle runs as well as physicality allowed Rangers to dominate the show from the centre of the pitch.

James Tavernier

The highest scorer of this season’s Europa League, skipper James Tavernier depicted once more why he is one of a kind. The right fullback maintained his mastery high up the pitch with relentless runs, crosses, cut insides and set-piece excellence, whereas his defensive game improved a lot after a few erroneous outings over the previous terms.

Key Moments

Substitutes did the trick for Rangers and Van Bronckhorst in their Scottish Cup success. Scott Arfield, deployed as a ‘super sub’, instigated a comeback against the Hoops in the semifinal. Also, extra-time goals from Ryan Jack and Scott Wright (both were introduced from the bench) sealed it for them versus Hearts.

Having said that, the decision of bringing Aaron Ramsey for the tie-breaker went horribly wrong in the Europa League final. The veteran Welshman failed to beat Kevin Trapp, and therefore, brought a painful end to the Gers’ dream European run.

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