Derby Draw: The Balance Sheet

THE POSITIVES: Stewie played, looked well up for it in the first half and looks to be enjoying his newly liberated role, plus that particular distraction can now be put behind us until the summer; the fans rallied round him and turned out in force and in good voice; the “Boro Goal Machine” scored a cracker, in open play and in the Premiership to suggest there is enough in there to help claw us to safety; Josh Walker and Didier Digard looked as good an engine room combination as we’ve seen all season; and despite a chaotic last ten minutes and the now mandatory gifted late leveller we did not throw it all away in stoppage time – but for Tony McMahon it really would have been a ‘typical Boro’ moment.
THE NEGATIVES: Boro had three points in their grasp and let it slip when one really wasn’t enough; the injuries to Walker and Digard which changed the shape and tempo of the game; the fragility of squad and thinness of the bench was exposed again as a defender was sent on as a makeshift midfielder; playing none up front for long spells against a team that was there for the taking – apart from kicks and picking the ball out of the net did Turnbull touch the ball?; the panic in defence at dead balls; the now mandatory gifted late leveller; Mido’s undisciplined wandering deep in his own half when we were chasing the game; a little boy lost display from midfield spectator Julio Arca; Tuncay is off colour, ineffective on the wing and a shadow of the player he was three months ago; the failure to cash in when other key games down the bottom were iced off; a chance to claw Sunderland back into the mire was missed; nine without a win.

63 thoughts on “Derby Draw: The Balance Sheet

  1. Sounds like Mido is ready to fight for the cause after ruling out a move to Turkey.
    He said: “I am willing to remain in the Premier League. If Boro agreed to sell me to an English club then I will go, otherwise I am staying for now.”
    Such loyalty and enthusiasm is a pleasure to behold in the modern game!

  2. Midfield is a shambles but has possibilities. Downing is far more effective in the ‘hole’ because he can actually pick out Alves. Shame for Tuncay but he could be slotted into MF alongside Digard or another ball winner – that we havent already sold.
    I wouldn’t agree with those that assume we should play with two wingers in the PL either so theres room for O’Neil on the right and Johnno on the left, with only Johnno playing the conventional wing role.
    Pity we sold Cattermole like, as theres now no cover in midfield – why have we still got Arca and Shawky when the Boat and Cattermole were allowed to leave? Poor decisions. Surely cover will be brought in before the end of the month???
    Cant see Downing’s England prospects being damaged at all by demonstrating his versatility to play in several different positions. He’s also got the potential to be better than Lampard and Gerrard (when wearing England shirts at least) if he plays centrally enough, so I dont think he has much to worry about on that front.

  3. So, two more points lost, and Southgate sees it as a positive that boro salvaged a draw. Well, if he would manage to get his tactics right in the first place, we would have had three points, and more goals!
    You have to look at the starting 11. Credit to him for putting Walker in the middle with Digard, because there seemed to be a partnership for the future, but, if we aren’t careful, that future partnership will be in the championship!
    Downing is a left winger, I don’t care about the three assists! Two of them assists were against a non league team who we should have demolished. Get him back out wide where he can get his crosses in and set up goals from the wing, and get Tuncay back up front, or just behind Alves, where he can run into the box and get on the end of them downing crosses!
    Then it comes back to Saturday, putting Mido on, who seems to have absolutely no interest for Alves whos confidence will be at a major high, is one of the worst decisions to make! Why not take off Tuncay who wasnt having a good game, and go for the win! It seemed Southgate was content with a draw from the beginning!
    Against WBA we need a proper team where everybody is playing in their proper positions – Turnbull, Mcmahon, Wheater, Riggot, Pogi, Johnson, O’neil, Digard, Downing, Tuncay, Alves
    Lets go for the win!!!

  4. I absolutely agree with Jiffy that if Stewie expects to play for England, it can only be on the left-wing.
    The thing is that we may have another player who could do a left-wing job, at a time when it is thought there are few genuine left footers about. I suppose one thing that might be got out of all this, is that Adam Johnson must feel there is a good chance of a regular place in the starting line-up next season if Stewie goes.
    And on BBC Tees they have just mentioned that Josh Walker is out for 4-6 weeks with his injury.
    And finally, an offer of £100M from Man City and the player to get £500K a WEEK! How many children are believed, subject to full inquiry, to have died in Doncaster for want of proper child protection action? And how many Social Workers would £500K a WEEK pay for? What if he slummed it on £400K a week, and at then end of the year £5Million were made available to put right some of these wrongs? Where are the sedatives? The loonies are back in charge! Has anyone paid any attention to what is going on in the world?
    At what point does a sizeable proportion of us decide to walk away from football if it gets this silly? Northallerton Town, or Billingham, anyone?

  5. I do hope SG has no cash spare in this window as I fear he will buy some over rated joker like McGeady from Celtic . The lad is over rated and injury prone and is a total waste of space.

