Rangers followed up their late comeback against Hearts at the weekend with a rampant 5-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park. Despite the team bus being late to the ground and then a further stoppage due to a fire alarm going off inside Dens, it turned out to be a great evening for Philippe Clement’s side.
Ryan Jack gave the Gers the lead within five minutes. And then in the second half Danilo, finally grabbed the goal his play deserved, firing low past Trevor Carson. A third came courtesy of a Sam Lammers howitzer from distance and the fourth was added by Cyriel Dessers as he raced onto Lammers’ through-ball and fired his shot past Carson.
Then the fifth came courtesy of a VAR check when Lyall Cameron stood on James Tavernier inside the box. The skipper picked up where he left off on Sunday and fired the ball home for a comprehensive away victory.
The starting line-up brought with it a few interesting choices. Leon Balogun came in for Ben Davies at left centre-back while Danilo came in to replace Dessers in attack and, probably the most surprising change of all was Scott Wright coming in for Todd Cantwell, who like Dessers dropped to the bench.
It was a great night for the team, but it’s nice to look at why the team won and not just the goals. I will have a look at the tactical side of the 90 minutes and look at some tactical patterns from Clement’s side which ensured they left Dundee with all three points.
Breaking the lines – goals were the outcome
The first thing Rangers done from a tactical point of view was break the lines and beat the low block Dundee had unsurprisingly employed on the night.
The first example leads to the opening goal five minutes in. Balogun travels with the ball, taking McCowan the other way. Sima has the right-back so wide opening the space for Balogun to carry it and then you have Danilo’s smart run down the side of the centre-back and shot, which is spilled.
However, you have to take a look at Jack and Lammers almost in the centre of the goal creating an overload to follow-up Carson’s error.
The second example came from what was an outstanding team goal. John Lundstram broke the Dundee block this time; he was able to drive at the heart of them; Danilo peeled off for the bounce pass, but Sam Lammers, who was facing forwards as soon as Lundstram got the ball was able to pick up the pass from Danilo and then unleash a wonderful shot beyond Carson.
However, these two goals are an example of something the two sitters haven’t done often enough. For the first, getting into the box, and the second driving positive play from deep.
Dynamic wing play created chances – from both sides of the pitch
Another key tactical ploy from Clement was how he used the wide combinations. There was none of this 300 hopeful crosses into the box and hoping one falls by chance.
Two examples of how mixing up the wing play helped with chance creation.
The first example comes from Ridvan and his favoured method of getting to the by-line and cutting back for Sima. The Senegalese forward should score but shoots wide. However, again, the number of men in the box waiting for the cut-back was pleasing from a Rangers point of view, and it meant Dundee could not get too comfortable in a defensive shape.
The second example involves both wide players, and Danilo getting his goal. It came initially from Scott Wright’s willingness to take people on, and Sima coming in off the line into the no.10 position; it proved to be movement Dundee’s defence couldn’t cope with. You can see how far Cammy Kerr – Dundee’s number 2 – is so far off Sima as he came inside to utilise the space.
A look at the stats
Rangers were utter dominant when it came to the stats.
5.40 expected goals in comparison to Dundee 0.76
32 shots with 11 on target for Rangers with 9 and 4 for Dundee
10 big chances with four being missed for Rangers and one each for the hosts.
Possession was 68% to 32% in Rangers’ favour.
In terms of individuals Ridvan and Danilo both created four chances each.
Danilo had the most touches in the opposition box with 9.
Connor Goldson won 100% of both his ariel duels (4) and ground duels (5) along with 8 defensive actions and 8 ball recoveries.
John Lundstram made 10 recoveries, made three chances and provided 8 passes into the final third.
It was a perfect night for Rangers. They were outstanding and wiped out Celtic’s goal difference. But for the manager he will have seen plenty of positive patterns of play and signs to take forward.