Rangers face Dundee on Saturday looking to get back to winning ways after 3 disappointing results. Now sitting 3rd in the league, the need for three points for the Ibrox side is huge. Dundee will come into the match looking to get a similar result to midweek when they drew 0-0 with Celtic.
DUNDEE LEAGUE FORM
Dundee are currently 10th in the league on 30 points. They’ve picked up the same amount of points home and away in that total. In terms of goals, they’ve scored 31 and conceded 49. Given their points record, it’s unsurprising that the goals split is also similar home and away. They have 15 goals at home, with 25 conceded. Away from home, it’s 16 and 24 respectively.
LAST 5 LEAGUE RESULTS
Motherwell (home), 1-0 defeat
St Johnstone (home), 4-0 defeat
Aberdeen (away), 1-0 defeat
Hearts (home), 1-1 draw
Celtic (away), 0-0 draw
Despite a heavy defeat to St Johnstone, most games have been low scoring of late. Dundee have made some moves to be harder to break down, and it’s working to some extent. They have only won 2 of their last 10 league matches, though. Simon Murray is the top goalscorer at the club with 8 goals, but only 2 of those have been for Dundee. After him, Leitch-Smith is their highest goalscorer with 6 goals.
At the time of writing, there have been no press conferences to confirm any injuries. In January, they signed Jeremy Malherbe and Genseric Kusunga. On loan, they brought in Simon Murray and Cedwyn Scott. The players who left the club were Scott Allan and Scott Bain, and they sold Jack Hendry. James McPake also left the club as he retired. After the window, they signed Steven Caulker on a free transfer.
TYPICAL APPROACH AND TACTICS
Since the heavy defeat to St Johnstone, Dundee have moved to a 3-5-2 formation. I believe they will start with the same team as they did in midweek, meaning Parish will start in goals. A back three of Caulker, Kusunga and Meekings will see O’Hara and Holt play wide. Kamara, Spence and McGowan in midfield will offer protection defensively, and try to get Deacon and Murray away on counter attacks up front. If they decide to go with a back 4, Kerr and Aurtenetxe are likely to come back into the side.
Dundee look to play a passing, expansive game in the main. They average around 51% possession over the season. In matches away to Aberdeen and Celtic recently, they’ve been happier to play a more defensive style. There’s a strong chance they’ll play that way on Saturday.
STYLE OF PLAY
As mentioned, Dundee are a team who prefer to play a passing game. They play 329 passes per game, the 6th highest in the league. They are the 4th lowest in the league for long passes, and also 4th lowest for passes to the final third. Those stats suggest they’re a team who like to keep possession in deep areas. For overall passes, Kamara is in the top 10 in the league this season. They play the ball short from the goalkeeper as often as possible.
In terms of crosses, they hit around 15 per match. Cammy Kerr plays them more than anyone else in their squad, but hasn’t been playing since the move to a back 3. They have the highest success rate in the league for dribbling success, at around 64% from an average of 13 per match. Players like Deacon, Kamara, Kerr and McGowan have very high success in this aspect of the game.
They have the 3rd highest amount of fouls suffered in the league at 400. In terms of fouls conceded, it’s 413, with Moussa 3rd highest in the league at 61. They conceded a lot of fouls in the game against Celtic, far more than average.
With around 10 shots per match, Dundee are somewhat average in the league. Shots on target average around 36%. Of the players hitting their shots, Murray and El Bakhtaoui are the highest. The latter takes most of his from outside the box, and is 3rd highest in the league for that.
Dundee have faced 2256 defensive duels this season. Their overall success rate is 20.39%, second worst after Partick Thistle. Cammy Kerr has faced most of these and is only 17% successful. Players like Holt and McGowan win over 26%, making them the most effective in the team for this.
Dundee average 54 aerial duels per match, which puts them in the bottom half of the league. They win around 50% of those overall, and despite them being a team who look to keep the ball on the ground, it’s Moussa who is involved in most, with 293 duels.
Losing Jack Hendry has meant that they lost their best defender overall. In goals, Parish replaced Bain and has conceded 26 of their league goals.
With Dundee likely to play a more defensive match, it won’t be easy for Rangers to find space to play in. There’s been no update at the time of writing on the status of Josh Windass after his injury against Motherwell. Graeme Murty did make a point of noting that with McCrorie and Dorrans now available, he has better tactical options than he’s had since the turn of the year. With that in mind, I suspect Rangers will make a change to the shape, with not only this match but future games in mind. Bringing in McCrorie in midfield will allow Dorrans and Docherty to play with more freedom. It may be Windass who is dropped if they keep playing with width, or Candeias if they go with a diamond approach. The latter would seem to play into the hands of a Dundee side who will have most of their players in central positions.
PREDICTED RANGERS STARTING LINE UP
Despite Dundee being harder to break down of late, I believe Rangers will win this game quite well. The team will take a little confidence from their second half against Motherwell. I’m predicting a 3-0 win for Rangers in this game. With what looks like being decent weather, both teams will try to play some good football, and it’ll be a match where the better ability of the Rangers players shines through.
How do you see the game going? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!