Typical Boro!

“WE must make sure we build on this now” …. “We have done well on our travels, now we must do it at home” …. “If we want to push on and challenge for the top eight these are the games we need to win”…. “There are some very winnable games coming up”….
It was scripted really wasn’t it?


I know it was as cold as a polar bear’s bum but there was no need for Boro to freeze like that. A sloppily and cheaply conceded free-kick (from our possession on the edge of the Bolton box) that was poorly defended was a bullet hole straight through our own size nines then we promptly took aim at the other foot.
Boro have struggled for years to break down teams that come to sit back and defend in numbers. Giving one of them a two goal lead and then trying to do it was a non-starter. There was plenty of possession and crisp passing in the middle third but rarely any cutting edge carving into the box, or getting behind the defence. A string of long shots charged down in the crowded box never had them worried.
Getting a goal back and then gifting them one in return almost immediatesly (and again, from Boro possession at a corner) was a real kick in the teeth but it was no more than we deserved for a wooden, lack-lustre display.
More later, when I’ve defrosted….
Yes, they played a spoiling game but there is no point booing the ref. We knew what they would do if they got ahead (and even if it had stayed 0-0). It is down to Boro to find a plan B. It is not as if we are never going to need it.
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40 thoughts on “Typical Boro!

  1. 2 main points for me, first was the apparent lack of aggresion, spirit and fight from the off was a huge dose of deja vu. Secondly we have to either solve or resolve the Alves problem. A few games off the scene and a spell in the reserves may give him the opportunity to find the net.
    You can’t play at this level with 10 men and there is no room for sentiment even if you did pawn the family silverware to pay for him. With GON, Emnes or Jinky on the right there are options to play Ali up front alongside Tuncay. Ali may not bag 20 goals a season but he will put a shift in at least. That’s assuming that Mido doesn’t recover from his current chronic bout of Vidukaitis anytime soon. Craddock might be worth a recall, somebody has to start scoring and soon.

  2. “Can’t wait for the Bolton game…….” ” slowly but surely we are making progress” Some Boro fans never learn do they! A couple of good results and the unfounded arrogance oozes from them. Gibbo must get rid of Southgate and sell that big egoed waster Downing as soon as he can.

  3. After missing the first twenty minutes due to my alarm failing to go off at 1-30 am Sunday morning I was surprised to see the score 0-2 to Bolton, I then witnessed the Boro take control of the match without posing any threat to the Bolton goal. Are the coach,s blind to the fault that the Boro do not have a player capable of unlocking tight defences that retreat en-mass and get all their players behind the ball, thus blocking out all thrusts down the middle where Boro tried to attack for most of the game. The game cried out for Arca to orchestrate his magic, but alas it was left too late in the game for him to influence the outcome. The obvious attacking method should have been with Downing on the left wing and Johnson on the right wing opening out the game. I am beginning to despair about Alves who does not seem to have the heart for a tough fight against uncompromising opponents. Boro played some pretty football but only because Bolton retreated and gave up the mid field to a Boro team that never looked dangerous enough to score. It is easy playing pretty football in your own half when the opposition allows you so much possession, knowing full well you are going nowhere fast. Where do we go from Here? Beats me.

  4. Two thoughts.
    Firstly it transpires that, including this match, we have lost 8 out of nine matches after international games. Cant see why this is should be so with all our players safely tucked away at Hurworth unless that is the cause.
    Secondly, nearly every home match sees us kicking into life in the second half. Ignoring Stoke becasue I was away and Chelsea because the team was, we have not really taken the game to the opposition until after half time. Odd.
    Finally and unrelated to the causes of Boro malaise. I watched the England team not play rugby, listened to Ali commentate on us not playing football, have a central heating system not central heating, and a water pipe not water piping. If Value Own Brand lager did a weekend………