  6. The media-fuelled, pot-boiling turbulence of last week has subsided, yet here we all are, Boro supporters, clearly struggling to pick up the pieces of a traumatic week and faced with reconstructing and making sense of the way forward for the remainder of the season.
    Despite the occasional ray of stabilizing sunshine emanating from notables such as Mr Average, discharging his cargo of calming oil onto the surface of troubled waters, otherwise stirred up by the cathartic (there you go, Mohammad Abdulla – one for you, son!) pronouncements of other frequent and regular contributors, the overwhelming mood in the Boro-supporting communications media has been a predictable mixture of disappointment, frustration, anger, incredulity, despair, hope, more anger and defiance!
    Me? I like “defiance”! Oh sure, I do all the others too! But I particularly like “defiance”!
    From a supporter’s perspective, Mr Average and a few other insightful souls have already hit the nail squarely on the head.
    Much as it may be difficult and counter-intuitive, irrespective of what actually happens out there on the field, the support needs to be precisely that!
    It won’t serve anyone’s best interests by throwing season cards or booing mistakes or setbacks.
    And continuously nit-picking in a Slavenesque manner about everything the club appears to get wrong, only serves to reinforce a general feeling of negativity.
    At times like these, with backs to the wall, we can be united IN our defiance and BY our defiance, and we CAN overcome prejudicial influences of the national media and mischief-mongering by other agents.

  7. Ian,
    I agree with you. We looked very limited on Saturday. We do need to get more bodies forward. We sit so far back sometimes that it seems like we are inviting pressure. I think pretty much every game that’s been shown here in the States has involved Boro going a goal up and then sitting back and conceding a late equalizer. My kids are then traumatized by dad spewing invective at the tele and uttering words best left unsaid.
    Some interesting rumors on the net and Sky. Let’s hope Southgate can pull a rabbit or two out of a hat.
    On to the Baggies. Oddly enough, they were my “second team” as a young lad in Dormo. I loved their striped kit. I still have a little bit of a soft spot for them, especially as Mogga is their manager, but I’m hoping that we do them no favors.
    Shame about Walker. Hopefully the lads can pull out some good results and get us all excited again. We all know how it is…a win or two, and we’ll all be looking wistfully at a UEFA spot again 🙂

  8. Just wached Catts put himself about at Old Trafford. Pity we didnt have him on Sat.
    The game was gone from the moment Malbranque put the clog in to Walker and there was no reply from the week kneed Boro. How we miss George.
    On to Downing I have stated before I would like to see him in the middle as he has an eye for goal and a shot in both feet. There was a great english left winger who was moved into the centre foward spot – can you remember the great Tom Finney?

  9. Stevo
    We dont necessarily have to stereotype players as wingers or strikers. In my earlier post I talked about four attackers within a team shape.
    ManU took Chelsea to the cleaners in part because they always had someone available on the flanks to keep Chelsea’s full backs honest. Chelsea tend to play narrow and get the width from the full backs.
    Playing two in central midfield and giving freedom to the rest to interchange positions is the way ManU and Arsenal have traditionally played.
    You will tend to have players in preferred roles to get the best out of them.
    As long as the framework is there and people do their shift then you can play two ‘wingers’. Going back to ManU-Chelsea, Park/Ronaldo kept Bosingwa/Cole occupied. That allowed ManU to press Chelsea who were forced to play narrow. ManU then could play a relatively narrow back four and compress the space and still have time for Neville and Evra to bomb forward.
    This is all well and good but you need to play a higher line whatever the formation so that when you attack and beat a man you are around their box not 40 yeards from your own.

  10. Reports in this morning’s press seem to indicate that Burnley are about to sign Tony McMahon – which given Boro’s interest in Chris Eagles it sounds like it could be part of a swap deal.
    I find the prospect of selling McMahon at a time when the right back position is looking a bit thin a very strange decision – plus signing another average right-sided midfielder to compete against Ali, Jinky and Emnes seems hardly a priority.
    I thought McMahon was just starting to get his match fitness back and would prove to be a useful member of the squad – is there any truth in this deal AV?

  11. I seriously think we’re in danger now of being dragged into something we just don’t have the quality or squad size to handle.
    As much as I respect and admire Steve Gibson I just know he won’t sack GS, when did we last sack a manager? Robbo? Think that was a “by mutual consent” jobbie.
    So, so sick of us being an ‘almost’ club simply because we feel the need to ‘launch’ managers careers. There are loads of top quality working managers out there who would love the chance to work for a chairman like SG, never mind the ones who are out of work.
    We’re only a small town but the club is indeed a sleeping giant in it’s academy structure, chairman and fan backing. It just needs a tried and tested manager to take the reins and give the club and its players a good kick up the preverbial!

  12. Werdermouth,
    I totally agree with you on the Tony McMahon thing.
    Surely it must be cobblers as he is looking good for us at the mo.

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