Blunt Boro Pay Penalty

YOU’VE got to take your chances. It is no good creating six or eight good opportunities a game with crisp, incisive, flowing football if you don’t take one or two of them – especially if the other lot create just two or three but score them… which is starting to become a very bad habit away from home.
Losing to Sunderland hurts; not just because it is a derby with all the parochial baggage of dented pride now thrown angrily in a heap in the corner where the dog is cowering, but also because they are exactly the kind of limited but industrious mid-table team that the new-look enterprising Boro were supposed to be able to pass their way through, to patiently pick apart with pace and guile, exactly the kind of team they were now supposed to be able to beat and leave burnt out behind us on the road to top half glory. That Boro have failed must be a massive reality check.

It is not a time for knee-jerk reactions or pressing panic buttons, and yes there are mitigating circumstances – a last minute reshuffle after the injury to Mido won’t have helped, the squad is thin and theer are few match-changing option son the bench, you can’t legislate for missed penalties, and Craig Gordon was man of the match – but it is hard to avoid some harsh realities that are stacking up.
Boro have not won an away game in the league in 2008, they repeatedly dominate away games but fail to score gilt-edged chances before wavering mentally and being swamped when the other lot wriggle off the hook and fight back, they persist in leaking costly late goals in games they have failed to close down from a position of comfort, time and again they fail to react quickly enough to opposition substitutions that change the dynamic of the game. There are plenty of positives – the football at times is a delight, there is energy and enterprise and plenty of chances are being created but unless these problems are urgently addressed this team will be condemned to another season of treading water in the depths of the bottom half.
Spot of Bother: Why isn’t Alves taking penalties? Yes, Stewie had done the job since the departure of Yakubu and had done it well but when you sign a £12.7m hitman who had come within a whisker of the European Golden Boot, partly because of his dead-ball prowess, surely you give him the job? I can see the logic of sticking with the man who has the job and for not taking it off him just because he missed one, especially as rattling the bar against Stoke ultimately did not cost the game. But now? Stewie never looked like he was going to score. After his England media mauling his morale seems to have dipped. He needs to concentrate on what he does best and put this distraction aside.
Alves needs goals to boost his confidence and to step up his chase for this year’s goals gong. He certainly thought he was going to take it and picked up the ball and for a second it looked like we may get a rerun of the Bernie Slaven v Gary Parkinson bust-up against Ipswich. He shouldn’t need to tussle for it next time: Stewie should hand the ball over and the Brazilian must show him how it is done.
Full report to follow…

71 thoughts on “Blunt Boro Pay Penalty

  1. Penalties are all about confidence. I was proud to be given the duty for my supermarket executive 11 for the 2007-08 season and slotted my first two but when I missed my first it was totally changed my positive menatal attitude to a negative mental attitude. When I missed my third in row the screams on the field were equalled only by the silence in the office on monday morning. I sincerely hope Stewart’s team mates show more compassion and support as without that performances fall as a direct result of the mental mauling ones mind takes following spot kick failure.

  2. I mentioned above about how we find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot.Same tonight-a totally unnecessary sending off and then two schoolboy errors to rub salt into the wounds.

  3. Well that was a trouncing! Despite ManU playing several reserves, they were much too good for us. We were constantly overrun by a pacy, fluid and extremely slick team. The only time we looked at ease was for 15 mins after Johnno had scored – great goal by the way.
    Then Pog gets his marching orders and its backs to the wall from then to the end. Two horrendous mistakes by Riggott and Wheater allowed United simple chances which for once they put away to finish us off. To be honest, they could and should have scored ten. Anderson and Tevez were outstanding. We learned a really hard lesson tonight – we are simply miles away from challenging near the top of the league on this evidence. Now the hard work starts – Boro looked a side short on confidence (and ability) tonight and after 3 straight defeats, there is much work to do to rebuild it.
    Two plus points:- Brad Jones had a fantastic game for 85 mins, making a number of excellent saves, though he almost committed a howler late on and Hoyte had to head off the line. And Stewy looked good for much of the game, even in midfield after Johnno came on.
    And one question. OK, when Pog goes off, Riggott comes on. But why take Digard off when Shawky had already departed? Digard was just starting to get his game together. This left Boro woefully short in midfield, with only GON of the 4 (Downing, Johnson, Aliadiere) able to win tackles effectively. I would have taken Aliadiere off – he contributed little all night.
    An absolute battering. Time to regroup. We need 3 points against the Baggies to halt the decline.

  4. Man United 3 Middlesbrough 1.
    The half-empty side of me is glad we didn’t have to play their first team. Or, for that matter, the Arsenal Under 19 team.
    The half-full side supposes that means Wheater and Huth are nailed on for the centre-back pairing at the weekend.
    Hope you enjoyed it, AV, and that it looked better from your seat than it looked in my pub.

