Beat around the Bush
By Adam Boxer IN a period of mass upheaval at Loftus Road, one thing has normally been as reliable one week as it is the next – the defence. Structured by Iain Dowie and maintained by Paulo Sousa, Rangers supporters were forced to watch several shut-outs
By Adam Boxer
IN a period of mass upheaval at Loftus Road, one thing has normally been as reliable one week as it is the next - the defence.
Structured by Iain Dowie and maintained by Paulo Sousa, Rangers supporters were forced to watch several shut-outs due to the defence's effectiveness coupled with the profligacy of the forward line.
What a difference a year makes - while Rangers' attack has been rejuvenated and revolutionised, the defence has been left to fester.
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Conceding from set-pieces is one of the cardinal sins of defending and despite time and planning, Rangers still cannot communicate effectively across the back line.
A far cry from Villa Park last season where the Rangers rearguard reigned supreme in keeping a Premier League attack quiet. Could the disjointed performances be attributed to a lack of consistency?
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Jim Magilton made a change to his back four for the last six consecutive fixtures. Couple this with the statistic that Rangers have had 10 different combinations in the back four this season alone and it makes for grim reading indeed.
Is it a problem with the personnel - namely, Fitz Hall bursting back into the line-up and breaking what was a formidable partnership of Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gorkss? Is Mikele Leigertwood a right full-back? Was Damien Delaney a more integral cog than he was given credit for?
Some have attributed the problems squarely at the door of Radek Cerny, with the muted goalkeeper not communicating with his back line and costing Rangers with a couple of individual errors.
While Cerny received the Golden Glove award in the Championship last season, he didn't appear in the top five goalkeepers in the Actim Index - telling you that saves were at a minimum and the defenders did their jobs - and his - effectively.
This season, much in the same way as Ossie Ardiles and Kevin Keegan's tenure at Newcastle United, defending has taken a back seat as the crowd will their side to get forward and play with flair and attacking prowess.
Questions are being posed, theories are being formulated and ultimately goals are being shipped as the most water-tight defence in the league is leaking goals and sinking fast.