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14 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
Really feels like it’s a matter of time before Rangers create an opportunity and take it.
At least these guys have figured out a way to watch the game as though inside the stadium:
13 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
Rangers finding it way too easy to progress passes from centre-backs to midfield. Anderson and Hayes (playing wide right) aren’t combining particularly well to press and close down gaps.
10 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
I feel like Aberdeen will play better if they remember they’re allowed to keep the ball.
9 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
Rangers passing around the Aberdeen block like it’s a training game at the moment. Clever first touches, smart forward passes, Aberdeen players already doing that thing where they tell someone else what to do while not doing an awful lot themselves.
Again, Lewis punts the ball forward and gives away possession.
7 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
Aribo bins Considine with a brilliant first touch round the corner, Goldson firing the pass into him from deep and almost kick-starting a dangerous attack.
Rangers comfortable in possession at the moment. Aberdeen sitting deep.
5 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
Rangers have all the ball early on, Aberdeen manage to end the move and Lewis launches the ball forward… to give Rangers back possession.
Barisic overlaps on the left but his cross is too deep for anyone in the box. Aberdeen move forward… and Rangers have it back. Really wasteful in possession so far for McInnes’ players.
2 mins – Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0
It looks like Aberdeen are in a 4-4-1-1 / 4-2-3-1with Bryson partnering Anderson in a high 4-4-2 press out of possession. Morelos has had a few touches of the ball already, tracked by a defender every time he drops.
Rangers get the game started! IT’S BACK!
Here come the players
From the games I’ve watched (a lot) during lockdown, the difference without a crowd is that the games become a little slower, more tactical, and the better technical team tends to win. Aberdeen need a big performance if they are to come away with anything here.
Steven Gerrard pre-match
It’s a game we’re looking forward to, it’ll be a tough game. We’re ready for it, had a positive pre-season and we want to build on.
We’d love to have our fans here but we know they’re behind us and will be watching us back home, which is the right thing to do.
Every team wants to start well. It’s about the three points, we have to focus on today.
Steven Gerrard chatting to Jamie Carragher
At the moment we haven’t received a bid that meets our valuation for any of our players. It’s something we’re used to. Morelos is a fantastic player, you know and I know that you get noise around those types of players. We don’t want to lose any of our top players but if he does go it will be for a big number.
I’ve made it clear we’re looking for options in the attacking areas and something in the engine room. Until we get it finalised and over the line I don’t want to count my chickens.
Scottish football is back!
It’s really here! The last season was cancelled, the fallout was dramatic and ridiculous, but now – at last – we can enjoy the most entertaining football league in the universe.
The opening fixture is always a big one but Aberdeen vs Rangers is a sure-fire hit. The absence of fans will, of course, make a difference, and will likely favour the more technically competent side, giving Steven Gerrard’s side something of an advantage. Aberdeen are desperate to kick on and show that they don’t intend to settle for third place (if they can even reach that with an impressive Motherwell and dangerous looking Hibs in competition) and the result today will tell us a lot. And even if the result doesn’t, the performances by both will show us what we can expect this season.
The teams are in and it’s anyone’s guess as to how Aberdeen are lining up. Could be a 4-3-3, could be a 3-5-2 or 5-4-1.
McInnes can switch systems during the game if he wants to but I think Hayes will be left wing-back, with Hernandez right wing-back.
The Aberdeen manager says it’s great to be back:
I think when the fixtures came out, Rangers gives you that extra motiviation. Not having supporters is a shame but having you guys here means everyone can watch it.
I think there’ll be a bit of edge to it, both sets of players realise the importance of the game. We want to get off to a positive start. For us to have any chance against Rangers we have to do a lot of things right. I expect it to be feisty.
Rangers are in the 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 that Gerrard has stuck with throughout his time at the club and Alfredo Morelos has made it into the first team despite the rumours linking him with a move to Lille.
It’s a massive game for Rangers, as it is for Aberdeen, and so difficult to call. Rangers have the better players throughout the team – only Lewis Ferguson or Joe Lewis would realistically make it into Gerrard’s XI – but this game often throws up some surprises.