  5. I’m presently working away in the Middle East but as luck would have it, I am able to watch every game. Whilst I am a Southgate fan, I think that in some of his team selections he accommodates certain players, and tries to keep everyone happy. Of course by doing this he actually makes a lot of people unhappy as this is seen as a sign of weakness! I will try and explain this.
    Unfortunately in my humble opinion since Southgate’s retirement from football we have not had a natural leader within the squad. (Wheater may prove me wrong in the future, but in the meantime lacks the experience)
    Initially we had Boetang who was never a leader of men, and the captaincy totally affected his form on the pitch. So much so that when Southgate finally plucked up courage to drop him, he was already looking for another club to join.
    The same is happening now with Pogga, whilst he can, or looks as if he can motivate men, he is not really one of our best centre backs. He is not as good as Huth, Riggott or Wheater, who he plays at right back to accommodate Poggy in the team. In other words if he was not the Captain he would not make the starting eleven!
    Let’s have it right.If Wheater is getting into the England squad as a centre back, why would you want to play him on the right when we have 2 players that are better in that position, with the ability to go forward and join the attack?
    If Southgates trend continues we will see Wheater no longer getting his game for England and then being open for an approach from a team that will play him in his strongest position.
    Finally why Southgate continues to play Alves in his current form is beyond me? Come on Gareth be strong, you were strong enough to keep Mido on the bench even when he was scoring. Now it’s Alves’s turn to keep the bench warm!
    Come On Boro!

  6. I was very disappointed with the fact that Southgate apparently had no plan B to try to turn the game either at half time or after an hour when we were 2 down.
    Having spent the first half passing in front of a 10 man wall we came out in the second half and approached the game without a change.
    It was crying out for us to have the option of trying to work the channels and turn their defence quickly.Aliadiere may not be a prolific scorer but he can do this effectively and create space for others when up front.
    The old saying is if it aint broke dont fix it. Surely the same applies in reverse – if something is not working you have to try to change it.

  7. Typical Boro, yes, but unbeaten in the five previous was very good. So I’m not not too downbeat with having lost a game.
    I have one main point…
    WAKE UP GARETH !
    I can’t for the life of me understand how Johnson doesn’t get a starting place in this team.
    THE GUYS A PLAY MAKER AND HE MAKES AN IMPACT WHENEVER HE PLAYS.
    Downing ( on form and up for it ) + Johnson = A lot of magic in my book and capable of supplying a moment of magic that will turn / win the game.
    TB

  8. Filled with hope and expectation because of the good run and slowly recovering confidence since my last distraught visit against Chelsea. Would you you know it, the same pitiful apathetic approach to the game as before, talk about groundhog day .
    I want Southgate to do well but he appears to be a slow learner- it was 70 mins before the two worst players on the pitch were subbed, Alves and Taylor, both of whom need a good spell out of the team.Even my untrained coaching eye, could see we needed Johnson on sooner than later and Ali moved to the centre.
    We gifted a poor team 3 points.Can you imagine anyone from the coaching set up, rollocking the players at half time? Some time or point in a match means you need to act decisively, quickly- Southgate’s measured approach to tactical analysis of a game appears unclear, slow and inflexible.

  9. First off I as much as anyone wants us to do well but its time we realised we are NOT a good team. We, for the most part, try hard but i cant name one game where we dominated and looked a class above.
    You have to wonder about some of Southgate’s signings. And where are our so called fantastic kids? Hey, forget about the bs, I can think of Blackburn, W.Brom, W Ham, Stoke and BORO as favourites to go down.
    We have no money and even if we had can you rely on Southgate to sign the ones we need?

  10. Doesn’t take people long to panic does it? If our form for the rest of the season is 5 unbeaten followed by a defeat, I’ll be happy.
    We are 10th! Bring on the Geordies!
    Finally – I have to make a point about some of our fans who yet again let themselves down again yesterday. We seem to embarrass ourselves at every substitution by either booing the decision (Aliadere this time) or cheering the player going off (Taylor, Alves).
    Yes, neither of them had good games, but they gave their all and mindless, moronic booing and ironic cheering gets none of us anywhere.
    And, if rumours are true and one of the players had a go back at some idiots giving him abuse well done to him.
    As soon as things don’t go our way, the Riverside atmosphere gets nasty and negative and it helps no-one except the opposition.
    You’d think we were bottom of the league, not in the top half.

