Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

By Jamie Currie
 September 30, 2020

Rangers followed their superb 4-0 victory in the Europa League third qualifying round over Willem II with an equally impressive display in the Scottish Premiership as they beat Motherwell at Fir Park by a 5-1 scoreline.

The comprensive victory for the Light Blues came courtesy of two James Tavernier penalties and and a Jordan Jones strike in the first half. And the other two goals came from Cedric Itten, who grabbed his first two goals for the club. The only blemish on Rangers’ day came as George Edmundson unfortunately for him scored an own goal, meaning Rangers’ clean sheet had gone.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers

During this analysis, I will look at the game from a tactical and statistical viewpoint and shed some light on why Rangers were able to win this fixture so convincingly.

Line-ups

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

Steven Gerrard changed shape and went with a 4-3-3 rather than the 4-2-3-1 he has favoured for the majority of the season. Jordan Jones was a surprise started on the right-hand side as he came in for Ianis Hagi, giving Rangers naturual width on both sides. The other change was Calvin Bassey coming in to replace Borna Barisic who had a little niggle.

Rangers mixing play up in the build-up phase

Rangers were playing out through the thirds in thier build-up play and with Motherwell’s mix of man-orientated and zonal pressing, it allowed Rangers to have most of the posession — 56% to 44%. Furthermore, it allowed Rangers to mix up their build-up play.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

The above example shows how Rangers are building through the areas. Usually, the first pass would go into Kamara,but with him being marked it allows Rangers to use Davis in the left-back position to continue the move as Bassey has gone high on the left. The move comes to nothing but it shows how Rangers were able to adapt to their usual first pass being negated.

Motherwell’s pressing mix made for intresting viewing and it continued in the second period, even though they were three down.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

The above image is of Goldson being pressed; the press isn’t very structured so it allows Goldson the first pass into Kamara, but to keep Motherwell guessing and to get Rangers further up the pitch in a more direct manner, his pass goes wide left out to Calvin Bassey, who is out of picture and beats the Motherwell attempt at the high press, putting them on the back foot so quickly.

Rangers' pressing and shape nullified Motherwell in attack

Rangers are at thier best when the intensity of their pressing is at a high level.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

The first example of this is when they hunt in packs against Allan Campbell; they get enough pressure on the Motherwell midfielder to stop him driving forward centrally, meaning he has to go into a channel where Tony Watt is marked by Goldson then fouled but the free-kick came to nothing for the hosts, if Goldson had allowed Watt to turn O’Hara had ran in behind Kamara so the concession of the free-kick was good play.

Motherwell gave up possession 27 times and 16 of those were turnovers; with the intensity of the Rangers press, there was little surprise with that stat.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

The above image is a great example of how Rangers move to a 4-4-2 out of possession; Gallagher has to go long while being pressed by Kent and Davis, Kamara and Morelos block the short passing lanes and this phase of play causes Motherwell to turn the ball over due to Rangers strong pressing and shape.

The right-hand side is where got their attacking joy

Rangers got their joy down Motherwell’s left with Scott Arfield being instrumental — three key passes and two assists for the rangers no 37.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

The above image from WhoScored shows Rangers of Rangers attacking moves, the majority came from their right-hand side, which was no surprise as Barisic was out, but they still had to turn that 39% of play into chances and goals, which they did.

Both Rangers goals from open play came from Scott Arfield’s clever movement and neat interplay. The image below illustrates how he found space after a one-two with Morelos — taking four Motherwell players our of the game — to send Jones on the inside of Lamie.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

It wasn’t only Jones who profited from Arfield’s cleverness, Cedric Itten did as well.

Arfield linked with Morelos and Tavernier on the right; their runs created the gaps for Arfield, who was left in space because of the aforementioned runners, to find Itten and Itten did the rest, but the combination play was a major tactical ploy from Rangers and paid dividends all afternoon as the image below shows.

Motherwell 1-5 Rangers: Match Analysis

Conclusion

The victory was down to Rangers exploiting Motherwell’s left-hand side and pressing at the right times, and also being clincal in front of goal; it was the most complete away performance in the Scottish Premiership and a real team performance too, but again it illustrates how this Rangers side are evolving tactically on a weekly basis.

Jamie Currie - @jamiecurrie89

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