Take Aim: Boro – Turning Self Inflicted Foot Wounds Into An Art Form

BORO should be congratulated for finding ever more elaborate and outlandish ways to shoot themselves in the foot.
How do you surpass losing a two goal lead in midweek? Easy. Give the opposition two early penalties, fight back to lead,,, then throw it away. Preferably in comic fashion.
The Heath Robinson contrived chaos of the Bournemouth game was mayhem constructed from far-fetched planks of implausibility, lashed together with strands of predictable frailty and left over cogs and sprockets from previous cock-ups. Then all balanced precariously on top of a big red self-destruct button.
Seriously, this is award winning stuff…. for a sit-com. Boro’s matchday plot-lines are badly scripted with groans greeting the predictable set-piece moments and most of the laughs coming from slapstick moments, well signalled mix-ups and cack-handed acting.
Who’d have believed it? Trailing to two penalties in the opening 12 minutes Boro showed real resolve to battle back playing some exciting, enterprising stuff to deservedly level and then take the lead – only to then fumble at the crucial moment, mistakenly grabbing a pistol in a farcical firearm misunderstanding and put a dum-dum bulletright through their own size nines. Who is writing this stuff? It’s like something out of the Brittas Empire (one for the teenagers there).
Who else but Boro could concede three to a side who didn’t create a single chance from open play? Steele never had a save to make. He barely touched the ball except to pick the ball out of the net. Throw in some suicidal defending, an own goal and a red card and you have all the ingredients of a classic ‘typical Boro’ moment.
One day we’ll look back at this and laugh. Remember that week when we shipped five goals, gave away three penalties (and it could have been three more) and then rounded it off with an own goal and a second red card in four days. Ho bloody ho. It will become a badge of honour like Andy Dibble’s one week, two game, nine goal nightmare and losing a 4-1 lead at Norwich in the last eight minutes.
On the plus side Boro showed real spirit to come from two down and look good going forward: Jacob Butterfield played some exquisite searching balls down the channels and when he syncs with the movement of the front three he will be a very useful player.
Muzzy Carayol was a real threat today after a couple of off days showing pace and trickery and a couple of fantastic crosses as well as scoring a goal – although it would be nice if him and Adomah could both do it on the same day.
The biggest positive of the day though was Kei Kamara. The livewire front runner has the makings of a serious cult hero with his hard work, instinct to get into good positions and ability to stick it in the net. And a real sense of joy about his game too. That’s nice. At the minute he is a goal a game striker after scoring on his away and home debuts in a dramatic week. I hope he doesn’t think it is like this all the time.
Although to be fair, it is.
More later…

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22 thoughts on “Take Aim: Boro – Turning Self Inflicted Foot Wounds Into An Art Form

  1. After your reference to Yosemite Sam AV, it was good to see the lads continue with the Looney Tunes vein for you.
    The Boro’s 18 yard box is starting to resemble that famous cartoon cloud with boots and fists sticking out of it, complete with “Biff, Keraang and Ouch” displayed over it.
    The art of slapstick is not dead. “Boro’s Got Talent”.

  2. ‘One day we’ll look back at this and laugh’
    If you didn’t laugh then you’d cry.
    Wasn’t at the game as I’m offshore on nightshift. I woke up at 15:20, logged on to Boro+, put SSN on the tv and nearly had to do a double take. Two pens in the first 20 mins takes some doing, another ‘only Boro’ moment.
    I don’t think we’re to far away from being a decent team at this level, a tighter defence and a slightly better conversion rate in front of goal and we’d be right in the mix.
    To top it all, typical Boro go from 0-2 to 3-2 and we all know that the good work to turn it around will be undone by individual mistakes. I can’t think of a team that makes more individual mistakes and bad decision making than us. Every side containing Titus Bramble made less mistakes than we do.
    The crazy thing next on Boros agenda will be to race into a 0-3 lead at QPR and snatch a draw from the jaws of victory again.
    Still, I wouldn’t change it for anything, it’s why we love the Boro.

