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Pedro Caixinha’s usual formation is the ultra-modern 4-2-3-1 and we’ve seen a mixture of that and 4-3-3 since he took over at Rangers back in March.
A look at Rangers’ squad, however, lends at least some credence to the theory that an old fashioned 4-4-2 may benefit the club at times next season. Done right, the 4-4-2 can still be very effective in the modern game. Claudio Ranieri used it in every game of Leicester City’s Premier League winning year and the brilliant Rafa Benitez employed a version of it at Newcastle last season en route to winning the Championship.
To do it, you’d need to have more old fashioned wingers, i.e. a right-footed player willing to stay out wide on the right and vice-versa; not the type who like to cut in. They’d be feeding two strikers from wide positions and of course, with that wide formation, a strong central midfield two will be needed.
As well as retaining Jason Holt and signing Dalcio, Rangers made a midfield statement by signing powerhouses Graham Dorrans from Norwich City and Ryan Jack from Aberdeen. This means they have that solidity which is required and they have it in spades, meaning cover is there for any injuries and suspensions.
Daniel Candeias’ signing means they have that old fashioned right-winger mentioned above, a right-footed player who’d be happy to stay out wide on his side and provide accurate crosses to his striker(s). Rangers probably do need a left-footed winger for the other side in truth, though there are plenty in the squad who can take that position, such as Dodoo, Forrester and Kranjcar.
As for the strikers needed, well, apart from the fact that Kenny Miller continues to impress and stay fit, the club signed Eduardo Herrera and Alfredo Morelos and were already facing questions about how they would all get game time and be kept happy.
Given the personnel Rangers have at their disposal then, a 4-4-2 is very possible and in some ways would be an exciting thought. Rather than relying on fullbacks – Tavernier’s goals having dried up and Wallace getting no younger, the club would go back to asking their wingers to provide the pace and width that gets the crowd on their feet and two strikers getting goals will evoke memories of Hateley and McCoist.
Whatever Caixinha decides to do, Rangers clearly have options this term and more signings could yet be on their way before the window closes in September.