This game will shape the final SPFL league positions in May, Rangers look to reduce the gap between them and Celtic but they have a more than capable Aberdeen side ready to replace them in second place.
Aberdeen v Rangers
Wednesday 6th February
The home side go into this league tie having not lost in six matches in all competitions, winning four games and drawing the other two. However, a cause for concern for Dons boss Derek McInnes would be his side’s home form. They are without a win in three consecutive games at Pittodrie, with their last win on home soil coming in December. The poor home form has been something of an anomaly of late, as Aberdeen have shown no qualms with playing at home or away over in the league campaign overall. They have seven wins, three draws and two losses at home, the exact same record as they have playing away from home.
Although they have dropped points in recent home games, getting goals has not been a problem for McInnes’ men. In the last six games, Aberdeen have averaged two goals per game (2.33) having scored fourteen goals over all competitions. However in home league games, the goals average drops to 1.92 goals per game. A key issue for Aberdeen is the side’s habit of leaking goals, as they have conceded a goal per game (1.08). This leads to the main reason why Aberdeen have been drawing games recently, the Dons have only managed two clean sheets in their last six home matches.
The main provider for goals this season has been Sam Cosgrove. The young English striker leads the scoring charts for Aberdeen and is second in the league charts for goals behind Alfredo Morelos. Given Cosgrove’s height of 6”3 you’d be forgiven for expecting the goals to be predominantly scored with his head. However, he has only scored four with his head and five with the ball at his feet. Cosgrove will need to keep his cool in this one against Rangers, as the striker saw red for two bookable offences at Ibrox earlier in the season.
Although they picked up a 3-0 away win against Livingston in their last away game, away form shows the Ibrox side haven’t enjoyed their time on the road this season. In the last five matches, Rangers have only won twice, drawing twice and losing once. Away games have been a problem for Gerrard’s men this season, as the mixed bag of away results displays. In last year’s domestic campaign they lost only three times all season, whereas this season they have already lost three with the rest of the season still to be played. Rangers’ habit of drawing games shows a reason for concern as they have dropped eight points from four away draws this season.
Similarly to Aberdeen, Rangers have shown that despite averaging a goal per game this season (1.58), on average they have conceded as many goals (1.00) which has led them to drawing so many games while away from home. A reason for drawing so many games is the number of defensive combinations Gerrard has experimented with this season. Since the Hibernian game in December, there have been seven different defences lining up for Rangers. With Goldson injured for the game against Aberdeen, Katic, Worrall and McAuley will likely replace him but it is unclear as to who will partner Goldson’s replacement.
Rangers games seem to get going right from the first whistle as there has been a goal scored in 75% of Rangers’ first halves when playing away, this stat continues in Rangers’ home form as there has been a goal in the first half in every one of their home games. Rangers have been winning or drawing at half time in 42% of their away matches.
There are no fresh injury concerns for either side going into the clash at Pittodrie on Wednesday. Aberdeen will be without Frank Ross and Michael Devlin through long term injury.
Rangers won’t have Goldson or Grezda for this one, however the away side have been without these two for all of their games in 2019.
Given that at home, on average, Aberdeen concede as many as they score and likewise Rangers possess a similar rate of conceding goals to scoring goals, both teams to score markets possess a lot of value in this game. The bookies have priced both teams to score at 4/5 odds. Since Rangers score more of their goals in the first halves than in the 2nd halves of games and Aberdeen average a goal per first half in their home matches, a bet of both teams to score in the first half, although more risky, would provide better odds at 7/2.
Rangers go into this as favourites, according to the bookies, with the Ibrox side given odds of 4/5 to win the match, compared to Aberdeen’s 3/1 odds to win the match. I believe that goals would provide more chance of success for this game as Rangers’ away form does not point to a win being the most likely of outcomes, as the bookies would suggest. You can get prices of 19/20 for over 2.5 goals to be scored in the game.
A market which holds a lot of relevance for this clash is the card markets. Aberdeen v Rangers matches have proven to be a feisty affairs this season with an average of over 80 booking points being picked up over the three matches that have been played. You can get a price of 5/4 for there to be over seventy bookings in the match, for over eighty points bookies will give you a price of 2/1.
Both Teams to Score in the first half (7/2)
70+ Booking Points (5/4)