Rangers v Spartak Moscow – is this Gerrard's strongest XI?
photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images

Rangers v Spartak Moscow – is this Gerrard's strongest XI?

Rangers will face off against Spartak Moscow on Thursday as Europa League football returns to Ibrox.

The Gers sit top of Group G with 4 points from their first two matches. There’s real optimism around Ibrox that the team can keep this fine European form going. Rangers have managed a record equalling 10 games unbeaten this season.

Alfredo Morelos scored a double against Rapid Vienna as Rangers ran out 3-1 winners. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rangers can win this game

The Russians have one point from two. They were beaten 2-0 by Rapid Vienna in Austria and were narrowly held to a pulsating 3-3 draw at home to Villarreal. Santi Cazorla scored a penalty in the 96th minute of that one after Spartak had scored two goals in the last ten minutes to take the lead.

The Rapid result should act as good omen for Rangers. Spartak Moscow don’t tend to travel well and they were beaten 2-0 by the same side that Rangers despatched three weeks ago. They’ve struggled since losing their talisman Quincy Promes to Sevilla in the Summer.

An now they’ve also just sacked their manager.

If Ibrox is anything like the Rapid Vienna match, the Russians could struggle to cope.

Spartak Moscow have missed Dutchman Quincy Promes and Massimo Carrera has paid the price for a poor season so far. (Photo by Alexander DemianchukTASS via Getty Images)

But this is a team who really need a win to get their European campaign going. They’ve also got players of quality. Cape Verdan Ze Luis got a double against Villarreal. The People’s Team were also in Champions League qualifying, even if they were dumped out by PAOK in the third round of it.

Rangers need to start well and play with the same level of intensity they had in the second half against Rapid. This is a winnable game that’s probably came at the perfect time. But we can take nothing for granted and need to be at our best.

If we can pick up the points we’ll be one step closer to European football at Ibrox after Christmas.

Here’s the XI I think Steven Gerrard will select to do it. There’s three changes from Sunday’s 4-1 win at Hamilton. Worrall, Flanagan and Arfield come in for Katic, Halliday and Rossiter.

4-3-3

GK – MCGREGOR

DR – TAVERNIER

DC – GOLDSON

DC – WORRALL

DL – FLANAGAN

CDM – COULIBALY

CM – ARFIELD

CM – EJARIA

LW – KENT

ST – MORELOS

RW – CANDEIAS

 

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