  11. Well , some of Boltons players showed Alves how its done.
    I am sure Aliadiere would have scored more than Alves this season if he was up front with Tuncay.With Mido injured Aliadiere MUST regain his position up front as he is quicker and I cant believe I am gonna say this but he is stronger and totally up for it.
    At the Riverside some teams will come and hold their defensive lines at nil nil and even more so if they go a goal infront. Alves is not showing the guile to hold of a defender and put a shot in. He is not used to the physicality of the prem and is easily dealt with by opposing defenders.
    There are no easy games in the Prem and we cant afford to carry a player, we are giving points to loads of teams beneath us which means we are 5 points off the bottom again.
    Its a shame Riggott got injured as he was immense and a leader too. He got injured by giving his all, I cant see Alves getting injured like that so how long will Southgate play him ? I know he cost a lot of money and we want him to come good but I never thought the Bolton match would suit him!
    If Aliadiere did move back up front with Tuncay [ please God] then we could play Johnson on the right and what a pacy attack we would have!
    The game reminded me of us at home against West Brom.
    I am in the ‘cheeky bid for Wayne Bridge’ camp. I am starting to think we need another striker. I have said this for ages – maybe get someone on loan with something to prove.
    And I have said for ages that Southgate has no plan B. If we cant buy players then a loan move is a must. It is a certainty that Mido and Huths fitness will always be short lived . The pressure on Alves from the signing fee and the crowds expectation not to mention his own pride has the guy bricking it.
    How long will the players be happy for Alves to get off lightly and keep his place in the team? Bench him and put Aliadiere back in or is he gonna catch fire against Newcastle , no, then perhaps next week as he is doing some great things on the training field when the pressure is off
    His goal fest at Heerveeren seems such a long time ago, is it even the same player? Striking coach and psychologist needed urgently……

  12. The signs were there this would happen.
    My gut feeling told me to expect it! (Snow, Xmas round the corner, unbeaten run, Lawrenson tipped us for a home win etc)
    HOWEVER – My ample gut tells me we should now go on to demolish the Geordies next week and given the choice I would rather lose to Bolton than the Skunks.
    The only fly in the ointment might be that I have just read Vidulka might be fit to play us after not kicking a ball since May!!

  13. Yes, loosing to Bolton was a blow, a game most of us expected we would get a win from, but there is a degree of inevitability about the result.
    A lot of posters have commented about Alves’ inability to score, which while true did not impact on the fact we were two down after ten minutes, he can’t be blamed for that. Maybe he does need a spell on the bench, but not when there is no replacement to play ie Mido is injured. The idea of playing aliadiere up front is just plain daft in my mind as he spent a season doing that last year and achieved nothing. I have no doubt with Mido fit GS will drop Alves for a while at least.
    We lost on Saturday not because we can’t score or because we’ve suddenly become a poor team etc etc but because we conceeded two soft goals in the first ten minutes, that’s the area GS needs to work on.
    I also agree totally with Ian Gill, we need to compete for the whole 90 not just in the second half, solve that problem and we’ll make some progress.
    Still one defeat in six is a decent return, we’re still tenth although loosing does create pressure as there are a host of teams just behind us (he’s behind you!!!, a la pantomime season!) on 17 points.

  14. Will somebody bite the bullet and take that BORO GOAL MACHINE poster down? What a complete embarrassment for the fans, let alone the player himself.
    Maybe whoever thought up that idea should have waited,at least till he scored say 25 goal. The way he is going he may reach that total by 2012. Goal machine he is not, Premier League standard he is not. Go out and buy Kevin Doyle from Reading before someone else does and ship out the ones who cant be bothered.

  15. Alves will score goals, as long as people don’t panic and he stays in the team. Imagine where we will be once he starts firing.
    I’ve said this before, but do some of you panic as easily in your private lives when things don’t go your way?
    Relax.

