You Do The Maths - Rangers Tactics

Last updated : 26 January 2006 By Divemaster
But with alarming frequency, especially this season, the tactics used and the personnel selected in the starting XI have brought about widespread condemnation from us, usually with good reason. The best example of this is probably deploying three at the back at Tynecastle.

However, prior to that game, with cheap goals being conceded against Falkirk, Porto and Clyde, there was a cry to have Marvin in the team, yet it ended up the man he was marking whose header proved decisive. This has lead to many chipping in with their tuppenceworth on what formation we should, and quite frankly some of what I read and hear scares me nutsless. However, I just get this tiny feeling that some of the suggested formations are only in fact suggested because they bring about success on Championship Manager, Football Manager, or Pro-Evolution Soccer. This was perhaps highlighted against Porto where the guy in front of me told us all that 'Barry's 10 yards too deep'. And as a result, more questions are being raised than solutions suggested.

Where and when does a 4-4-2 become a 4-2-4? If wide midfielders (for example, Vignal, Beckham) are deployed, is it a 4-4-2? If it's proper wingers (Burke, Laudrup), is it a 4-2-4? Either way, what happens if a wide midfielder is playing on one wing and a winger on the other? Is this not a disjointed 4-3-3? Speaking of the 4-3-3 formation, how does it differ from a 4-5-1? And if one of the three midfielders is particularly attacking, is this not a 4-2-1-3? Or, again depending on the type of wide player, a 4-4-1-1 or the seemingly new and well discussed 4-2-3-1.

Henceforth, can it be concluded that the following formations are all in essence the same: 4-3-3, 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1. I suppose that if in these aforementioned formations, only one holding/defensive midfielder is played, then 4-1-4-1 can be added to the list. Finally (finally?), is the 4-2-2-2 formation (please God Eck never try this), which was deployed, ensuing widespread criticism, by Vanderlei Luxemburgo at Real Madrid not a more compact version of the ‘diamond’? Although I suppose it could be looked upon as 'the diamond formation gone wrong.' But why does nobody think to call it the square?
However, while I ultimately accept McLeish to be a tactical novice, a problem which has cost us far too many points and matches over the last three seasons, if we do lose against Villarreal it will not be because he didn't use the formation which McLeish Jnr found could win him the Champions League on his computer game, whichever one it may be.

Ironically it is the fact that we now have a lot some players returning to the full fitness that worries me most. I really do fear that Eck could contrive to f**k things up by trying to accommodate too many people. The chopping and changing of formations and player-positions at Fir Park affirmed for me he will There is no way Prso, Buffel, Boyd, Lovenkrands and to a lesser degree Novo can fill only two or three positions. The Thomas Buffel situation is my main concern; after a fairly indifferent beginning to his Ibrox career, with only flashes of the skill and ability he clearly has, it appears he will only be able to live his potential in the second striker position, and should he continue to be in the starting XI, everything will need to be build around him.

While I quite like Buffel, and believe we would have died on our arses against Inter without him, for £2.3 million, McLeish really should have bought someone who was less of a luxury. Unfortunately, this is what Lovenkrands now can be described as well. His general contribution against Motherwell was poor, and I don’t believe he will be able to make an impact against teams who come to Ibrox with eleven men behind the ball. If this indeed turns out to be the case, it would be in Pete’s bests interests to move on.