1pt Rangers to win and both teams to score at 9/5 (BetVictor, Betway)
1pt Alfredo Morelos to be shown a card at 6/4 (Bet365)
It’s been a painful wait for glory for Rangers fans, but they finally look set to end their 10 year wait for the Scottish title after a sensational season.
Steven Gerrard has been the catalyst to their success, overseeing a remarkable transformation, with the club now incredibly sitting 18 points clear of their bitter rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
As Celtic have shown in the past, though, dominance in Scotland’s top tier doesn’t ensure success on the continent, and it’s a testament to Rangers’ quality that they’re also excelling in Europe.
The Gers won their Europa League group ahead of Benfica, Standard Liege and Lech Poznan, delivering some exciting performances on their way to the knockout stages.
Rangers’ most recent UEL game against Antwerp certainly didn’t disappoint as a spectacle, either, with Gerrard’s side coming out on the right side of a seven-goal thriller – expected goals: ANT 2.35 - 3.26 RAN.
Their underlying numbers from their European campaign this season, averaging 1.92 expected goals for (xGF) and 1.35 expected goals against (xGA), suggest their high-octane games are by design.
Gerrard clearly places great emphasis on implementing an attacking mentality, and this perfectly suits the fiery, but talented, Alfredo Morelos leading their line.
The signing of Morelos was undoubtedly a masterstroke from Rangers, but it’s hard to deny that he’s become synonymous with disciplinary issues since arriving in Scotland.
Morelos has five yellow cards in the SPL this season, and surprisingly none in the UEL. I’m predicting an occasion of this magnitude could expose his tendency for petulance, and therefore backing MORELOS TO BE SHOWN A CARD at 6/4 seems a sensible play.
Rangers will also be confident of progressing through to the next round after scoring four away goals, but don’t expect them to suddenly adopt a pragmatic approach.
Antwerp will know they simply need to score goals, and they’ve demonstrated the ability to fashion opportunities in the UEL, averaging 1.82 xGF per game this term.
The Belgian club will also be hopeful of breaking Rangers’ lines of defence, as the Scottish champions-elect have conceded 10 goals across 7 UEL games this campaign.
We should be set for another captivating game here between two attacking sides, which is making me side with RANGERS TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE at 9/5. They can continue their good run on Thursday night, enjoying a magical European night under the lights at Ibrox.
Score prediction: Rangers 3-1 Antwerp (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Odds correct at 1500 GMT on 23/02/21
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