With the start of competitive football only one day away, the excitement/tension is building. Unlike like last season, it’s going to be much more difficult to predict a starting eleven this season. Today’s article is going to focus on the forwards. So, who will start in Rangers front three tomorrow?
Let’s start with the most likely options. Assuming Michael Beale goes back to the 4312 that worked so well towards the end of last season, there are two main options, for me, to play behind the front two. Those being Todd Cantwell and Sam Lammers. My choice for the number 10 role would be;
This was an easy choice for me, because I’d have Cantwell playing as an 8, and the 26-year-old Dutchman was so good in the position in preseason. These were the numbers he posted in those games;
- 4 Appearances
- 2 Goals (0.82 xG)
- 58% Dribble Success (7/12)
- 57% Duels Won (30/52)
- 3 Interceptions
- 7 Recoveries (5 in Oppositions Half)
- 6 Progressive Runs
The biggest concern was his goal return in previous years. Rangers played strong opponents in preseason and he scored 2 in 4, I don’t think his goal contributions will be a worry this season. He’s such a technically gifted footballer, everything he does with the ball just looks effortless.
He will be key in linking the play between the midfield and attack and I think he could form a very fun partnership with Todd Cantwell. Hopefully Lammers continues his impress preseason form into the league opener on Saturday.
His ability to hold onto the ball or take players on will be vital in helping keep pressure on opponents in tight games. Rangers have massively struggled to breakdown teams who play a low block in the last couple of seasons. Having players with this level of ability and vision on the ball will be huge in helping break down those stubborn defences.
Lammers is also very intelligent off of the ball. He drops deep to find space to then get forward and link with the strikers. He picks up such clever pockets of space that not every player can see. I’m a massive fan of what I’ve seen of him so far and Rugby Park is always a difficult test for any player. Saturday will properly give fans a look at the type of player Rangers have signed and I think he’ll be the key man in the league opener. So Sam Lammers is my first member of the Rangers front three.
Read more of my thoughts on Sam Lammers here.
So, who takes the striker positions? First up, for me, is Cyriel Dessers.
Dessers was a bit behind the rest of the team during preseason having just come back from injury. This meant he didn’t get as many minutes in the friendlies as he maybe would’ve liked.
Another weeks training should mean he’s ready to go on Saturday. What Dessers offers is a focal point. He’s strong in the air and capable of holding off defenders. He’ll be an excellent option for the likes of Cantwell and Lammers to bounce the ball off of.
It might not show in the assist numbers but his link up play is excellent. He’ll be the perfect foil for the midfield runners and will be key in getting others involved. He managed to score 6 Serie A goals last season while playing for the second worst team in the league. Considering it’s a league that has always been famed for being defensive, that is still very good going.
He’s comfortable finishing on either foot and he’ll get plenty of chances created for him in this team. He excelled for Feyenord, specifically in Europe, and Michael Beale will be hoping he hits that type of form again for Rangers. He’s a different option to anyone that Rangers had last season. He has the height of Colak, combined with similar physical attributes of Morelos. Let’s hope he has the scoring record of the former also!
The last player in the Rangers front three, for me, should be Danilo.
The 24-year-old Brazilian had been playing and training with Feyenord before joining Rangers and getting 30 minutes against Hoffenheim. In that short display, he showed some glimpses of real quality. He plucked a ball perfectly out of the air before taking an even better second touch right into his stride before playing it wide to create a chance for Matondo.
At his official unveiling, he was asked what he would bring to the side. He promised two things, energy and goals. Watching him play, he loves to pressurise defenders and will do everything he can to close down their space and force them into a mistake. He scored multiple goals in The Netherlands by forcing the last defender and goalkeepers into mistakes. He’s going to be an absolute nuisance for opposition defences.
Last season he averaged these states Per90;
- 3 Recoveries (68% in opponents half)
- 2.13 Interceptions
- 6.64 Offensive Duels
He’ll get in the face of defenders and make them make mistakes, I can’t wait to see it! In terms of his finishing ability, he scored 14 goals from an xG of 14.57, so pretty much bang on what he should have scored. He’s a penalty box striker, the proper poacher the club have been after for years. He averaged 4.62 touches in the penalty area Per90 last season but I can see that number skyrocketing for Rangers, especially since he’ll play more minutes.
He did get 4 assists from an xA of 2.2 and he does link well with the midfield and other forwards but don’t expect any crazy, mazy runs from him. Danilo only averaged 0.56 progressive runs Per90 and had 36.7% dribble success on 1.97 attempts. He links well through short sharp passes and is always on the move.
When not floating around the penalty area, he has enough pace to be able to break beyond the last line of defence. With his favoured run being in between the centre back and full back, with players like Lammers, Cantwell and Raskin behind him, he’ll get a lot of chances through these types of runs.
A high pressing, quality finisher is exactly what this front line needed to round it off and that’s why I’ve went for Danilo. That’s my Rangers front three, do you agree or disagree?
Abdallah Sima looked decent in spells in the friendlies. He provides a completely different option with his height, pace and power. I think he’ll be an excellent option from the bench, especially as defences tire.
I’m unsure on the fitness levels of Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence. Roofe, if fit, is a quality option for one of the striker positions. He’s technically excellent, a great finisher and very intelligent on and off the ball. Lawrence could be an option for the number 10 spot, he impressed at the beginning of last season but did only manage a handful of appearances.
Rabbi Matondo didn’t have a great preseason but he’s another pacey option from the bench, I don’t see him being anywhere near the starting eleven. I don’t think Fashion Sakala will be involved with rumours of an exit looming.
I’m very happy with that Rangers front three to start off the season. Lammers has looked excellent in the friendlies and two goalscoring strikers have been added to the mix. Add to that the pace of Sima off of the bench and Rangers forward line has been completely rejuvenated.
How confident are you going into the season with these forward options? Do you think they’re enough? Who would your Rangers front three be for tomorrow?