  16. Boro have got to start playing from the kick off!!!!!!
    At home we need to be in teams faces right from the off, get at them put them under pressure early doors and test their keeper. I’m sick of watching games and seeing us with 30 mins on the clock and no shots on target.
    Alves is getting some stick and rightly so. In football you make you’re own luck. If you stand on the half way line motionless then you aint gunna get the chances to score. He needs to sort his work rate out use the channels and get in the box when Downing and Aliadieer have the ball wide. Tuncay can then drop deep and he will get the space he needs.
    We needed to stretch Bolton on saturday and try to get in behind. Going two down after 10 mins never gave us that opportunity but it still shouldnt matter and we could have showed guile and fight by trying something different but it just didnt happen.
    I also dont see this attacking football that we are supposed to be playing. Where are the triangles of players over the pitch? Where are the runners from midfield? And more importantly where are the goals?
    The ball needs to be doing the work for us against teams like Bolton, keep hold of it pass it around and make them come out from there defense to try and get it back. All too often its a long ball striaght onto their defenders head then they win the first ball. All to often andrew taylor hoofs it 40 yards to alves who is from the yakubu school of heading.
    Saturday performance wasnt good enough however we have the chance to put it right on saturday against the geordies. a win is the only result good enough and i wont accept anymore lessons or we werent up for it remarks…
    We are 13 games in now and between now and xmas will shape our season lets go for it and try to get into the top 6…..
    COME ON BORO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Downing is supposedly a left-winger. Perhaps if he actually played there, then Taylor would not be left so exposed. Downing can’t cross a ball from the middle of the park. Taylor is currently putting more crosses in from the left than our supposed start winger.

  18. To be honest i was one of the guys who was pro buying Alves last summer as I thought he was promising and his price tag was 5 million euro’s…. well worth a punt at that price!
    But we didn’t buy him till the following January and got ourselves into a tug of war and ended up paying 12 + million…. then he was a big risk as he was unproven. I like many others watched the u tube video’s and was impressed and full of hope – but then i got to see him play against Cardif and started to worry.
    A Brazilian striker that cannot dribble….a rare beast indeed. And to date apart from a cracking free kick earlier in the season and the 2 against Man u last year i have seen nothing to warrant the price.
    Mido on the other hand when he does get to play gives 100% and is finishing the chances he gets. To be honest he always has done since his arrival but the problem he is a permo crock and not to be relied on week in week out. We do need a consistent striker and quickly.
    Tuncay has been awesome since coming back from injury and i do not see why we cannot give Emnes a chance up front as he can play anywhere across the front but is not been given a game/chance. He looked very good in preseason good ball control and a good shot on him.. .just a thought.

  19. Afonso Alves
    “Useless. Lacklustre and off-target. A £13m liability today. Lucky to last 75 minutes. Rating 2 out of 10. ”
    The words of Skysports in their section on Boro Bolton. Reading between the lines I don’t think they were overly impressed with the Brazilian.
    Consider these facts. A highly priced Brazilean comes to the Premier League from Holland with a glowing record. He struggles to adjust to the much more physical nature of the rough and tumble of the English game. Makes a few mistakes and then the odd howler. All confidence drains away and their form wont transfer from the relatively technical Dutch league to being physically challenged for every ball, the fans worst fears are confirmed.
    For Mr Gomes substitute Mr Alves or vice versa. Interesting comparison but difficult to rectify for both of them.
    Onto the Boro cycle. See Pogo has taken up the mantle of needing to ‘learn lessons’ and Gate is looking for ‘a response’. Thank heavens for some constants in the present turmoil facing us all.
    I come back to point I made earlier in this thread. Why are we so lacklustre in the opening half of home matches. The problem is we KNOW the team will implode after a few good results. We KNOW that as soon as the E word appears or the players start talking about top half finishes they will come a cropper.
    There is something wrong with the mental approach.
    Or is it simply we are not as good as the foam handers think we are or as bad as the Chicken runners believe we are. Maybe we are a medium sized club in mid table in a tight league. Who would have put £10 on none of the top 5 scoring? Still doesn’t answer the lack of focus or attitude at the start of home matches.

