THE famed footballing idiom ‘make the pitch big when in possession' is not a contemporary concept.

Maximizing the space an opponent must defend is not exclusive to top teams or leagues. It’s a basic idea coached into young players. A fundamental tactic.

Bielsa’s wide forwards, Conte’s wing-backs, Klopp’s full-backs, Guardiola’s ‘true’ wingers. Littered across world football is an appreciation of the cause and effect of width.

“For me, it’s very important to play with the whole width because it makes it more difficult to defend,” Giovanni van Bronckhorst told The Rangers Review last month.

“Especially given the qualities we have in the team, with wingers who are very fast, very good in the one-against-ones. In the right moments, the full-backs can join – that also is one of their strengths. It all has to be synchronized.”

The new manager’s intent to reintroduce width in high areas was noticeable from the first minutes of his reign. He has changed the attacking dynamic, moving away from the traditional front five on view previously at Ibrox in which width was always provided by the full-backs. 

The full-backs can now "join in the right moments", keeping Ryan Kent and Fashion Sakala out wide to maximise "one-v-one" situations is deemed a better use of that space. Yesterday, they were the players who occupied these areas.

READ MORE: Rangers refute ‘battle’ narrative as Giovanni van Bronckhorst overcomes Tynecastle scar tissue

Van Bronckhorst hasn’t been one-dimensional in his first few weeks. Against Dundee, Borna Barisic tucked in to form a back three in build-up while James Tavernier and Fashion Sakala offered width on either side.

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Yesterday Rangers' 4-3-3 set-up featured a front five and a back five. With two No.8s supporting a winger from either flank.

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The game was a perfect image of Van Bronckhorst's earlier comments on attacking with width. Synchronized movement and wide starting positions allowed Rangers’ space-raiders to cause carnage over a four-minute spell.

As soon as the team sheet was tweeted out, expectations grew of a fast, dynamic display. With Sakala from the right and Kent the left, and two willing midfield runners in Joe Aribo and Scott Arfield, the home side could not afford to sit narrowly and crowd central spaces. As either goal showed they had to defend both central and wide areas diligently.

In midweek, Connor Goldson’s long passes were arrowed towards Kent. His team circulated the ball and waited for the defender to choose his moment to spring a pre-coordinated attack. It is explained here in more detail.

With an unshackled Aribo eager to run off the home defence, it was evident early on that Robbie Neilson’s side would struggle to contend with the attacking talents they were facing. Here, Taylor Moore cannot tuck inside to close the gap Aribo darts into, for fear of leaving space out wide.

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It was a warning sign inside the first minute.

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Previously, teams were comfortable allowing Tavernier and Barisic time on the ball. Because although they were great creators, assists often came in the form of crosses. Teams are often willing to trade-off a lack of control out wide in exchange for defending shell-loads of crosses and having greater numbers in central areas.

Van Bronckhorst’s approach doesn't allow such a luxury.

Kent and Sakala's wide positions gave full-backs a choice. Stick tight and risk a gap opening in the defence, or allow us time to receive and risk either beating them one-v-one.

Here, Stephen Kingsley is occupied by Sakala which affords Morelos to make a slightly mistimed run down the side of the defence. The effect of Kingsley's decision is an exploitable gap.

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Moore’s previously cited double-job, to not leave huge gaps next to Souttar or Kent unmarked, was exposed for the first goal. We can see that as Goldson unleashes a diagonal, Moore is moving towards the Englishman instead of marking him and clearing the ball.

READ MORE: Analysing Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers debut: Greater width revitalises Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos

Why? He has been coaxed away by Aribo’s synchronized move to earn his teammate some space. This is why Rangers' manager mentioned the importance of moving in coordination - it gains crucial yards.

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As mentioned, because Moore is not tight on Kent, he risks being beaten in a one-vs-one. The attacker spins and dashes up the line.

Notice Sakala’s width on the opposing side of the field. Kingsley tucks in as Morelos moves off of the back of Craig Halkett, so the left-back is required to leave Sakala. You guessed it, yet again there is an effect to this cause.

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Morelos' impact is thwarted but the Zambian is unmarked, he can take the ball past Cammy Devlin who has to cover and assist the opener.

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Synchronization was the catalyst for Aribo's goal soon after. This time, Moore was warier to the potential of Sakala receiving a ball high up the pitch unchallenged.

Look at his body position as Goldson plays the ball forward. It’s open, like that of Souttar’s next to him, because he has to be ready to shift his body weight right or left. A decision caused by the winger's wide starting position.

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But both defenders’ next action tells us that they were anticipating a switch out wide. Moore turns his body as soon as he sees the direction of the ball, so too does Souttar. They’re now in a footrace with Aribo which the Nigerian wins.

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He slotted past Craig Gordon for the game's final goal.

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In a four-minute spell, enough quality was demonstrated to take three points from Tynecastle. The synchronized wide attacks, organised vertical runs and one-vs-one battles proved the difference.

Teams are being made to defend in a more uncomfortable fashion as Rangers' new manager maximises his attacking charges by unleashing them to play in wide, open spaces.