  5. Well that didnt do much to improve the health and temper. No upside and plenty of downside.
    At least Gate will have a few weeks without the ‘where to play Pogo?’ question. Looked a poor challenge on replays but it always make it look worse when it is slowed down, reckless is possibly the right word. Dont think we will be appealing against that one.
    If Pogo is banned for Saturday we will have a sort of beauty parade in central defence. I guess Huth and Wheats to start.

  6. Well the Utd ‘B’ team proved too good, such is life.
    Frustratingly though yet again two goals conceded in the last ten minutes, it has developed into a major psycological problem.
    Mr. Average – An excellent summing up of what the Boro is.

  7. One thought that flitted through the vacuum between my ears and then departed before I submitted the last post. It will be intriguing to see if the FA want to speak to Pogo about his ‘tackle’ bearing in mind no further action was taken following Taylors challenge on Eduardo last season and Guthries two hacks at Fagan.

  8. Mr Average – your post is a drop of sanity in an ocean of insanity. You are absolutely spot on about our brief but enjoyable periods of glory, and I agree this team looks more likely than most to provide us with another one of those periods, regardless of all the bluster above.

  9. The bottom line is that we lacked urgency as a team in the first half and did not live with United’s attacking football very well in the 90 minutes. Individual errors were costly but the scoreline could easily have been more had Brad Jones not made some excellent stops.
    The positives: Downing looked good in flashes, Hoyte enjoyed a better game for Boro than in some previous outings and Jones was probably our man of the match.
    And the negatives: Alves isn’t playing anything like a £12m striker at the moment. Aliadiere was ineffective again at right-midfield and we’re missing Tuncay’s energy and invention more with each game.

  10. I too cant understand Gates substitutions putting hoyte in the midfield when he is supposed to be a full back.and leaving wheats at full back when he should be in the centre .Walker or the young Dutch lad would have been wiser subs in my Sunderland it was an invite to go on the attack and at Man U it was sheer madness.Please let someone else take the spot kicks, it cant be all that hard to get some one to do it with out blazing it over the bar.or just give me a ring and I’ll do it

  11. If you need a penalty taker give me a ring and please if you need midfield subs do it with another midfielder….no more wishfull thinking

  12. Feel really sorry for Poggy. Yes it was a horrendous tackle but yes it was a tackle based out of the passion and the desire to be the best as opposed to just being a horrendous tackle by a dirty player and I think that really needs to be said to Ferguson.
    As for the rest I think that the team is just too blunder prone in all too many areas. Of course mistakes happen all of the time but it just seems that we all too often make fatal blunders that are always going to cost us dear as opposed to just making usual mistakes that we can recover from.
    GS made a great decision in my opinion in getting in someone new to work on the fitness etc, and so if only he could get someone in to work on the mental / concentration side of tings then I think we would make less of these fatal blunders.
    Giles’s analysis works for me. Downing has always been an in and out performer which is why I think he’s over rated. Great when he’s on form but not on form for long enough given the obvious talent he has. I expected and really thought Alves would be a revelation and he isn’t any where new that and Tuncay’s a big loss when he’s not on the pitch.
    Always loved Johnno and hope he really does get a good run as I think he will only get better and better.
    There is the makings of a decent team but for me the missing link is the manager and his number two who just aren’t yet a strong enough pairing to bring all the elements together and bring out the best in what we’ve got. Slate me all you like for saying it but I just can’t see any other reason for it.
    The next couple of league games are massive for us. So let’s just hope that GS and co can gel everything together quickly so that good games turn into good results and that they start to address some of the age old issues of away form and late conceding so that this blip after a very good start doesn’t decend into yet another year of nervously being dragged in and out of the relegation zone, as sooner or later we will get caught out.

  13. I think Possebon chose the wrong player to play chicken with ! The youtube slowmo of the tackle with Motorheads ‘the ace of spades playing’ shows that the players would of collided heavily at best as they were in a straight line with the ball in between them.
    I am not saying that Possebon has no right to go for the ball as I’m sure he is a quick lad but Pogger clearly gets the ball first – Possebon has no time to jump out of the way and Pogger has no time to avoid Possebon.
    Its unintentional .
    The West Brom match is important now as we need 3 points.Winning ugly would do me- no more late goals please God

  14. Looking at the half full glass scenario Jones was excellent and at least the defence choices for the next few weeks is a little less complex for Gate.
    Big question is in Pogi’s absence who is Captain? Huth? Wheater? Downing? surely not GON? That one question shows the true strength and depth of the squad or not.
    The timing of last nights incident also highlights why maybe Pogi is not the ideal Leader, but there isn’t anyone else. Perhaps with hindsight Luke Young’s sale was not such a good deal after all, but there again if Arsenal can put out a team of Kids and bang 6 past Sheff Utd who knows anymore.
    Feeling very confused and befuddled right now. On paper, good individuals but collectively it isn’t working. Big name syndrome is starting to raise its head again, there are players who are definitely not being selected on merit and who do not not deserve their game.
    You can just see Morrison making the headlines on Saturday night!…………….Typical Boro!