  3. The four first posts sum up my feelings as well. Nothing to add other than just keep patient. The wins will come with this team as we have goals for written all over it. Give Mogga time until end of this year and let’s see where we are come December.
    Even Rhys is my favourite player, it would be interesting to see the defense in the following three games, when Rhys is serving his ban for a straight red. I have high hopes for young Gibson. He is said to be natural leader and he has done his job already on loan at Tranmere last season. So really looking forward to seeing him play the three games now.
    Also interesting to see if Mogga brings somebody in on loan now as Hines not just yet fit, Woody can hit an injury anytime and Rhys – as said – is serving a three-game ban. Need cover there now. But Gibson should be first choice now for the three games.
    Up the Boro!

  4. Five winning positions surrendered in eight games at the expense of 12 points. Those 12 points would puts us top of the league.
    Our defence does not have the presence of mind or discipline to shut up shop. The need for a butt ugly shouty organiser is absolutely paramount. The suspension of Williams may hopefully force this. It also affords the opportunity to address the captaincy. Williams is not a captain. Kamara ?

  5. Great piece as ever AV,after Forest midweek you couldn’t have imagined it would have got even worse against Bournemouth. You have to laugh otherwise you’d cry!!
    Redcar Red –
    Good post! You summed up everything perfectly!
    Always expect the unexpected with Boro,so QPR next week,clean sheet and a spawny injury time 1.0 win??

  6. Entertaining match?? Well as we all know in the Championship especially, its the result that matters the most, not the entertainment. QPR have now won 1-0 five times.
    So how bad is our defence? I have always thought the two CH´s were not good enough when played together, but are the two FB´s also? Or is it Steele. Do they not get sufficient protection from the midfield?
    I can only generally go by reports and postings on here as I do not see many matches. But we already have differing opinions. Some think Woodgate and Williams are the best in the division. Others that Steele does command his box.
    For me when you play (basically) wingers, you do not get the same discipline from them as other players, so playing two in the same team is a luxury we cannot afford, plus “wingers” are notably inconsistent.
    Also TM does not agree with Redcar Red in his analysis of defending, we have already tried with two on the half way line he said.
    listening to his post match speech, I got may be the impression that a new CH might just be in the offing…….heard anything AV? and not Ayala I hope.
    **AV writes: I think Mogga will have been on the phone all day to get a centre-back in before the weekend. There are a few they have made inquiries about already.

  7. The defence as a whole was woeful. Williams had a dreadful game. And I’d like to give a special mention to George Friend, whose defensive full-back play was straight out of junior school. He was particularly at fault for their third goal.
    Boro put Bournemouth under serious, sustained pressure for 30 minutes in the second half, creating a number of opportunities. Why oh why, then, did we immediately take the foot off the gas and retreat towards our own goal as soon as we had gone in front? Why oh why wasn’t the manager yelling at them to get out and push forward? Bournemouth then put us under five minutes of pressure themselves, and inevitably, equalised. All of us in the ground could see this coming; had Mogga perhaps nipped out for a pee?
    I did enjoy the performances of Kamara, Butterfield and Carayol. I scored each of them eight.

  8. First posting in months and glad to be back to enjoy the ups and downs of this team.
    We are stuck in neutral and cannot get over the line for that vital first home win.
    I left the ground befuddled, for every negative ie a leaky defence, there was a positive, fast paced wingers,one criticism of the team cancelled by a positive display by either Butterfield and Kemara and so on.
    We did not play badly but we were not ruthless enough.
    Too early to reach a definitive view of this team. One thing is clear we should have made our substitutions earlier, there were tired legs out there.
    I like what I saw of Kemara, liked him even more after his interview on radio.
    Has any one elsed noticed how many of Mogga’s statements,opinions, are qualified and conditional, which to me. reflects doubt and uncertainty?
    The team at the moment is not bad, but it is not good, its a stop go, spluttering kind of season so far.
    More frustration I fear in the short term.
    **AV writes: I don’t think it is uncertainty with Mogga. It is a conscious attempt not to be tied down to a statement that can later be used as a weapon against him. Most managers are like that. They are as astute as politicians dancing around definitives. I can assure you he is much more forthright off the record.

