Stopping Santi Cazorla the key to Rangers' Europa League hopes
Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Stopping Santi Cazorla the key to Rangers' Europa League hopes

It is all to play for in Europa League Group G, heading into the penultimate set of fixtures. Rangers are still in with a shout of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

However, one would imagine they need to take something from Thursday’s clash with Villarreal. A win at Ibrox, would ensure that they have control of their fate ahead of the trip to Vienna.

To emerge with three points, the Gers must stop Santi Cazorla. The veteran appears to have finally made a full recovery from the nasty achilles injury picked up at Arsenal, that had threatened to end his career.

Cazorla’s Arsenal career was curtailed by a serious injury (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

Now, back home at ‘The Yellow Submarine’, his ability is once more on show. The playmaker has the ability to cut any defence open with his superb passing range and at his best, pops up with important goals.

Back home at Villarreal, the Spaniard appears to be enjoying his football again (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

With the news that the visitors will be without regular midfield starter – Manu Trigueros – Cazorla’s role becomes even more important.

It is crucial that Rangers press him throughout the 90 minutes. If afforded time on the ball, he is the one opposition player who will consistently hurt them.

A two-time European Championship winner with Spain, Cazorla will be out for revenge after the shock 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at the Estadio de la Ceramica. Steven Gerrard’s men must be ready for the challenge.

Santi Cazorla had a glittering international career with Spain. Here, he holds aloft the Euro 2012 trophy alongside Juan Mata (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)