  20. In post-match interview, Gareth Southgate said, “We worked hard for the breakthrough but when it came we didn’t give ourselves the chance to build up a momentum………”
    He was referring to Bolton’s third goal. (That was in the 78th minute out of 90!)
    However I think we ought to be a bit more magnanimous and generous to Bolton.
    They played to their strengths and our weaknesses – one of which was naivety. They were perhaps a little fortunate to find themselves 2-0 up after 10 minutes, but those goals came from exploiting where Boro were recognised to be weak.
    They deliberately put Kevin Davies up against Andrew Taylor and exploited the recognised main area of weakness in our defense. They also played to their own strengths – invoking set piece opportunities and breaking play up.
    Southgate’s quote, referring to Boro’s inability to build momentum applied throughout the afternoon, NOT just after the 78th minute Boro goal. Bolton, having got themselves into that optimum position, thwarted Boro’s attempts at fluid attacking football at every stage after the 10th minute.
    I was convinced already, but certainly now, no one will ever persuade me that the introduction of AV technology to assist referees isn’t acceptable on the grounds of discontinuity of play.
    Not for as long as players are allowed to take as long to restart play as Bolton did after game interruption on Saturday.
    Not once did their goalkeeper take a goal kick from the same side of the box as the ball left play. He walked/ strolled to the other end of the box on every occasion before getting the ball back into play. Also, throw-ins and free kicks were amongst the slowest ever to have been taken.
    After free-kicks had been awarded to them, while players were taking up position, Bolton players deliberately left the ball some distance away from the point of the free-kick and on several occasions actually deliberately assisted its removal from the point of infringement – all adding retrieval time to play reinstatement.
    And all of this was with the apparent sanction of Martin Atkinson, the referee.
    I hated it, of course, because Boro were chasing the game. But Bolton were excellent at it. And if you are an admirer of momentum-spoiling play and if it falls under your definition of “professionalism”, then you can do nothing but admire the thoroughly “professional” performance delivered by Bolton on Saturday.
    On the other hand, Boro were distinctly amateur. Even in our dead-ball retrieval, there appeared to be no urgency – except when Tuncay/Pogatetz retrieved the ball from the Bolton goal after Boro scored and when Gary O’Neil ran the width of the pitch to deliver a replacement high-tech flag to the assistant referee.
    Discontinuity and momentum-destruction were features of Bolton’s game plan. So Gareth oughtn’t to take all the blame onto Boro’s shoulders for that. But to get into such a position in the first place?
    Well, the one place I’d NOT look to lay off the responsibility for how that developed – it’s NOT with Alfonso Alves!
    Bolton’s strategy worked well and the tactics they employed were consistent and well-executed. They should be given credit for how they exploited it.
    It kept the Riverside temperature close to zero.
    Another lesson for Gareth’s “Class of 2008”.

  21. Just a thought re Alves. Get someone from the backroom staff despatched to Heerenveen and find out the hows and whys Afonso scored so many goals in the Eredivisie. There must be some good pointers there.
    The most important thing in fotball is to score goals, Alves has a good scoring record. I am sure he will come good. Perhaps a run in the reserves where goals would be easier to come by will bolster his confidence.

  22. That’s Boro for you!
    You’re never allowed to get too excited as a Boro fan – and it seems as though any bout of optimism-itis is swiflty punished by an effort-lite defeat. Still, the players are “learning lessons” and still pushing on for Europe.
    We need to get real. Whilst you could take the view that we’re still in the top half, and that was our aim this season, you could also take the view that we are still “hovering” 5 points above the relegation zone.
    A good league position for me, as a seasoned pessimist, would be being more than 2 defeats (e.g. 7 points) away from the Relegation Zone at all times. Let’s be honest, we’re well capable of another September, another barren run, and we need to have a nice buffer to protect us.
    Having said all this, if the team are this poorly motivated now, they’d probably turn out and play in dressing gown and slippers if they had the comfort of a 7 point gap over the trapdoor.
    Being a Boro fan often feels like a never ending cycle of frustration, despair and, during the good times, dreaming of winning 3 on the bounce!

  23. If Alves isn’t getting the right service, you can only blame our midfield. We need wingers playing ON THE WING, and the central midfield players dominating play, and creating the chances Alves needs. Tuncay playing in the hole can link play, but our whole midfield is being badly organised, or simply not good enough.

