Predicted Rangers XI to face Legia Warsaw in the Europa League playoffs
Rangers strolled to a comfortable 1-0 victory over St. Mirren in Round 3 of the Scottish Premiership on Sunday, thanks to a wonder goal from Croatian left-back Borna Barisic.
Steven Gerrard maintained Rangers’ perfect start to the season on the domestic front but the Gers will have their work cut out when they play host to Polish giants Legia Warsaw for the second leg of the Europa League playoffs on Thursday night.
Rangers head into the game against Warsaw knowing that they have their fate in their own hands, having been held to a 0-0 draw in the away leg in Poland.
The test at Ibrox is going to be far from easy for the Glasgow outfit, but one that they would need to pass if they are serious about playing in Europe this term.
Steven Gerrard rotated his eleven against St. Mirren on Sunday, probably with a view to fielding the best set of players in the must-win fixture against Legia Warsaw on Thursday night.
The manager will be wary of the upcoming Old Firm derby against Celtic on Sunday, so he would have to manage his resources accordingly.
Rangers will be without the services of Brandon Barker (hamstring), Eros Grezda (muscle), Graham Dorrans (calf) and Jamie Murphy (cruciate ligament) for the game against the Polish heavyweights.
Predicted Rangers XI
Allan McGregor (GK)
The 37-year-old made some crucial saves in the first leg in Poland to deny Legia Warsaw a goal and he is one of the sure starters for the Gers on Thursday.
Jon Flanagan (LB)
Borna Barisic scored a scorcher against St. Mirren but the former Liverpool man did well in the first leg in Poland and he is expected to get the nod ahead of the Croatian.
James Tavernier (RB)
The influential right-back endured a difficult night in Poland last week and Rangers will need him to come up with some of his signature crosses in the do-or-die fixture this time around.
Connor Goldson (CB)
He looked quite vulnerable against Warsaw in the first leg but Filip Helander didn’t convince against St. Mirren either, meaning that the former Brighton man is likely to be preferred in central defence.
Nikola Katic (CB)
The Croatian should be fresh to partner Goldson at the heart of the defence on Thursday after being rested for the league fixture away at St. Mirren on Sunday.
Ryan Jack (CM)
The former Aberdeen man has been a regular for the Gers at the heart of the midfield this season and he definitely deserves to continue as a starter after a series of impressive displays.
Steven Davis (RCM)
The veteran wasn’t quite at his best in the first leg in Poland and Rangers will need him to replicate his domestic form on Thursday if they are to control the game in the midfield.
Joe Aribo (LCM)
The former Charlton man has been an absolute livewire for Rangers in the middle of the park and his drive, determination, physicality and flair are indispensable assets.
Sheyi Ojo (RW)
The Liverpool loanee should be up and running after being rested for the league game against St. Mirren.
Scott Arfield (LW)
The Canadian worked really hard without too much end product in the first leg in Poland and Rangers will need him to make more of an impact this week in the must-win clash.
Alfredo Morelos (ST)
The Colombian goal-machine missed a few chances in the first leg but the onus will be on him to find the net and fire the Gers through to the group stages of the Europa League.
3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of PL gameweek 6
3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of gameweek 6
Arsenal and Watford played out arguably one of the most enthralling encounters in the Premier League so far this season, as the Hornets came back from two goals down to salvage a point at Vicarage Road in their first game following the return of Quique Sanchez Flores as the new manager.
Arsenal had more of the possession in the first half and went into the interval with a two-goal advantage, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.
Sead Kolasinac set up Aubameyang for the opener with a driving run while Mesut Ozil’s wonderful pick-out paved the way for Ainsley-Maitland Niles to assist the Gabonese for his second.
However, Watford came out with more determination in the second half and took the game by the scruff of the neck. The Hornets completely dominated the proceedings, had more efforts on target and were by and large the better side by a long margin.
Gerard Deulofeu’s clever interception inside Arsenal’s penalty area allowed Tom Cleverly to pull one back in the 53rd minute before a mistimed challenge from David Luiz on Roberto Pereyra inside the box led to Pereyra’s equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.
Watford had plenty of chances to wrap up a famous victory at home over the Gunners but Bernd Leno made some smart interventions to save the blushes for the Gunners, who have only themselves to blame for blowing away a golden chance to finish the week in the top 4.
