Boro’s Tactical Gridlock At Leicester

SO ANOTHER ‘tactically interesting’ game where we have the edge for long spells but can’t finish – not even from the spot – and end up empty handed.
The balance of play was different but the outcome was similar to the televised Friday night game at Birmingham when Boro were getting plenty of post-match plaudits for playing with panache but went away frustrated. Bloody repeats.

Leicester have the red hot form team in the division but Nigel Pearson admitted afterwards that Boro’s striker-light Spanish style Teesside tiki-taka set up had stifled them for long spells and that the game could have gone either way. Tony Mowbray agreed that it was another ‘fine margins’ game and Boro had played well.
And they did… up to the box. With no out and out striker – “Jose” McEachran was often the furthest foward with Scott McDonald and Emmauel Ledesma wider and deeper to pen in their attacking threat from the full-backs – Boro’s best slick passing interchanges were in the middle third. It was fluid and mesmerising at times but at the crucial points, that is, when it picked into the box, it broke down.
Both Boro full-backs went one on one in the box but took a crucial poor final touch to lose the angle for a shot while McDonald and Ledesma both missed the target from good positions. Several times. Their keeper only had to make two real saves – in the first half, the best when he clawed away a Bikey header – before the penalty.
Incidentally, it has become the vogue to slag off Emnes and the penalty was the signal for a cyber free-for all. Fine, get the frustration off your chest, but it was a great save. There is no point scapegoating Emnes for the failures of the full 90 minutes. Boro looked far brighter in the final third after he and Jutkiewicz came on. There is no point slagging Ledesma either. He “is what he is”… a tricky but inconsistent prospect who was in League One last year. Mogga is not playing them out of bloody minded determination to spite you. We all know that Boro need a clinical finisher – a Chris Woods, A Mataj Vydra, a Charlie Austin – and no doubt Mogga and Steve Gibson know that too. But right but we haven’t got one so we have to crack on with what we’ve got.
Boro played well at the back too. There were some fantastic blocks and tackles from Hines and Bikey and Rhys slotted in at righ-back like a natural (he could do a job there long term “when” everyone is fit). If you like icy sliding challenges it was great. Largely Boro contained Leicester. And Steele made some good stops in very difficult conditions for a keeper. It was entertaining stuff.
That said, it is getting boring leaving games with glowing references but no points. For all the talk of Boro’s tactical edge Leicester hit the woodwork four times and had two ruled out for (very narrow) offside decesions while Knockaert and Nugent seemed to have a free run at the Boro defence and our own attacks were far rarer and far blunter. It felt far more torrid and obviously tilted towards them than either manager suggested.
Not that it should even have been on. The pitch was fine – Leicester was grid-locked. Both teams struggled to get there through the static nose-to-tail traffic with Boro taking two hours to cover two miles and Leicester players (and the Gazette posse) ditching cars on the ring road to walk the last few miles. Just under 9,000 fans made it through but over 19,000 tickets had been sold.That tells a tale.
With those conditions widely predicted and with police throughout the Midlands and in the North-east putting out “no unneccessary travel” APBs why was a realtively trivial sporting event not postponed in good time to prevent thousands travalling in very dangerous conditions? Because the cameras were there? For the sake of an £85k facility fee? It shows a cavalier and outrageous disregard by the man paying the piper for the safety of supporters. Utter contempt for the travelling fans again.
HERE’S my snow-shoes and thermals extended icy blast at the stupidity of letting the game go ahead from today’s paper.
AND here’s Leicester City’s satement on Friday’s chaos – ironically on Sky’s website


125 thoughts on “Boro’s Tactical Gridlock At Leicester

  1. Well done Len. On a more serious note it should be applauded that this blog can attract 100 plus comments. It’s all down to you AV, long may it continue.

  2. Ah, but in all this joy at hitting the 100, where is the evidence of youth coming through? Where are the young posters to replace the “golden generation” which must now be described as being at least “mature”?
    Isn’t that what the Academy is for?
    FD (29 and three-quarters)
    **AV writes: I’m blooding the kids on twitter … @untypicalboro

  3. Good thinking, Batman. When they can write a piece with more than 140 characters, you give them the password to the Blog, and carte-blanche to be controversial on any topic? Might catch on, this Blog thing…

  4. Yes, the ton is a great tribute to the inspiration of AV.
    I have never before been described as mature. Old, yes…

  5. Never Give up
    I have a come upon the reason for the ball boys lack of motion, it is the safety policy.
    The Ball Boys have been told that they have to sit in their nominated seat and are not allowed to stand or move around. If they do they will be evicted from the stadium and will not be allowed to attend again.
    No spokesman was available from the safety committee.
    Well done on the ton.