  24. Before the Boro game against Bolton people were slating Elmander as a player who could not finish, a player that is over priced, and somebody who wouldn’t be able to cut it in the Prem.
    Because he scored and did actually play very well against us on Saturday he’s now full of confidence and the media raved about his performance and people think he’s going to have a great season.
    It’s going to be the same with Alves. He’s going through a stage where people are slating him saying this and that, but then he’ll play brilliantly one week soon and people will start loving him again. It was exactly like that before he scored them two goals against Man United last season.
    Let’s face it, he’s never going to be the world beater of a player we all hoped he would be when he signed, but don’t we all need to stick by the man and support him? He’s our most expensive player and he’s earned that right because of the form he was in before he joined us.
    I thought it was wrong for some sections of the crowd to boo him, we lost that game because everyone on the pitch was simply not good enough, not just Alves.
    I am in full support of what ‘Chris from Beverley’ is saying about bringing the atmosphere back. I’m sitting there and all we seem to be chanting is ‘Come On Boro’. There is a huge lack of atmosphere and I just wish that more than just the North Stand would chant.
    A win against Geordies will mean that everyone will be happy again and will mean the return of people saying that we are bound for Europe, etc. Some people on here are having a panic that we lost a game. Yes we lost against a team that played better than us, move on and look where we are in the league and look at what could happen if we beat Newcastle. But don’t get too carried away mind.

  25. Typical Boro or Predictable Boro?
    1. Zonal marking instead of picking up players and runs left us with two Notlobs literally putting it in off each other unchallenged. Now here’s a novel idea, how about letting 5 players play zones and 5 players free to roam?
    2. Left Side of Defence weakness exposed again. Tayls had a little pop at the North Stand a few weeks back against the Hammers after getting some stick for Poggi being repeatedly dragged out of position having to cover on the left…….. Where was Poggi’s tackle and subsequent booking which led to the 1st Notlob goal?
    3. A striker who couldn’t score over the border with £500 in fresh notes stuffed in his jock strap………….no this isn’t a year old clipping about DGL!
    4. Tactics which totally stifle the aforementioned Striker’s chances of ever getting near to scoring. Lets put crosses in to a bloke who as mentioned previously has the heading ability of the Yak!
    5. Lack of creativity in midfield to enable a defence splitting pass or that magical sublime bit of genius…….yawn this is getting boring now!
    6. A formidable striker capable of leading from the front but with a mattress eternally strapped to his back allied with “rumours” of unrest…….sound familiar (Alen Vidukanelli)?
    7. Late goals again….well it stops the crowd from leaving early, just wish we could stop giving Xmas presents away early.
    8. No fighting spirit from the off yet again. God how many times am I sick to death of typing that! Imagine Ricky Hatton not throwing a punch for the first 3 rounds of every fight! the sheer unbelievable crazy stupidity of that is made all the more incredulous by witnessing Gareth sending his troops out with that very mentality ad nauseum.
    Despite the above negativity amazingly we have a squad of players who are constantly underachieving. A 10th place finish would be an improvement but we are capable of more than that.
    Outside of the top 5 there is no-one in my opinion any better than the Boro, OK so there are a few that are not much worse either and maybe as good but we haven’t lost many games this season, (apart from Chelsea) we literally just threw points away.
    Predictable Boro and congrats to Gary Megson for doing his homework and having the tactical nous to exploit our flaws to the maximum!
    Now Joe Kinnear may not be a genius but even a fool can work out if he manages to exploit just 2 or 3 out of the above 8 constants then we will have major problems come Saturday at 3.00PM. So lets see what happens, I predict the Barcodes will come at us from the off tearing away down our left flank and putting their big lads at the far post at free kicks and corners.

  26. I hate how everybody seems to be using Afonso Alves as an escape goat to Boro’s poor performances. If a players confidence is shot, you don’t need the crowd on the players back, as it really won’t help him get a goal anytime soon!
    He needs to work on his physical attributes. You look at how Henry was in the first 18 months of the premiership. It took him such a long time to adapt, but once he did, well his goal scoring speaks for itself.
    The fact that most of the Bolton game resulted in Wheater (who i thought had a poor game, as well as Downing) lofting it upfield didnt do one bit of good. We havent got one person upfront who can hold the ball up and cushion the ball down, as we have no height rom defense upwards!!
    You have to look at the performance of Downing as well! yes for england he had an excellent game, but thats because he was trying to run at/past defenders. Playing for boro, he seems to just run, not know where to go, cut inside, then lose posession. Its not working! you need width!
    Another pointer raised before was the fact of playing Aliadiere upfront. What a stupid idea! He hasnt got the natural goalscoring ability, which is why GS has put him out to the right, where he has been a revelation! I would really think about starting Johnson ahead of downing next match, which wont happen, cause GS wont drop downing no matter how bad he plays!
    Once we get the continuity of the team, we will start scoring goals. Starting with Alves against Newcastle can go either way. Its either going to be a brilliant desicion, or one of the worst. If he scores, confidence = BOOM!! if he has another game where he isnt getting the right passes, and his control and touch isnt so good, and the crowd get on his back, then i think his confidence will be at an all time low, and that could really affect his future!
    We really need a win against newcastle. Anything else is not good enough.
    Turnbull, Hoyte, Riggot if not injured (wheater if he is) Pogi, Tayls, Aliadiere, O’neil, Digard, Johnson, Tuncay, Mido (for the first hour) then alves.
    prediction. 2-1 boro.