  9. I have seen just the highlights of matches but quite often the full backs have been sleeping. Yes, Friend is great at going forward but not always there in a right position when the opposition scores.
    So an organizer needed but then Woody should be able to do that. Up the Boro!

  10. If we were to line up our players to pick the best eleven schoolyard style, then I think it’s fair to say that Woody, Rolls Rhys/Rhys Pudding and Jorge Amigo would figure in most people’s line up probably in the first half dozen picks.
    It’s equally fair to say though that the combination isn’t working. The third goal was final straw time for me, Jorge’s probably still trying to get his balance now after being twisted and turned like a twisty turny thing and I will never know what possessed Woody to hang a leg out like that. Perhaps a collective panic sets in because none of them trust each other? I know I don’t.
    Very kind of Wiggy to recommend me as the answer “a butt ugly shouty organiser”, but really this is no time to let our friendship sway his decision. Can’t argue with the sentiment though. Does anyone have Brian Kilcline’s number?
    I still feel that we are so close to being a good side, that’s the frustration.

  11. Very frustrating as i agree with most this team does not need much to start firing.
    TMs two signings so far seem to be very good ones.
    Not getting to the games doesn’t give me much say but I do get to see all the goals.
    It seems to me that we do not close down and we do not tackle. We allow too many crosses into the box and the guy crossing doesnt need time to pick out a player because the box is so congested anything can happen.
    As for coming through the middle we seem to allow them far too much time on the ball and we come back all the way to our penalty area before somebody decides to put the boot in. Hence free kicks from scoring positions and bookings and deflections etc.
    If the defence is weak we should play higher up the field. It may be said what about a breakaway.Our defence may not be quick but when have we had a one on one against us this season.
    Its a fine line we are nearly there but we must remember the Ipswich game which reminded me of some of the horror games in the second half of last season.
    Lets hope we move towards the former rather than the latter of those two options.

  12. Dennis –
    do you mean someone a bit like Paolo Di Canio? Please give me Mogga every time, thank you. I like the Teessiders more.
    Up the Boro!

  13. On a whole you have to look at the defensive frailties of the team, we cannot defend from set pieces and we have to many people out of position if a team decides to venture forward.
    Looking at the matches this season we lack organisation and concentration when defending in open play but especially at set pieces ie corners. We have seen on numerous occasions ball watching players or three players go with one man, again lacking any organisation.
    Steel for some reason seems rooted to the spot or cannot get anywhere near the ball due to over crowding which like others have said on here making another point why do we not leave a man up and stop the opposition from allowing the big men to come forward at every corner.
    Losing late goals still needs to be addressed. Any manager would know that you should intensify the training at the end of each session and not ease of gradually at the end and you never know we might score a couple of late goals ourselves.
    Rant over but Mogga please get some organisation into the side and drill into them the importance of concentration.

  14. Not knowing whether to laugh or cry sums it up perfectly.
    Two nil down within 15 minutes after giving away two penalties, a centre back sent off, the other concedes an own goal and a left back who is turning into this season’s Bikey, its more like a ‘Carry On’ film than a football match. Three goals conceded without the opposition getting one shot on target in open play, it really is joke defending.

  15. Some excellent contributions on here as usual. I see a lot of the posts are lamenting our defence and rightly so, but doesn’t Jason Steele have to share some of the responsibility?
    I have yet to be convinced he is the type of keeper that we need. He has good handling and positional ability which are important but for me he needs to communicate and scream at the defence ‘Schmeichel style’ to get the defenders where they should be. All good teams have to start with a good keeper and I don’t think we would be any better with John Terry and Gary Cahill in front of Steele…..
    **AV writes: Steele at fault? Two penalties and an unstoppable own goal? Harsh. At Forest in midweek he made two brilliant saves and stopped a penalty!

