With Manchester United facing Rangers on Wednesday, I posed several questions to members of the dothebouncy.com forum.
Stretford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Wednesday’s game? How are Rangers likely to line up? What formation do you think they will adopt and what team do you expect to be selected? Which players should United keep an eye on? Which United player do you think poses the greatest threat to Rangers?
DougyM: I think it will be a very big ask for Rangers to get something from the game thanks to the injuries suffered in the last couple of weeks, no Bougherra and no Papac could put the kibosh on the 5-4-1 we used to good effect against Man United away from home.
That said I think the formation will be…
Out of those players i think United will have to look out for Naismith and Miller, both have a habit of injecting a little magic into a game, also Weiss on loan from Man City but he is a bit more hit and miss.
The Man United player I fear the most… Berbatov, I do not think Rooney has been a serious threat in domestic or international football for many many months, he has the skill but I think there has been too much trouble in his personal life and he is letting it get to him on the pitch.
ErraPolis: 5-4-1, the same formation used against United previously, but with more focus on attacking – as seen against Bursaspor and Valencia. At Old Trafford the idea was to batten the hatches and escape with a point – at Ibrox, Smith will be ensuring the team add the attacking element whilst frustrating United when they get forward.
Kenny Miller undoubtedly poses the biggest threat. He will be deployed as a lone striker, a role which he is comfortable in. One to mention is Steven Naismith, a winger/forward who has had a blistering SPL campaign this year. He caught the interest of Arsenal before his move to Rangers, so you can appreciate that Wenger saw some talent in him.
United player – Rooney. I fear he needs a cracking game under his belt and tomorrow will be the ideal stage. No Bougherra to stop him this time.
SEA: In recent years the suggestion of Rangers and septic participating in the Premier League has been a continual discussion point. What are your thoughts on this matter?
ErraPolis: We’re Scottish, and should stay Scottish. We shouldn’t sell out our heritage to play in another league. Playing in the Premier League would be excellent yes, but the motivation is purely financial and money has taken enough out of our game as it is.
53andcounting: Would love it to happen – fan bases alone would make them competitve in a few years – and ild imagine they would be competing for europa places from the start – perhaps this is the reason most down south are hardly rolling out the red carpet. But anyone who doesnt think that the old firm in the EPL wouldnt enhance it are to use local slang ‘pure mental’.
geomac1: I personally would love to see us in the EPL as we cannot compete in European terms by playing in Scotland. That said, even if we did join the English leagues, I still think we’d struggle to attract the top, top players as Glasgow doesn’t really have anything to offer them like London and certainly the weather is far worse than even Manchester. I also think it would be the deathknell for professional football in Scotland. Television deals would disappear and the clubs wouldn’t be able to afford to run professionally.
SEA: What are your thoughts on the referee strike this weekend?
ErraPolis: While I do appreciate some referees have made mistakes lately, the witch hunt against them has been appalling and don’t blame them for taking this action when the SFA are doing little to back them while they are being abused verbally and threatened physically.
53andcounting:I don’t blame them. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in – everyone complains about refs – Scotland is no different and no worse.
Problem is we have had a greeting faced wee ginger (you can replace that with Neil Lennon if you like) who as a player was an arrogant venom spitting imbecile who didn’t have a good relationship with refs – now as a manager he seems to think he can say whatever he wants – it seems like he wants a written explanation on any decision that goes against his team. Referees have subsequently had death threats – these guys although hardly penniless don’t get paid anywhere near what most of the players get – and certainly not enough to put up with the above.
Daviec: It’s disgraceful the way refs in Scotland have been abused in recent weeks. The witch-hunt towards Dougie MacDonald was uncalled for. The ref awarded a penalty, consulted his linesman and realized he had made a mistake and didn’t award the penalty. Video evidence has proven that the keeper touched the ball and that’s why it wasn’t a penalty, simple as that. Well it is for any sensible person. Now it seems every decision that goes against Celtic is being questioned. The Celtic chairman even hijacked his own AGM to have a go about refs. Personally it’s a distraction to take the fans thoughts away from the fact their team is struggling. I don’t think the refs have a choice they have to make a stand.
SEA: Which of the new summer signings have you been impressed by and who has disappointed?
geomac1: Jelavic is the top signing by far. He looked a great buy for us before his injury. Weiss is hit and miss, I personally would like to see our own young winger Greg Wylde get more appearances at Weiss’ expense. He’s a good young talent who is a great crosser of the ball. Rather give him game time for us for next season than Weiss for Man City for next season.
Beattie is unfortunate. I have (or had) every faith he’d do us a good turn but he’s been injured and dubious he’ll feature much now.
Foster, got off to a horrendous start nearly costing us a goal with his first touch but dumbfounded everyone by having the game of his life against Valencia after a nervous first ten minutes.
RoryBoii1690: Ricky Foster – not a great first game, made a couple of pretty significant mistakes. Did well against Valencia though missed an absolute sitter; speedy player decent going forward. Looking forward to seeing a bit more of him this season.
Jelavic – great start to the season, prolific. Couple of rather pleasing on the eye, acrobatic efforts/goals notched up. Wish him a speedy recovery!
Beattie – hasn’t had a chance really to show his worth as a goal threat, pitched in with a couple of assists and looked like a decent player permitted he is FIT, not necessarily solely injury free!
Vlad Weiss – speedy little winger, good to watch at times though surrenders quick, sensible, cutting edge football for fancy step overs too often. Certainly beginning to show signs of maturity and contributing a lot more to the team.
SEA: Which of the young Rangers players are worth keeping an eye on?
DougyM: John Fleck was hailed by the media as the Scottish Wayne Rooney, he did not live up to that in his first two seasons thanks to injury and long spells out of the team but he has bags of potential and given a run in the team i think he can do a lot of good if he stops letting the media attention distract him.
RoryBoii1690: There are a few young players with plenty of potential, namely; John Fleck, Gregg Wylde and Andy Little. Whether any of them feature tonight is another matter.
SEA: Favourite Manchester United vs Rangers match?
ErraPolis: The last one, to leave Old Trafford with a point given our lack of funds and gap in quality showed the world that though it may not have been pretty, Walter Smith managed to keep his old pal at bay in the tactical department.
SEA: SEA: Favourite all time Rangers player?
ErraPolis: Brian Laudrup. The guy was a genius on the wing, scored goals, skinned players, scored the goal that won nine in a row, what more could you ask for in a player?
blue-c: Personally, Brian Laudrup was the best player we have signed, with Gazza a close second.
All time player: Ally McCoist
Current player: Kenny Miller
Merseybear: My favourite all time Rangers player Davie Cooper.
SEA: Cheers lads.
If you wish to discuss Saturday’s game with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Stretford End Arising forum.