Cup Build Up

Last updated : 15 April 2003 By Firparkcorner

Ronald ignores the cuddle!
While Ronald de Boer was devastating against Dundee United on Sunday, the way to stop him is to prevent him from getting the ball in the first place. As we saw on Boxing Day, if you combine a restricted supply along with physical abuse of his ankles, he has the tendency to become a passenger.

We are obviously going to be outclassed in the midfield but the key to winning the game may well be blocking the creative flow from Barry Ferguson and Mikael Arteta. That pair will definitely be in the midfield and, if Rangers play a 4-3-3 as this writer is guessing, they’ll probably be supported by a ‘water-carrier’ player who can put a bit of stick about. Bert Konterman is the favourite to be assigned bodyguard duty.

Our decision to play either four or five across the middle will clearly be vital. I would guess that if Rangers have a three man central midfield, we want three in there to match them, rather than having four spread out. Leitch is an automatic choice in the kicking stakes and Pearson will certainly return to add some attacking ability. That leaves one from Adams and Lasley to sit out. It’s a tough choice but Adams probably edges it. He has been slightly more consistent this season and can always be relied on for a good shift, even if things don’t go well. And despite Lasley’s wonder goal at Tynecastle, Adams offers marginally more going forward.

However, the prime task of Adams and Leitch is to match up directly against Ferguson and Arteta. Our guys are second best in terms of skill but will the two superstars fancy the battle? Ferguson will be up for it without a doubt but Arteta might be suspect and if this does turn out to be the case, will King Ned be able to carry the burden on his own? Sadly, he might. But if he is forced to carry the load by himself, we will have given ourselves a greater chance of winning.

Come on ye ‘Well!