  16. AV –
    Always come through the website to see what is going on such as JP’s articles, I am sure your lords and masters want us to be bombarded by advertising.
    I have added you to my favourites

  17. Suffice to say that suicidal defending cost what would have been a handsome win.
    I thought that the emotive debate on Radio Brownlee about defending corners was beside the point considering that none of the 3 goals were conceded from a corner.
    At least our new signing from Kansas has made a whirlwind start. Less tin man defending would have set us off down the Boro Brick Road. Will we be somewhere over the rainbow by the end of May?
    **AV writes: I thought that corner thing was a little incongruous too. There is a very interesting discussion to be had about the tactical logic to it (a lot of big clubs do it) – we have conceded enough goals via that route! – but in the heat of an after match point-scoring session when some people are looking for any weapon they can find (and will not listen to the answer anyway) is not really the time for it.
    Ditto zonal/man marking.

  18. Having earned the nickname Rolls Rhys , judging by this seasons performances maybe we should start calling him Skoda or Lada.
    Hopefully Ben Gibson will now get a chance to show whether he’s a young Southgate , Mogga or a Pallister in the making ,or a future Shrewsbury Town loanee.
    **AV writes: Yes, the Lada reference was made in the office today.

  19. Thanks for fixing up the web site AV. Simple really, the banner photo in a story needs to be landscape not portrait. Loved your alternative headline though. Whilst the team may not yet have figured out how to use the fantastic new system, they still have at least one quality journo on staff.
    Unfortunately now the ‘mystery man’ has been revealed I’m not so excited.

  20. It’s all so predictable, if it walks like a Duck, looks like a Duck, then i’m afraid it’s a Duck! Seems to be the theme at the moment.
    Better sooner, rather than later.

  21. I usually find AV blog on the NewsNow site /Miiddlesbrough,
    See Di Canio got canned because of player power. This once again is the reason this stupid window idea should be scrapped. Your stuck with players pouting and you cant move them on.

  22. A few people have used the Stat that Boro conceded three goals without Bournemouth having a shot on target in open play as proof that we can’t defend – but doesn’t that just mean that the Boro defence on the whole did their job and prevented Bournemouth from threatening our goal?
    OK it was still three individual errors or bad luck that resulted in the goals – Rhys seemed to be a bit rash with the penalty and the red card but I would say Richardson and Woodgate were unlucky.
    So Mogga is now on the search for loan defenders but unless we can get that solid strong leader at CB then it may be better to give Gibson his chance – otherwise how he going to get the chance to progress by being on the bench for the whole season.
    Whilst Boro still may hope a playoff spot can be achieved this year, it may in general be better for the long term to give the likes of Gibson and Smallwood more pitch time to make them genuine first team options.
    Other stats are saying that this is the worst start by Boro for 30 years but we have probably performed far worse and nicked more points in other seasons. Anyway, if this current trend continues then I’ll look forward to the 4-4 at QPR.
    **AV writes: I think Woody WAS unlucky to turn the own goal in … but the problem was the flurry of balls coming in from that flank as Friend was turned inside out in a 10 minute spell when he looked like he’d stepped out of the crowd. And that was the third game running he had an headless spell where he was roasted and looked alarmingly like he’d lost his bearings.
    Williams tackle was rash… but again it wasn’t the first one. He has made a string of them in the last few weeks. He gave away a penalty at Forest (and should have been shown a red there) and could have given away another. He has been caught for pace, caught out of position and dragged all over (partly having to cover for Friend when he has gone walkabout.)
    It has been a very bad run of games for the defence. It is creaking alarmingly just as the frontline seems to be gelling.

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