Royal Antwerp have been dealt a major blow ahead of their visit to Rangers as Dieumerci Mbokani has suffered another injury issue.

Their top striker missed the first leg last week before returning at the weekend, but picked up a calf injury and will now be unavailable for Thursday’s match.

Didier Lamkel Ze will return from suspension for the Belgian side, however, so they have more attacking options at their disposal compared to last week.

Mbokani is Antwerp’s second-highest scorer this season with eight, so his absence well be a definite advantage for Rangers.


Defensive approach

Rangers were uncharacteristic in their display last week – we have rarely conceded three goals in a match this season.

Steven Gerrard voiced his concern at our defensive vulnerability, referencing the fact we have not looked so weak at the back since the 3-3 draw with Benfica.

It will be something he has likely addressed in training this week.

Fortunately, there is not too much to improve on.

Antwerp scored through a dodgy penalty, a set-piece and a brilliant individual strike in Belgium last week.

We can certainly avoid conceding via the first two methods, and the best way to do that is to prevent them getting close to our penalty area.

Scott Arfield and Steven Davis have important roles to play, but their task is undoubtedly made simpler by the absence of Mbokani.

Last week the pair made a combined ten tackles and five interceptions (SofaScore) but we still conceded three because the game was far too open.

It was real end-to-end stuff at times so we need our midfield to control the tempo on Thursday – Davis is key to that.

We have four away goals and will surely grab some more at Ibrox, so if we improve defensively we will probably progress.

In other Rangers news, ‘Sensational’, ‘Good news’ – These Bears thrilled by latest official SPFL update.


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