Following a tumultuous couple of weeks, Rangers are hosting Sparta Prague in a clash for the knockout stages tonight, with both teams tied on four points in Group A in the Europa League.
Steven Gerrard’s departure no doubt took a toll both in the locker room and on the field as Rangers last game saw them being comfortably beaten in the cup by Hibs. However, there is cause for optimism as Giovanni Van Bronckhorst gears up for his first game in charge. Meanwhile, the Czech unit comes following a very unpleasant loss in the domestic championship this weekend, overwhelmed with injuries and as a result, bookies have installed Rangers as the favourite to win at 3/4.
Rangers narrowly lost the reverse fixture 1-0 and were reduced to ten men towards the end of the match. Sadly, the game was marred by allegations of racism against Glen Kamara and that anger only grew in the Rangers’ camp as UEFA failed to impose any sanctions following the incident. Any frustration carrying over from that game will most likely help to fuel the fire tonight and we’re likely to see a number of yellow cards being handed out again.
There is also every reason to believe there will be a number of goals in this game. Rangers’ last 5 matches in all competitions are averaging 4.6 goals and Sparta Prague’s last 5 matches average 3.8 goals per game.
That being said, The Gers, who had twice as many points at this stage of the Europa League last season, need to beat Sparta by at least two goals to book their place in the last 32, while a defeat would see them eliminated from the competition. And although they’ve got home advantage, Van Bronckhorst men have only won two of their last 10 European fixtures, so the Dutchman will be hoping he can have an immediate impact to keep their continental dreams alive.
But there is a glimmer of hope as Rangers have won three of their last five matches where they have been similarly priced whereas their opponents have lost all of their last five matches at similar odds.
Ranger vs Sparta odds:
– Rangers to win and both teams to score: 14/5
– Rangers over 1.5 cards, Sparta over 1.5 cards & both teams combine over 4.5 cards: 1/1