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Discussion Starter #1
Everyone has now played each other twice so it's back where we started. The title race is still tight with only 3 points seperating us with Celtic. This match will be one of our toughest travels outside of Celtic Park. Easter Road, Fir Park and Tynecastle are no easy places to go now either and are probably on a par with our visit to Pittodrie.

Over the years they've always given us a tough game. This season though it started difficult but got better. Despite seven goals with no reply in the last 2 meetings a tough game is still expected. In fact in 3 meetings this season Aberdeen have yet to score against us but that has been the overall story of their season.

What we mustn't do is draw. Draws have been our problem this season and the reason we are trailing in the title chase rather than leading it. We've only lost one league game all season and that was the 1-0 defeat are Celtic Park- this is in comparison to Celtic's two defeats at the same ground against Aberdeen and at Ibrox. They had ground out some results where we have not. Our 5 draws to their two (Dundee and Hibs) says it all. Draws away to Hearts and Aberdeen could be forgiven as they were earlier in the season before the team had gelled. The two draws to Dundee United can not be and in particular the 1-1 draw at home which we threw away. The Inverness was our second draw at Pittodrie this season so we don't want to make it 3 out of 3 on that count.

The Dons after a great start to the season have been stuttering since their visit to Ibrox at the end of October. It's hard to believe that on that day they were looking for a win that would take them above us- it all turned out very differently. Here are their last 5 results in the league:

  • 0-1 Celtic (Home)
  • 0-0 Motherwell (Away)
  • 0-0 Inverness (Home)
  • 0-1 Dundee (Away)
  • 1-2 Hibs (Away)
Scoring goals is obviously their problem since they haven't scored since that defeat to Hibs in the second week of December 2004. They also haven't won in their last 5 but in their favour they do not give away many goals either. Like day one of the season they have 0-0 written all over them but hopefully that will not be the case. In fact Rangers, in the CIS Cup, and Kilmarnock are the only teams this season to score more than a goal against them on their own patch this season. Their early success was built on a strong defensive unit that in the first 7 games of the season lost only a single goal and even that was a penalty. I'm hoping with Diamond and Anderson (plus McGuire if they play a central three like they did against Celtic) back playing together they are not returning to that form.

The teams have met 3 times already this season. We've had the upperhand and as I stated before they have yet to score against us.

SPL, matchday one (7th Aug 2004)
Aberdeen 0(0)-(0)0 Rangers

CIS Cup (22nd Sep 2004)
Aberdeen 0(0)-(1)2 Rangers
Ricksen 45, Thompson 89

SPL, matchday twelve (31st Oct 2004)
Rangers 5(1)-(0)0 Aberdeen
Thompson 39, Lovenkrands 68, Novo 75, Ricksen 88, Novo 90

I won't make a judgement on how I think the team while line-up till we see what happens on the transfer front over the next few days. I do believe McLeish will use that 4-3-1-2 formation though. With Novo back I'd assume he'll partner Prso up front relegating Thompson to the bench (who has scored in the last two games against Aberdeen). Buffel will no doubt start behind him. Klos, Andrews and Ricksen will be definite starters regardless of what happens.

I think we'll win this one but it will definitely not be easy. I predict a narrow win.
 

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A good well-thought out post.

Expecting Aberdeen to make things as tough for you lot as they did in the season opener, and hoping for a similar result too, if not better. Their goalscoring record is poor though and Rangers seem to struggle away from home so it'll be a tight one.
 

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King_Henrik said:
A good well-thought out post.
The 1st or the 2nd one? ;)

It's vital that we start this game with 100% commitment. This always seems obvious to the fans, but not to the players. Aberdeen will get stuck in from the first whistle, and if we fail to match them we'll likely get punished (again). Surely the manager will stress this to the team before the match, especially the new guys?

With Aberdeen's scoring problems, two should be enough for us to secure the win (famous last words?). For a change McLeish has plenty of options up front, so it'll be interesting to see who he goes with. I'd say it's looking like a game too soon for Kyrgiakos to make his debut, which'll probably mean Malcolm and Andrews at the back again. Taking this into account, it might be a good strategy to play as attacking a team as possible, i.e. play to our strengths for a change.

This is the sort of game that's a must-win where winning the championship is concerned. Celtic have done it in recent weeks, it's now down to us to show our credentials. If we start the game with the correct attitude I think we should win comfortably.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If Djordjic starts he'll have to be careful. He looks like he could get involved and the last thing we need is 10 men up in Aberdeen. Mind you I'd prefer that to pansy potter Pete who would just hide up there.

Buffel and Novo will no doubt take some sore ones too. If we can get an early goal then that could take the wind out of their sales. The longer it goes without us leading the game the more they will dig in.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Marco Negri said:
Kyrgiakos has flown back to Greece to sort out personal stuff (whatever that means) so he almost certainly won't play against Aberdeen.
Also, if we do get Bazza then he won't be playing either. So here is my prediction for the Eck line-up. We were all wrong last week, maybe better luck this week:

Code:
                        Klos

Hutton          Zurab         Andrews          Vignal

        Ricksen         A.Rae           Djordjic

                       Buffel

                Novo             Prso
I think he'll go with his strongest line-up as he sees it unlike last weekend where the fixture allowed him to rest some players. The formation would be the right one in my opinion if they line up as they did against Celtic with a back 3 of Anderson, Diamond and McGuire. Ricksen/Hutton and Djordjic/Vignal would then be able to link up down the wide area to stretch their back 3.

Also, if Calderwoon changes to a 3-4-3 as he did last week when it was not happening for him we could change back to a 4-4-2 with Ricksen ans Rae in the middle, Djordic wide left and either Novo or Buffel going wide right. Maybe McLeish is on to something here :)
 

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Thank f*ck that's over! Talk about winning ugly. Final score 2-1, with Prso opening the scoring in 9 minutes, a McNaughton o.g. in 15 minutes, and Mackie pulling a goal back for Aberdeen in 19 minutes. Realistically it could have went either way, but we never get easy games at Pittodrie.

chivo's line-up was correct with the exception of Malcolm continuing in the centre of defence alongside big Marv, and Ross retaining his place at the expense of Hutton. Djordjic was stretchered off midway through the second half, with Thompson replacing him. Buffel also made way for Hughes with 20 minutes remaining. Thought that was a strange substitution, although Buffel had faded out of the game. Namouchi came on for Prso (who had a great game) and missed a gilt-edged chance to wrap the points up with a couple of minutes to go.

The defence looked really shaky, especially in the first half. Andrews limitations were again exposed, but his aerial prowess is still incredible. I'm really hoping Kyrgiakos will make a noticeable difference to our backline. Not a lot to be said about the midfield, because there wasn't a lot of football played in that area of the pitch. From what I saw, Ricksen was his usual self and I noticed a few tasty tackles from Alex Rae. Djordjic impressed me so I hope his injury isn't too serious. It was tough for Novo to make an impact because the ball was always going from back to front. Buffel didn't do a lot.

All in all, we should be delighted to get this game out of the way. We're still right there in the title race, and it's not over by a long shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good 3 points there, as you pointed out the defence was a shamble. I'd point more at Malcolm that Andrews though. Andrews doesn't hide whereas whoever partners him now seem non-existent.

We still have the best defensive record in the league but since Boumsong has gone we are the same as last year leaking at least a goal a game. Aberdeen hadn't scored in over 400+ minutes and could have scored a few today which says alot about how our defence has changed in this month.

It was always going to be difficult but we've come away with the points. Prso was fantastic and is really becoming an unsung hero. On Saturday night we'll be back at the top of the league so it's all going well.
 
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