WILLEM II vs. RANGERS
Koning Willem II Stadion | Thursday 24th September | 20:00 GMT
UK TV: Rangers TV
The next stage of Europa League qualifying does not get any easier for Adrie Koster’s Willem II as Scottish giants Rangers and Stevie Gerrard roll into Tilburg this Thursday night writes Will Burns.
Until this past weekend when they were held to a 2-2 draw away to Hibernian, Rangers have impressed this season domestically. They failed to concede a goal in the Scottish Premiership in seven games in a row which broke a 114-year record. Despite a goal-less draw away to Livingston, Gerrard’s men won each of their seven games prior to this past Sunday contest at Easter Road.
When you look at their opponents until they let a goal in, they played Aberdeen (1-0), St. Mirren (3-0), St. Johnstone (3-0), Livingston (0-0), Kilmarnock (2-0), Hamilton Academicals (2-0) and Dundee United (4-0). In addition, they blasted Gibraltarian side Lincoln Red Imps by a 5-0 scoreline. However, looking at each of those opponents, are they seriously on par with Willem II.
Well, I think not. I have watched a lot of Rangers this year and I see Adrie Koster’s team capable of notching a goal. Against Hibs, the back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and Borna Barisic failed to pick up on Drey Wright on Sunday as he slotted home well inside the area.
For the Tilburgers, the past two games have seen them score nine goals without reply, however against opposition less likely to cause them as much trouble as Rangers could on Thursday night. Last week, Progress Niederkorn saw five sail in as Heracles lost 4-0 and one man on the scoresheet both games were Greek goalgetter Vangelis Pavlidis.
I see the Greek international as being Rangers main worry especially when you see the ease of Christian Doidge rising above Helander at the back post on Sunday for Hibs second goals. Pavlidis has scored a brace in both games this past week and had one ruled offside in the opening game against Heerenveen.
Can Willem II defeat Rangers, I am unsure, but I feel they’ll get a goal and Pavlidis is the man to get it.
Pavlidis has scored four goals in the last two games and Willem II are superior opponents to the usual teams that Rangers run out against. At over 2/1 at Betfair and Paddy Power, I see that as being our best chances for profit in this match.
Vangelis Pavlidis to score (3.10 at Betfair/Paddy Power)
Good luck if you’re betting.