There are many ways to skin a cat but only one way to win a game of football. Score more goals than the opposition. Watching Rangers v St Johnstone in a behind closed doors friendly added to a string of performances where Rangers have failed to score got me thinking – when a team is creating several clear chances every game are they playing well because of good tactics or is the manager at fault for not picking/buying forwards that can score goals?
Social media is awash within the Rangers supporter’s fraternity of frustration, panic, rage and almost every emotion of the grief reaction because of the lack of goals in both pre-season and the disastrous Europa League “run”. For any football fan, being positive during such a run of results and score-lines is incredibly hard. For example, in two games v St Johnstone at the Rangers Training Centre and two v Progres Niederkorn Rangers have managed one goal. One goal. And if we are being honest, the keeper should’ve saved it because he dived out the way!
So how do we judge a team that isn’t scoring goals. Usually, they are classed as playing poorly, have no form, in a crisis or the Manager has 3 games to turn the club around. Anybody that has played football at any level will tell you that there is nothing more frustrating, nothing, than passing the ball about well, creating 4-5 good chances a game without taking any and losing to an individual error or a 25 yard screamer. Sound familiar?
The common denominator in all the games I have mentioned is that Rangers (obviously results aside) have played well *grabs tin hat*. In every game Rangers created more than enough chances to win by 3-4 goals. Not just half chances but clear, 1v1, 2v1, unmarked in the box, any decent striker scores them 9 times out of 10 chances. But Rangers aren’t scoring them. The chances haven’t all fallen to the same person either with Miller, Waghorn, Krancjar and Jack all being culpable. If we take the second leg v Progres in isolation Niko has a free header from 4 yards – against the bar (with Tavernier also free behind him with an even easier chance). Windass has a free header from 6 yards – against the bar. Miller is on his own at the back post, if he takes a good first touch he has a clear sight of goal from 10 yards but he doesn’t and has to recover. He does, but he hits the bar.
To answer my initial question of who is to blame, well, it’s a bit of both. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If Rangers always pick Waghorn and Miller, Rangers will continue to miss more chances than they score and have crosses landing in good areas with no attackers in the box. If they continue to build the team around Niko, yes he will be majestic in some games but then he will be anonymous the next.
Pedro Caixinha has made signings to this affect. Pena, Dorrans, Herrera, Morelos all signed with one thought in mind. Improve Rangers’ goal scoring form. Some of them haven’t been at the club long, some of them have hardly played but the manager has identified a weakness and feels these players are better than the current incumbants. They couldn’t be any worse anyway. Will Herrera or Morelos get more than Miller’s 11 league goals? If Miller and Waghorn aren’t in the team too then it’s a yes from me. If the signings aren’t good enough why not try Dodoo who got 5 goals from 6 starts or Ryan Hardie who with every season I hope turns into Rangers’ Harry Kane. Given a chance in the league cup or because of injuries and then goes on a scoring spree that makes him undroppable – “Ryan Hardie – he’s one of our own!”.