Here are 3 talking points from Vicarage Road:
1. Playing out from the back
The new ruling in the Premier League, which allows players to be inside the box during goal-kick situations, certainly favours teams opting to play out from the back with short exchanges. And Arsenal, who pride themselves in using such tactics to good effect, were the architects of their own downfall on Sunday.
Watford were very much alive to the Gunners’ tactics and when they tried to play the ball out from the back with short lateral passes. The Hornets adopted a high pressing style to disrupt their rhythm.
In the build-up to Watford’s first goal, Leno passed the ball to Sokratis, who apparently thought that passing it to a crowded Matteo Guendouzi was a good idea.
Deulofeu, who was just waiting for a sniff to win the ball back, put out his leg to intercept the ball inside the box and Cleverly made it 2-1 with a cool finish.
That, however, wasn’t the only time when Arsenal were sloppy when playing out from the back. Guendouzi was robbed off the ball inside his own penalty area in the first half and had it not been for Leno’s fine reflex save, the Gunners would have got some serious stick from their own fans.
Quite clearly, Arsenal were too slow while playing out from the back and Emery, who knows a lot about the implementation of such tactics, will be aware of the fact that he needs to put in a lot more work on the training ground to avoid such embarrassment in the future.
2. Watford’s resurgence under Sanchez Flores
The 2-2 draw was probably a fair reflection of the balance of the game but Quique Sanchez Flores would know that his team was ever so close to registering its first victory of the Premier League this term.
Having failed to win any of their league games since April last season, the Hornets looked short of confidence under Javi Gracia but the appointment of Sanchez Flores has come as a breath of fresh air amongst the players, who put in a lion-hearted performance and showed the audacity to take the game to Arsenal.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for the hosts when they went into the interval with a two-goal deficit but the way they fought back to salvage a draw speaks volumes of their character and resilience, highlighting the change in mentality that the new manager has already brought to his unit.
Looking at the stats, Watford had as many as 31 attempts over the course of the ninety minutes on Saturday, 10 of which were on target, while Arsenal managed to get only 4 out of their 7 attempts on target.
Furthermore, the Hornets finished the game with 53% possession, which is largely a result of their unrivalled dominance in the second half, while the work rate of the players and the ability to carve out chances on a regular basis were a few other hallmarks of their performance.
Despite the impressive 2-2 draw, Watford stayed at the bottom of the Premier League table with just 2 points from their first 5 games but they certainly won’t be there for long if they continue their resurgence under Sanchez Flores.
3. Luiz a liability once again
Arsenal’s persistent woes at the back over the past 12 months have been one of the biggest talking points of Unai Emery’s reign at the Emirates and the club’s hasty decision to bring in an impetuous centre-back like David Luiz in the summer has already shown early signs of backfiring, with the Brazilian veteran conceding yet another penalty on Saturday.
Luiz was quite horrible with his decision-making and mentality at the back in the games against Liverpool and Spurs, and his clip on Pereyra just inside the box paved the way for the Hornets to equalise in the second half.
Looking back at how things shaped up over the ninety minutes, the very fact that Watford managed to register 31 attempts is a clear indication of the fact that the Gunners just didn’t do enough at the back to close down the attackers soon enough.
In fact, they were lucky not to have conceded three or four goals, thanks to some goalkeeping heroics from Leno and some poor finishing from the home side.
If Luiz continues to let the team down on such a regular basis, Emery might have his work cut out in guiding the team to a top-four finish this season.
[Image] Here’s the EFL Championship TOTW for gameweek 7 featuring Middlesbrough and Leeds stars
2019-20 EFL Championship: Team of the Week Round 7
Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship had everything in store for all sections of the fans to savour and admire, as the players returned to action following the end of the international break.
There was hardly any shortage of twists, turns and talking points in Round 7. Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the standings, Swansea and Charlton Athletic lost their unbeaten status, Stoke City and Huddersfield Town continued their losing habits and West Brom remained the only unbeaten side in the division.
There were some fantastic individual performances too, and with that in mind, here’s the Team of the Week for Round 7 in a 4-3-3 formation.
Championship Team of the Week
Darren Randolph (GK)
The Irish shot-stopper made some crucial saves to propel Middlesbrough to a 1-0 victory over Reading at the Riverside Stadium and he definitely deserves a place in the elite elven.