  6. My antipathy towards Michael Gove could scarcely run any deeper, but his proposals to have the quality of students’ grammar, punctuation, and spelling included as part of the assessment of all subjects at GCSE and A Levels, and his determination to restore the pre-eminence of extended pieces of writing, rather than breaking examination papers up into a multitude of mini-answers,might play a part in ensuring that young people have the skills in the future to contribute to blogs which allow you to go beyond 140 characters,and to compose sentences that are far too long and too complicated. And highly pretentious.
    **AV writes: I did my journalist training course with pompous tweedy Tory slashbot Michael Gove. He would have out-sourced that sentence to competition. But only after making sure that you had been to a good school that gave you a good grounding in the classics before being allowed to pen it.

  7. Len well done on the ton but I think that if AV had played you down the middle from the start instead of having to come in from wide right you would have notched that number by Wednesday easily.
    GHW I’m afraid done a George Friend, plenty of pace and excitement but failed to deliver once he got inside the box. GHW at Left Back, what were you playing at AV? The lad was never going to score from there, Square pegging again!
    **AV writes: In my mind a good player can play in any position. It is what it is.

  8. AV:
    You may have mentioned that the Leeds ball boys looked as though they had been personally coached by Neil Warnock as a bit of a joke. But you were spot on.
    The young Villa full back Matt Lowton confirmed this morning that this is precisely what happened to him when he was a ball boy. Personal coaching in the arts of gamesmanship, or cheating , as some might prefer to call it, by Mr Split Personality himself. How much lower can those with responsibilities within and towards the sport that gives them their very good livelihood go?

  9. Congrats to Len. Well done.
    And well done, AV. But of course MFC did they part, too. Unfortunately.
    We need three successive league defeats to hit the ton. And a FA Cup home defeat to hit 300 mark. I think I have posted 300th post once!
    But a 5-1 win tomorrow to delight us all tomorrow. If only we score early. Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: If we win 5-1 we will struggle to hit 30.

  10. Many thanks for your acknowledgements, gentlemen.
    Redcar Red: Great post.
    My preferred position is extreme left, but I’m happy to do whatever the boss asks for the sake of the team,safe in the knowledge that Ian will control the centre of the park.
    Defeats do stimulate the postings rate, but for me twin defenders Borophil and AV were joint Men-of -the- Thread.

  11. You may have answered this in the past AV but I was wondering when a player has what could be considered along term injury, say eight weeks or more, are they still on full salary or does an insurance policy kick in?
    **AV writes: Statutory sick pay after six weeks? Yerjokinarnyer? No, player contracts are very complex but even if a player is injured for year or more – like Kieron Dyer to throw in a name that has been bandied about today – they are on full basic pay.
    That said they will miss out on appearance fees and win bonuses which can be substantial sums, and for the youngsters, the bulk of their wages. At the new austere Boro a young pro may be on a relatively ‘low’ wage – back of fag-packet mode – say £1,000 but they may get a £1,000 appearance fee if they are in the first team squad and then maybe another £1,000 win bonus. Being out of action then can be very expensive. An established player may be on £5-10,000 (and more for the Strachanovite elite) and so the bonuses are a smaller portion.
    Clubs can only claim against the insurance if the asset gets written off. Just like us with our cars/buildings.

