Gerrard to make 1 important change – Strongest 4-1-4-1 Rangers XI to face Villarreal

Predicted Rangers line-up to face Villarreal in the Europa League

Rangers travel to Spain to play their opening Europa League Group G clash against Villarreal on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard’s men fought through a gruelling four qualification rounds to reach the Europa League group stage. And the Gers’ 4-0 hammering of Dundee this past weekend would have given Gerrard’s side the perfect tonic before the important clash at Villarreal.

Villarreal, meanwhile, picked up a much-needed morale booster as they beat Leganes 1-0 to record their first league win of the La Liga season.

Team News

Rangers have been hit with a significant blow for Thursday’s UEL curtain-raiser. Ryan Jack will miss the game after picking up a calf injury, while new boy Gareth McAuley is also unavailable for the clash.

Ovie Ejaria missed the win over Dundee and remains a doubt. Gerrard will also be without the services of Alfredo Morelos and Jon Flanagan after UEFA upheld their suspensions.

Graham Dorrans is not yet fully fit and Jordan Rossiter has been left out of the Europa League squad. Jamie Murphy is ruled out for the season with cruciate ligament damage.

Probable Rangers XI

Formation: 4-1-4-1

Manager: Steven Gerrard

Allan McGregor (GK)

McGregor kept a clean sheet against Dundee and will be confident of keeping another when his team faces Villarreal on Thursday.

James Tavernier (RB)

Tavernier could be in for a busy night against Villarreal’s quick attackers. He has to be at his best if Rangers are to take anything out of this game.

Connor Goldson

Connor Goldson (CB)

Goldson has been rock solid in defence for the Gers and will once again look to keep things tight at the back. He is a definite starter for this game.

Nikola Katic (CB)

Partnering Goldson at the heart of the defence should be Katic, who is proving to be Gerrard’s best signing.

Borna Barisic (LB)

Having been cup-tied for Rangers’ qualifying rounds, Barisic is now back for selection. He is a powerful left-back who loves to be on the front foot and attack the opposition.

Andy Halliday (CDM)

Halliday was fantastic in Rangers’ big win over Dundee at the weekend and is expected to retain his place against Villarreal. He is a leader and an intelligent player who can keep things ticking for his side.

Lassana Coulibaly (RCM)

Back from injury last weekend, Coulibaly played a key role in Rangers’ victory over Dundee. No one else in the squad offers the kind of physicality and combative approach as much as Coulibaly does.

Scott Arfield (LCM)

Having good ball control in the midfield is essential against Villarreal and therefore, Arfield would be such an important player for Rangers.

Daniel Candeias (RW)

With his pace and unpredictability, Candeias could be a threat to the Villarreal defenders on Thursday.

Ryan Kent (LW)

Kent scored his first Rangers goal this weekend and the youngster would be confident of replicating his performance against a strong Spanish side.

Read more: Why the return of this 22-year-old Rangers star from injury is a timely boost for Gerrard

Kyle Lafferty (ST)

Playing direct football on Thursday could cause problems for Villarreal and that begs for the inclusion of Lafferty. With Morelos suspended, the big Lafferty should lead the Rangers attack.

Written by Rohan Sengupta

Hi, I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.
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