  27. Alves is obvioulsy not the only reason for our teams lack of endeavour on the pitch, there are problems elsewhere that led to our downfall on Saturday, and a few earlier games in the season, all covered in abundance on here.
    However the fans are entitled to ask the question about Alves’s character, and his apparent lack of confidence if it means that his meagre goal opportunties served up by his team-mates are being squandered. Even Southgate has admitted now that there is a problem.
    But look at the reality. When MFC were in the throws of selling the family silver to buy him, many saw it as a massive gamble based almost solely on one extra-ordinary season in the Eredivisie.
    Alves’s scoring record over the last 7 seasons in Sweden and Holland is no more than average. Including his extra-ordinary 34 goal haul in 2006-7, his average goal haul is 13.4, and his best single season (ignoring his 34 goal season) saw him net 14 times in 24 games for Malmo.
    So are we expecting a striker who scored an average of 13.4 goals in two inferior leagues over 7 seasons, to set the PL alight, whilst playing in front a midfield 4 who have no idea on how to play him in, not to mention that he is up against some of the meanest defenders in the business??
    No wonder his confidence is shot.

  28. Tom Hintell’s post has left me with an image in my head that makes me smile.
    “…everbody seems to be using Alves as an escape goat…”
    He’s always struck me as a poor man’s trojan horse but perhaps only Hoyte could smuggle himself out of the Riverside after a poor performance.
    Still at least none of the top 10 managed a victory at the weekend – which makes the league even tighter and the need for victory against Newcastle even more important.

  29. Totally agree Neil hence why 5 million euro’s was a good punt in the hope he could step up to premiership standard and 12+ million euro was throwing money away on an unproven striker…..Mido is the best bet at the moment as long as we can get/keep him fit to play.I would also as i said before like to see Emnes given a chance…

  30. It is getting ever tighter in the premiership. Gate says gaps will start to open up in the table. Following the weekends results there is only one evident gap. If we assume Hull will gradually come back to the pack then the top 5 are getting away.
    To give a better idea of how tight it is let us look at the season West Ham were relegated with 42 points. After 14 matches we were 7th with 21 points and the Baggies were 18th with 12 points. This season we have Everton 7th with 19 points and Toon 18th with 14 points.
    If Hull do come back to the pack then we are looking at 6th being on the fringe of the relegation battle!
    I know it is only playing with figures but it points out how vital it is to win games against those around you. It also shows that Saturdays match is yet another must win game.
    Prior to the Bolton defeat my son asked what I wanted from the two home matches and I said I would take four points before a ball was kicked. His view was that he would settle for two draws as we would be keeping the run going, pleased with more but defeat in either would stop momentum.
    Chris, dont want to spoil your day but Alves was bought for £12+million. Mind you the euro and the pound get ever closer.
    Finally I see our esteemed friends from across the channel are desperate to control what we do in English football. As a Teessider I have a natural inclination to dislike people telling me what to do.
    I am not totally happy with the way the premiership is run but I defend our right to run it badly without interference from people who dislike curved cucumbers and bananas, who think selling in lbs and oz should be a criminal offence.

