Glasgow Rangers are back in action for the first time since the international break this afternoon, as Steven Gerrard’s side face Aberdeen FC at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership in a repeat of the opening game of the season.
The Gers hammered Hamilton Academical 8-0 last time out, and will be hoping to build upon their newfound momentum after throwing away a two-goal lead against Benfica in the Europa League at the start of the month.
Gerrard has revealed that he has a fully-fit fit squad to choose from aside from Bongani Zungu, whilst Steven Davis withdrew from the Northern Ireland squad for personal reasons last week. It is currently unclear if he will be able to face the Dons, meaning that Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack are in contention to start.
Here at Football FanCast, we’ve worked on a predicted starting XI, which sees the Rangers manager make four changes to the side that thrashed the Accies.
Jon McLaughlin may be pushing for a place in the starting line-up, having kept a clean sheet against Hamilton, but we’re backing Allan McGregor to resume his rightful place between the sticks as he was trusted with the gloves for the away trip to the Pittodrie Stadium at the start of the season.
The Ibrox boss probably won’t want to make many changes to the back four, with Borna Barisic, Connor Goldson and James Tavernier likely to start, although we expect to see Filip Helander replace Leon Balogun at the back, despite the Nigerian surviving a minor injury scare against Sierra Leone whilst away on international duty.
Today’s game against Aberdeen may have come too soon for Davis but Gerrard still has a plethora of options to pick from in that area of the pitch, as he will be able to select a combination of Arfield, Aribo, Jack and/or Glen Kamara to form his three-man central midfield. Kamara has undergone something of a transformation under Gerrard but was run ragged during his time with the Finnish national team so may be forced to settle for a spot on the bench.
Having impressed his Romania U21 boss Adrian Mutu with his work ethic, Ianis Hagi could also be able in contention with the ever-reliable Ryan Kent on the opposite wing, with the 24-year-old scoring the winner at the Pittodrie Stadium.
As we’ve previously discussed, Jermain Defoe has been in fine form this season, as he has been directly involved in two goals in his past three games in the Premiership, but even he will most likely have to play second fiddle to Gerrard’s first-choice striker Alfredo Morelos once again.