  15. Creative midfielder – I see we’re being linked with Defour from Liege. 20 years old, looks like a good prospect. Anyone know more about him?

  16. Just a note on commentators, why do the Boro seem to get commentators who know very little about the Boro, their history the local area etc every time they play at home or locally, We always appear to get the London background commentators every time. Did any one notice the comment at the Sunderland game when the Commentator said we are having a shirt sleeve day on TYNSIDE. on the subject of local commentators. Adrian Healy and Robbie Mustoe are proving a great team on ESPN on the Italian and Spanish leagues and Adrian Healy is proving to be an excellent link man in the Press pass section for ESPN sports. Does any one have any back ground information on Adrian Healy who is obviously a Teesside local by his comments about the Boro.

  17. AV – the concept of a blog is not as a discussion forum (although I do enjoy the comments), but so that someone who has expertise, such as yourself, can comment on events very quickly after they happen.
    Lately however, there are articles on the Gazette Boro page long before you comment in your blog, and the blog merely becomes yet another article. I would rather see your elaborate musings in the article section, and instead see more timely short comments from you here in the blog.
    PS Are the Boro journos afraid to talk about the double standard at MFC, i.e. saying ” we want competition for places ” and then implementing the usual ” the big names are exempt ” policy that was so reviled when it was used by Sven and McClaren for England. It seems that “local lads” are exempt from taking a stint in the reserves when warranted…
    **AV writes: I partly agree with you about the function of the blog and in an ideal world I would be able to combine both functions, considered pieces and shorter observations, however there are certain on-going technical issues of late that have prevented me having the instant access I would like and there are also the physical limitations of the space-time continuum. I can’t be in two places at once.
    For instance (sob story incoming….) I didn’t finish writing for the Gazette – my primary employment – until 3am after getting back from Old Trafford then had to be in the next morning to write up player interviews and do my normal work. When I got home I had to be a dad and have a life for a while and at some point sleep too. Today I have been working hard at the day job as well then played football. Those demands on time as much as anything has prevented me being able to make any considered response to the Pogo tackle hysteria.
    That doesn’t mean I don’t want the blog to get back to being a rolling service with news and views constantly unfolding because I do. And it will. But it has to fit around other things. I’ll soon get back to spitting out pieces far more frequently then someone else can complain about not having time for subjects to be developed and hint that I am deliberately stifling debate on behalf of MFC.
    As for your PS, are the big names exempt from competition? Really? But for Mido’s injury Alves would have been dumped on the bench at Sunderland and he’s the £12.7m record signing. The main restraint on competition is the thinness of the squad rather than any particular policy. The only one who is really a shoe-in is Downing. You are not suggesting playing in the stiffs and giving, say, Emnes a start there are you?

  18. AV – your reply to Ken’s 6.17pm post:
    No-one should be exempt from a game in the “Stiffs”. It might on occasion benefit a player, even a player who is normally a “shoe-in” for the First XI, for example if that player is out of form, or needs a run-around in a competitive game when coming back after injury.
    An out of form player, free from the pressure of playing in a full league game and before 28,000 (or whatever) can have a good run out. He might hope to have a good game, maybe score a goal or make a couple, and realise that he is still the good footballer he always was. He can regain his confidence.
    Good players do not suddenly become poor ones. Injury, unfitness and lack of confidence can take the edge off performance, though. Playing well for the “Stiffs” can help rehablitate the First Team player in terms of fitness and in restoring the damaged confidence.
    Going down into the reserves can be a positive thing. Restored, our player (even a favoured left-wing son) can the hopefully take the First XI by storm again.
    That is the theory, anyway. It also has the advantage of showing ALL the team that they are expected to maintain a level of performance and that, if they don’t, someone else will be knocking on the Manager’s door for his chance. That is not to say players should be dropped after one poor game, but if there is becoming a trend of diminishing performances, no player should assume he has a divine right to a place in the team. It is, after all, meant to be a TEAM game.
    Over the years, including some in which he was clearly the best left-winger in Europe, Ryan Giggs was often left on the Bench by Alex Ferguson. He was “rested” for games knowing that the Arsenal game (or another high profile game where it was considered vital he should play) was next up, he was sometimes only brought on as a substitute. If it’s good enough for Ryan Giggs……
    I hope you can soon sort out the technical issues you have referred to, but sadly there will always only be 24 hours in a day. Maybe you could give up sleep, or have two hours a night during the football season on the basis you can sleep all the way through June and July?

  19. Well Vic after seeing Emnes on video prior to signing and preseason he looks to be a cracking player and i cannot understand why he hasn’t played much as he can play left ,right or through the middle….another head scratcher bareing in mind we were short just a week ago….

  20. Next two games are pivotal for GS,win both we are top 8, lose or draw then signs of improvement and early season promise evaporates. We are not showing intelligence on the pitch and we suffered from a lack of leadership at Man Utd. We will need both on Saturday to win, but from whom? Silver words from Southgate will not do if we lose, we have to win well and with conviction.
    I am not holding my breath!!

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