Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Fag-packet Maths Of Window Woe

MAYBE our perspective on the transfer window has been coloured by the past but that felt like a complete empty anti-climax.
Worse, it felt like the squad had not been beefed up at all after a stuttering start to the season that demanded something extra. And now.
And more worrying, it looks like for all the talk of financial prowess and Boro being the Championship big boys in the transfer market the club actually have no punch left.

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Title Bet Looks A Long Shot Now

GUTTED. And deeply worried.
Yes, Boro were always in the game – McDonald hit the post with a header, Boyd brought a good save and Kink warmed the keeper’s hands a few times – but this is Barnsley we are talking about. Come the end of the season they will be mid-table at best. We should be beating them. No disrespect because they are well organised and worked hard and they have beat us twice in succession down there now … but this Boro team are the division’s big spenders and were the pre-season favourites. If we are to justify that tag we need to win these games. Right now that bet looks a very long shot.

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Wanted: Popular Scapegoat For Key Role

WHEN JULIO Arca came on after the break against Sheffield United the Sky Sports pundits announced him as “a fans’ favourite,” a description wildly at odds with the audible ripple of booing that greeted his arrival.
He was jeered when he came on as a sub against Ipswich too. After 11 minutes. On the opening day. Before he had even touched a ball. Julio was probably the only person on Teesside not happy to see Brad Jones leave because he will have known the departure of the official Boo Boy Punchbag put him right in the firing line as Target Elect.
Yet he has confused matters by being one of the best players of the season so far. Arca has added creativity, fluid passing and – despite his legendary lack of pace – some movement and zip from midfield. He even has his own song which along with David Wheater’s ditty and the Jason Steele new entry is right up there with a bullet right now. He has headed off the lynchmob for now.
Which leaves a vacancy….

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Blades Out For Strachan If We Lose

THE BLADES are being sharpened for Strachan.
His team – and it is undoubtedly his team now – have been sluggish and one dimensional in the opening games; the La Manga trip was supposed to produce a super-fit team but they have been out-worked; despite the heavy summer investment the glaring long standing problems of a lack of pace and width in midfield remain; and the newly installed star striker has barely had a touch as the team have created next to nothing going forward. Right now the pre-season title favourites do not look serious contenders.
So is Sheffield United a “must win” game? Already? After two games? With 132 points left to play for and the transfer window still open? Plenty of people think so. And even those who don’t should brace themselves for the backlash if Boro lose.

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Boro Fail To Spark … (Again)

IS A point away at Leicester a good one? I think so. They were very quick going forward, used both flanks well and got a lot of crosses into the box but Boro put in a fantastic battling display with David Wheater magnificent: tackling, blocking, heading and generally creating a one man wall across the face of goal.
Jason Steele made an assured league debut and the teenager made one outstanding first half save from a DJ Campbell free-kick and a couple of other good ones – although he needed his crossbar to block the best chance from a first half header.
Good points…. those two individual displays, Gary O’Neil’s return injected some urgency and he almost scored with his first touch (his free-kick was the only save their man had to make), Luke Williams first half weaving run and shot that grazed the post, the touch and movement from Scott McDonald, some good spells of ball retention and passing.
Bad points…. being ravaged down the flanks by blistering pace (again), watching the opposition have a dozen good chances (again), failing to supply Kris Boyd with any balls in the box (again), seeing a player stretchered off (again) and a pedestrian midfield that laboured away but couldn’t find a spark (again).
One goal and one point from two games. A slow start. Time to step up a gear lads.

The Shape Of Things To Come?

HAS GORDON Strachan found his most effective formation by accident?
The boss may well be ideologically wedded to a tried and tested 4-4-2 – many in British football are, managers, players and fans – but his patched up side lined up with a fluid new shape at Chesterfield that ticked a lot of tactical boxes and suited the personnel at his disposal.
Boro played with a flexible system that was a 4-3-3 when they were going forward (or if you want to be pedantic a 4-3-2-1 but why complicate things by adding another layer) and a 4-5-1 when they dropped back.

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Glory Or Disaster? Script Your Own Season.

THREE sleeps to go. I’m excited and optimistic about the possibilities and prospects for the new season for the first time in ages. Gordon Strachan has rewired the mentality of the squad and created a well balanced and hungry outfit that means business. Bring it on. I’m even thinking of putting a daft quid on a champions/Kris Boyd top scorer double.
But a new campaign is always a leap into the unknown. How will it all pan out? Who will be the heroes? The flops? Will the wheels come off? How many more Scots can we get in before the deadline? How long will Matty Bates knees last? And will the once bitten Teesside public climb back aboard the bandwagon if Boro deliver the good?
Questions, questions. Let’s hear your answers….

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The Numbers Game

NUMEROLOGY: ancient systems, traditions or beliefs in mystical or esoteric hidden relationships between numbers and physical objects or living things; systems regarded as pseudomathematics by modern scientists. Often associated with the occult.
So, are the black arts of the necromancer at work as Boro’s provisional squad numbers for the season are released? Well Andrew Taylor will certainly feel the powerful dark hex of the cursed number 26 weighing him down as he contemplates his bleak fate in the coming season. And he won’t need to search too far for hidden messages.

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