Glasgow Rangers have been involved in some of the most entertaining games in the Europa League so far but Steven Gerrard’s side are still unbeaten in all competitions this season, writing their names in the history books every single step of the way.
In fact, Rangers have scored at least one goal in each of their three games in the Europa League so far this season, which just goes to show how utterly dominant they have been on the front foot.
However, the Gers were punished for their defensive errors as they squandered a two-goal lead against Benfica at the beginning of the month, and these fine margins could prove to be the difference if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.
It’s hard to pick holes in Gerrard’s side but if there’s one area they need to tighten up before tonight’s game, it’s a tendency to neglect their defence, as they cannot afford to make the same mistake again against the Portuguese giants, and it seems they could have an ace up their sleeve in the shape of Calvin Bassey.
Former Rangers defender Alan Hutton has spoken admirably about the 20-year-old in the past, as he believes the colossus could become an even better left-back than his teammate Borna Barisic at Ibrox.
Bassey, who joined the Gers in the summer, has been electric every time he has come off the bench this season, as he is averaging 3 tackles, 2 clearances and one key pass per game in the Europa League, via WhoScored, which is exactly what you want to see from an impact substitute from the bench.
By comparison, the 28-year-old has mustered just one clearance and only slightly more than one tackle per game in the European competition, as per WhoScored.
It’s unlikely Bassey will be able to provide the same amount of assists as Barisic, as the Croatia international has created three assists so far this season, but his ability to track back and block shots could give the Gers a decisive edge in a game which could go right down the wire, as his former coach at Leicester City Steve Beaglehole said “even by Premier League standards, he is very, very quick.”
Jorge Jesus showed he can neutralise their attacking threat by fighting fire with fire but Bassey did a great job of keeping Standard Liege at bay in the Europa League last month, winning five of his seven duels and completing two tackles. He could be the perfect super-sub for Gerrard tonight, following in the footsteps of Kyle Lafferty in 2018.