  12. I do take the point AV makes in his response to Jarkko at 2.19pm. We get some happy posts in the event of a Boro win, but if we lose or, better still, play badly AND lose, a veritable tsunami of posts descend onto the Blog.
    However bad we might think things are, if we try to look objectively at the situation we have a good chance of getting to the 5th round of FA Cup and despite some disappointing results we are still in a play-off position. So a good cup run (following on from a very good League Cup run) and possible promotion to the Premier League, still lie within our grasp.
    Now, imagine if we were supporters of Darlington. Not just people who keep an eye out for their results, who’ve watched the odd game at Darlo, and would quite like them to do well – apart from the Hartlepool supporters in our midst, obviously – but real, die hard Darlo supporters.
    Darlington are currently about 10 league divisions below ground level. Even if they had a team made up of 19 year old Gordon Banks, Roberto Carlos, Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, John Charles, Souness, Bobby Charlton, Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Pele and Messi (admittedly a fairly attacking set-up), and even if they played to their peak season in, season out, they’d still not have enough time to get promoted to Boro’s level whilst any of those players were young enough to pull on a pair of boots.
    If Boro were in Darlington’s present position, imagine the torrent of posts that would swamp the Blog!
    Mind you, I think I’d be tempted to buy a ticket. Imagine that line up turning out at the King George V ground at Guisborough for a relatively near away game!
    **AV writes: It is a truism in newspapers that NOBODY writes in to say that, all things considered, they are generally more or less satisfied with a situation. The silent majority are so named for a reason. Correspondents write in either because they are furious about something or someone falling short of some abstract standard the writer has applied, feel personally disadvantaged or slighted by a situation, to point out a mistake or in response to some previous writer who has expressed forceful opinions they disagree with.
    In my experience when you talk to people – even those who start out spitting blood and denouncing you as a quisling and lickspittle – you quickly find the extreme edges are smoothed and you soon find common ground.

  13. Following on from Forever Dormo’s theme; in a week that has seen some angst, passion and fervour on here we were also treated to two extreme faces of the game. The embarrassing scene down at Swansea where we seen petulant unsporting and ungentlemanly behaviour to the heart-warming and example setting of Gary Jones at the end of the Bradford/Villa game where he gave his shirt to a young fan.
    The action and more importantly the mindset of Gary during probably the most euphoric occasion of his sporting career to date to notice and single out the young fan in the crowd amongst all that hysteria does himself his family and his club proud. It sets the bar for the rest of this sport and all its participants and characters both on and off the field. A reality check if ever there was one.

  14. What next, Kieron Dyer !!!! Old crocks united coming up. What can he add to our squad other than loyalty to Mogga and permanent injury. Come on Mogga, get real.
    **AV writes: It is a short term pay per play deal with no committment at all unless he is on the pitch so Boro have nothing to lose financially. If he can play the creative passes and add something special ever now and then, he could earn his corn, who knows? You have to back the bosses’ judgment on it. If he’s not fit enough or not good enough or not mentally tuned in then he will soon be gone.

  15. Dyer? Yerjokinarenya!? Well, I suppose if it is really, really a ‘pay if you play deal’. But even then……
    I suppose Becchio’s out of the question as he seems set on The Foreign, a no account league and a big bag of loot. A big mss when we could have got him, though.
    **AV writes: Our understanding is that he will not be paid a penny if he doesn’t play. Not even a small basic retainer. I don’t think he needs the money. It is more about proving something. He has played for QPR this month and scored against West Brom so he must still have something.

  16. AV at 11.20 – ‘I did my journalist training course with …’
    You trained as a jounalist? So you’re not a plumber, care worker, barber or brickie then? Or, the best bet, a publican? Who knew?
    P.S. You did pass the course, didn’t you?

  17. Regarding the Dyer signing, as long as he doesn’t live up to his name, it’s a no brainer, it’s got to be good business.

  18. Kieron Dyer!! Is he still around? I’m surprised his DNA wasn’t found in Tesco’s Burgers!
    We might as well sign Danny Dyer.
    If Douglas Bader was still around I can imagine Guy’s comments….
    “His legs might have gone but his aerial prowess will help the team.”

  19. Kieron Dyer? Although I’ve always stood by Mowbray’s decision making on the pretext he knows more about football players than me, I still cannot see:
    A) why Kevin Thomson gets a game
    B) what , if anything Miller really offers us compared to other strikers we could have gone for at the time, and now
    C) are we expected to enthuse over the arrival of a player who has spent more time off the pitch than on it!.
    Agreed, the deal of no play, no pay might be good for the club’s bank balance, but from my eye’s it doesn’t fill us with confidence that the only player deemed necessary to give our promotion campaign the push required is someone who has been out injured more than the rest of the squad combined!
    But then Mr Mowbray does know more about players than me, I just pay £300+ every year to watch them.

  20. What is the problem that we are heading for a ton (posts to the blog) and Boro haven’t lost a match?
    It’s either AV’s writing skills or the #Mogganaut is starting fly again soon. Let’s hope is both.
    Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: We’re nowhere near a ton. Quick someone… start an argument!

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