  31. Being a Boro exile living in the US I was excited about going to the game on Saturday (before anybody starts blaming me the last game I went to was the 5-1 defeat of Bolton a year and a half ago !).
    Agree with most of what people have said and I have to reinforce that Andrew Taylor is the weakest link in this Boro side, his lack of pace, his lack of physical presence, but most of all his body language slouched shoulders, does not seem interested.
    Think when Riggs or Huth are fit again should put Poggy over there. Also my wife (an Aussie) who was at her first football (soccer) game, couldn’t understand why the Boro fans were booing the Boro players…. SAYS IT ALL REALLY.
    What happened to the old songs from Ayresome park days………
    Adam Johnson was the highlight of the game for me, along with Emnes who looked tasty.
    Lets stuff it up the Geordies next week.

  32. Ian gill ….sorry to come back to you on this but i believe the deal was in euro’s if you check….my point was in the summer the asking price was 5 million euro’s and come january this had rocketed to 12 + million euro’s due to other interest…..all reported stories quoted were in euro’s so if it was in sterling we really did take a hit!!!!

  33. Five matches unbeaten and then this… MiseraBoro… bah humbug…Turkey-runners rule (and I don’t mean Tuncay)…smile, it’s nearly Christmas.. No? Booooooooooooo…

  34. John
    Thought it wouldnt be long before the Defour and Witsel story got a response.
    Never mind the other clubs after them and the fact we probably cant afford them, there is also the fact that experience shows that players from the minor european leagues tend not to like the rough and tumble of the premiership. They will be ones for the ‘future’ and we cant afford them Emnessing for a year.

  35. I can see a situation where in 2 games time all clubs from Everton in 7th to Newcastle in 18th are on 20 points no matter what they have played like and people think they deserved out of those matches.

  36. I watched the Wigan Everton game last night and saw a player to answer our prayers. Midfield box to box dynamo that ran the show. A cheeky 6-8 million would surely secure his services. I forget his name but I think David Connor might know him…..

  37. Ian – Players from the minor European leagues don’t like the rough and tumble of the prem? Are you sure about that? I seem to remember that Bergkamp, Zenden, Boateng to name but three managed to ‘survive’. The issue with Alves is simply one of confidence and adjusting to the ‘rough and tumble’. We know he can score we’ve seen him do it, he’s missed some sitters this season, not because he was hustled off the ball but because he’s temporarily lost that belief which is so important. It happens to all strikers even the greatest such as Owen. Alves will come good I have no doubt, the only decision for GS is does he give him a spell in the ressie’s, keep playing him, or put him on the bench.
    My guess is he’ll start against the barcodes.

  38. We need experience in the midfield not more kids. Arsenal are missing a natural ball winner with experience right now and we will end up in the same situation unless we get a player in with 100+ premier league games and a good pedigree under his belt. He could be only 22-23 and would fit into our transfer policy.
    OK, so you will ask, go on then name the player who: a) would want to come to boro b) one boro could afford. The best i can come up with at the minute is either John O’Shea or Darren Fletcher who may be available in January due to not getting 1st team football at Man Utd.
    We can scout around as much as we want but we need experience of premier league football, we need experience of pressure situations and we need experience of winning football matches. No point in going for highly priced kids who may or may not have a sell on value.
    Alternatives… Boateng/Zokora of Spurs, Bullard of Fulham, Harper of Reading… after that i am pretty much out as to who would be available at the right price and may want to come to boro.
    It goes back to the old argument of why england isnt producing enough talented or technically gifted players.
    COME ON BORO!!!!!!!!!

  39. Nigel
    The players you mentioned did well but they didn’t do so immediately. Bolo only did well once he came to the Boro and even then he was vying with Greening for Scapegoat of the year until he moved inside.
    Apart from not being able to afford the players transfer fees in competiton with teams like Manu, we havent got the money and time for ‘ones for the future’ as they settle in (isnt the future what our academy is for?). They could go somewhere and play European football and bed in. Tuesday night at Whitby Town in the North Riding Senior Cup wont appeal.
    My comments about Alves were not meant to be a criticism but pointing out he isnt the only player to have struggled to adapt to our game. It is very unforgiving in its demands on players.
    I hope comes good, no matter what anyone says goalscorers score wherever they are. What we have to do is be more aggressive from kick off at home to set the tempo. Why did Downing play so well for England and struggle for Boro? I suspect because one team were determined to make a point and the other were waiting for the points.

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