Daniel Candeias and Eros Grezda are becoming quite the rivals this season, but Steven Gerrard must play the former over the latter tonight.
The pair are both vying for the coveted right-wing position in Rangers’ squad this season, and it’s advantage Candeias. Gerrard simply has to go for the Portuguese, who’s now on a rich vein of form.
He looped home a superb goal at St Mirren, whether he meant it or not. His bursts of energy down the right flank are essential to Rangers’ forward play these days, and his passion has made him a fans-favourite.
There will be an argument against it regarding his suspension for Sunday. After picking up a ludicrous red card at St Mirren, Candeias will be suspended for Sunday’s match with Motherwell.
Therefore, in some people’s view, it may be the best choice to start Grezda for continuity. There is an argument for that, but for a one-match suspension it shouldn’t really apply here.
Eros needs to step it up
Added to that is the fact that Grezda has been poor in the few chances he’s had in a Rangers jersey. It’s still extremely early days in his Rangers career, but fans haven’t been overly-impressed with the Albanian.
Starting him against Spartak tonight would have to be considered more of a hopeful punt than an expected one. Grezda hasn’t shown anything to suggest he’ll have enough to be a key man tonight. Candeias, however, has more than earned the chance.
All you have to do is compare the two players’ stats. Candeias has made 25 appearances, notched 10 goals, and provided 19 assists. Not bad for a winger who at times struggled for consistency.
Grezda, however, has made only five appearances and failed to score or assist in any. It’s only early days, but this proves Candeias is the more reliable man at the moment.
Grezda will have his chances this season, but as it stands you have to consider him as unproven. Whilst Candeias may frustrate at times, Rangers are certainly at their best when he’s on the pitch.
It’s not a match where Gerrard will want to make too many risks. The rewards this evening are great. A victory would just about ensure that the Gers have qualified for the last 32. Defeat, and there’ll be a couple of nervous matches awaiting them against Rapid Vienna and Villarreal.
It’s in Gerrard and Rangers’ hands with regards to qualification. Starting Grezda, however, would be risk that most certainly doesn’t need taken.