Rangers travel away from Ibrox tonight as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men face the exciting prospect of competing in a European quarter-final in Portugal.
The Gers have battled their way through to the last eight and now come up against Braga as they look to make it through to the semi-finals, with the second leg coming at Ibrox next week.
Rangers head into the game off the back of a gutting 2-1 defeat to Celtic in the Old Firm clash in the Premiership on Sunday.
How many changes will he make to his side from that game?
We are predicting that he will make three alterations to his team, with Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala coming in.
Rangers played a 4-2-3-1 against the Hoops and the head coach may look to switch back to a 4-3-3 to offer more balance between defence and attack. Whilst they will want to go and beat Braga on their own ground, taking a draw or a narrow win back to a bouncing Ibrox would be ideal – instead of going all-out and risking a heavy defeat.
This change requires a midfield three instead of two sixes and a 10. We are predicting that Glen Kamara will come in to play alongside John Lundstram and Ryan Jack, leaving Joe Aribo on the bench.
The Finland international has started seven matches in the Europa League this season and completed an impressive 87% of his attempted passes, whilst creating 0.8 chances per game. His ability to dictate the play in the middle of the park can help the Gers to control the game, which is why he may be named in the XI.
In what we are predicting to be the most surprising change of the night, Arfield could come in for Aaron Ramsey on the right.
This may sound like a wild suggestion after two goals in two Premiership matches, but he is still managing an injury concern and they cannot risk overworking him. He only played one game over the international break as Wales boss Rob Page admitted that he was carrying a knock, which suggests that he is not ready to play three games a week.
Ross Wilson dubbed the gem as an “inspiration” in January and he can provide a lift off the bench if needed. This will manage his minutes and ensure that he can play against St Mirren on Sunday and then in the second leg against Braga next week, with the experienced Arfield able to put a shift in for this match.
Ex-Gers fullback Alan Hutton previously lavished the attacker with praise, saying: “He’s like a firework, isn’t he? You just light him and watch him go. He’s one of these players who plays at 100 miles per hour, he takes players on, he’s aggressive, he can get shots off.”
FFC published an article explaining why van Bronckhorst must start the Zambian through the middle. His pace in behind can be crucial to Gers on the counter-attack and offer them an electric threat on the break with him and Ryan Kent in the front three.