Scott Malone (LB)
Derby County remained in the bottom half with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City but the left-back put in a much-improved performance as compared to his previous outings and scored the Rams’ only goal.
Maxime Colin (RB)
Birmingham City broke into the top-ten by ending Charlton’s unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory away from home, and the Frenchman was instrumental in the Blues’ win with his solid display at the back.
Derrick Williams (CB)
The Irish centre-back was one of the standout performers, as Blackburn Rovers got themselves back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.
Darragh Lenihan (CB)
One of the architects of Blackburn’s victory at the weekend, the Irish defender is one of the surprise inclusions in this week’s elite eleven.
Kalvin Phillips (CDM)
The central midfielder put up yet another dogged display in the midfield to guide Leeds United to a 2-0 victory over Barnsley, registering an assist with a free-kick for Nketiah’s goal.
Eberechi Eze (RAM)
The Nigerian has really come of age for QPR this term and the attacking midfielder was once again one of the driving forces behind his team’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town, registering a goal and an assist in the process.
Mateusz Klich (LAM)
The Polish international once again proved his worth as one of Marcelo Bielsa’s trusted lieutenants in the middle of the park and secured a 2-0 victory for his team with a well-taken penalty towards the end of the game.
Robert Glatzel (RW)
The towering German centre-forward equalised from the penalty spot for Cardiff City in the Bluebirds’ 1-1 draw against Derby County and finally registered his first goal of the EFL Championship.
Harry Cornick (LW)
Luton lost a five-goal thriller at Loftus Road but Cornick impressed with a goal and an assist in what was a fine individual performance.
Nakhi Wells (ST)
A proven source of goals in the EFL Championship, Wells bagged a brace in QPR’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town to hand Mark Warburton’s side a third consecutive victory in the league.
[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Man United XI to face FC Astana – can the Red Devils begin Europa League journey with a win?
Manchester United vs FC Astana prediction: Manchester United line-up
Manchester United begin their Europa League campaign with a home encounter against Kazakhstan side FC Astana on Thursday.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have endured a mixed start to the Premier League season, they still sit fourth on the table with eight points from five games. The Red Devils narrowly defeated Leicester City at the weekend and Solskjaer will look to achieve some momentum now.
With a relatively thin squad this time around, the Norwegian tactician could use the Europa League by giving the academy stars a chance to impress. In fact, it is the perfect time for some of the Manchester United fringe players to make a lasting impact.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are unlikely to feature on Thursday but they’ll be ready for Sunday’s trip to West Ham. Diogo Dalot is a doubt but Solskjaer could have Jesse Lingard back for the FC Astana test.
Probable Manchester United XI
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Sergio Romero (GK)
Romero has often featured in this competition in the past and the experienced Argentinean could start between the sticks on Thursday.
Ashley Young (RB)
With Wan-Bissaka expected to be rested and Dalot still out, Young is likely to be deployed at right-back.
Axel Tuanzebe (CB)
Tuanzebe made his first appearance of the season coming off the bench against Leicester on Saturday. He should get his first start of the season against Astana.
Phil Jones (CB)
Partnering Tuanzebe at the heart of United’s defence could be Jones, whose experience will come handy in such a tricky game.
Marcos Rojo (LB)
With Shaw out injured, Solskjaer could hand Rojo his first start of the campaign at left-back.
Nemanja Matic (CM)
Matic may not have played much this season but he is likely to start this game and help United get a solid start in the Europa League.
Fred looked lively in his first appearance of the season against Leicester, impressing after coming off the bench. This could be the perfect opportunity for Fred to get some minutes under his belt and impress the manager.
Jesse Lingard (RW)
Lingard hasn’t been able to make much of an impact for the Red Devils this season. So, he’ll look to seize the chance on Thursday against FC Astana.
Tahith Chong (LW)
Chong was very impressive in his cameo against Leicester, adding plenty of pace, energy and dynamism to the attack. He is in line to start his first game for Manchester United.
Angel Gomes (CAM)
Gomes is a special talent, who could provide some much-needed creativity and spark to United’s attack. He has been knocking on the door for some time now and is likely to start in the no.10 role.
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Mason Greenwood (ST)
Needless to say, Greenwood needs a run of games in the number 9 role. No starts have come his way yet, but the first could come on Thursday.
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