7th November 2016
Once again Boro have proved that we can compete, battle, scrap and create against the Premierships big guns. Traditionally that has always been the case during my 30 years on Teesside when people write us off, don’t give us an earthly, that is when we as a club are at our most dangerous.
Against Arsenal and Man city its was proved that you write us off at your peril.
Against Arsenal, in my opinion, that was our most impressive team display for a long time. After the initial 15 minutes, we were terrific, we were solid in defence, direct and creative in attack. To be brutally honest we should have won. Traore’s pace was electric and terrified the Gunners rearguard every time he ran at them.
Against Bournemouth, our 2 goals were top drawer. Ramirez showed all his qualities, pace,trickery and composure to score the first. Some say it reminded them of my ex-team mate John Hendrie’s goal against Millwall back in 1990. For me Hendies just shaded it. The second wasn’t bad either, Traore’s pass outside the foot, Negredo’s cushioned header into the path of Stu Downing and he finished it off.
Against Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad we took a pounding for 45 mins, we sat very deep a mixture of poor finishing and Valdes heroics kept us in the game. Our passing and distribution out of defence at times was poor.
In the second half, we came to life and went into attacking mode and had players flooding into City’s box at every opportunity. We got our reward thanks to a De Roon bullet header after a great cross from George Friend. We richly deserve the plaudits for our last three performances. Now we have to address our home form starting with Chelsea. We have to turn the Riverside into a fortress. Average sides this season have come to our patch and mugged us. 3 defeats, 1 draw and 1 win is a poor return no matter how you try to camouflage it. Our home form is what will rubber stamp our Premier league status.
My biggest concern, 11 games in is scoring goals. We have not got one player we can hang our hat on to score goals on a regular basis. Negredo has not scored in his last 9 games, in any other team he would probably be left out but as it stands at the minute he has no competition. Rhodes is being frozen out, Nugent very seldom features and Stuani when he plays is out wide. I’m a Negredo fan for me he is the only player in our squad who has the credentials to play the lone furrow up front.
So there lies a problem and one that needs addressing in January. Negredo is very good at leading the line, he is strong,good at holding the ball up and looking to bring his team-mates into play but he should and could have scored more than 1 goal. He has had chances, for me he works so hard competing against two centre backs chasing lost causes and inaccurate passes that when a chance comes his way he isn’t sharp enough. I watched MOTD on Saturday night they highlighted the poor service to the Spaniard and how he was isolated in the first half. I have witnessed that picture since he arrived.
I’m peeved off and frustrated as an ex-striker and a Boro fan so how must Negredo feel?
Goals and home form will keep us in the Premier so let’s hope we can start by beating the team we relegated back in 1988.