FOOTBALL is a numbers game: the comfortable victory over Reading made it three wins on the spin, three clean sheets, nine points from nine, six points off the play-offs… they are great digits to wave goodbye to a traumatic 2013 that has been dominated by a long downward spiral of negative numbers that led to Mogga’s P45.
Boro now have 36 goals. Only the top two Derby and Leicester have scored more. Of course, scoring goals was never the problem. Even under Tony Mowbray Boro were rattling the goals in: threes, fours, a cluster of 2-2 draws. The problem was keeping them out and no matter what combination of players were used, goals were seeping through – especially from set-plays deep in the red zone. Being two goals up wasn’t a guarantee of a point.
But the ever open door that was Boro’s Achilles heel has slowly creaked shut under Aitor Karanka.
Continue reading ¡No Pasarán! Boro’s New Look Steely Defence Starts From The Front
I’LL BE WITH YOU SOON. Got tomorrow’s spread to write. In the meantime, if someone wants to kick off with an appraisal of mighty Boro’s glorious defeat of table-topping Burnley and the impact of former frozen out flanker Emmanuel Ledesma, crack on….
But a few brief observations:
Continue reading Boro In Back-to-Back Victory Shocker!
OH NO! Football’s Inevitability Drive is broken!
Millwall away was a game that had “Scott McDonald late winner” written all over it. It was a dead cert daft quid magnet. So we are all out of pocket but who cares? Boro won and the ghost of Christmas past was far from scary.
Continue reading Red Lions Roar at The Den
OH NO! There goes the relegation cliche klaxon!
Jacob Butterfield has uttered the dreaded phrase: “We’re too good to go down.”
That will scare the hell out of a lot of battle scarred supporters – including a cocooned few who may not have even been too worried before those dread words were uttered.
It is part of the lexicon of the lower end of the league.
Everyone knows that once you start putting up that particular linguistic defence you are already deep in the sticky stuff. Supporters of all clubs know that phrase is one of the key indicators that a basement battle is OFFICIALLY on.
Continue reading Too Good To Go Down? Learning The Lexicon Of Life In The Drop Zone
DID you hear a loud metallic thud rumbling from the Riverside at 4.40pm on Saturday? That was the sound of the peseta dropping for Aitor Karanka.
The defence – whichever permutation of mismatched miscreants is wearing the shirts – is just not good enough. As a unit they are deeply, fundamentally flawed.
They lack organsation, cohesion, focus, concentration, understanding, nous and leadership. And, no matter what any given week’s short straw media muggins says, they clearly lack the ability to “learn from their mistakes.”
It appears to be a mental weakness ingrained in the DNA of this squad. How else can you explain their repeated vulnerability to the most predictable of set play situations?
Continue reading Last Gasp Sucker Punch: No. 17
AS FOOTBALL united to salute the memory of Nelson Mandela, a champion of racial unity and mutual respect, Boro fans were dragged reluctantly into a divisive race row after an unsavoury Quran ripping incident by a small group in the away end at Birmingham.
The club have reiterated their own strong line on racism but more importantly so have Boro supporters who were quick to condemn the handful of idiots. Here by popular demand (no, really) is the Kick It Out remix of this week’s Big Picture column.
Continue reading Kamara’s Salute Not Respected By All
WELL that was a sickener. Birmingham got a late, late leveller to mug Boro of what would have been a hard earned – and rare – away win and kick long suffering supporters squarely in the kisser. You would think we would have evolved six inch thick emotional armour against the stoppage time sucker punch but it still stings like hell.
Leaking deep into added time to a twice taken corner was a real blow. Especially after also conceding a needless penalty. All we needed was a harsh sending off to complete the shambolic defending full set.. Battling Boro had played with a real shape, spirit and solidity and were within touching distance of a result that could have been a turning point of the season before the familiar fatal flaw showed its face. It hurts. But it isn’t a great surprise.
Continue reading Brum Deal: Battling Boro Suffer Second City Sucker Punch
A LAST gasp sucker punch knocked the stuffing out of Boro at Pride Park.
The ten men had worked their nuts off to contain the Championship’s form side: “Steve McClaren’s Derby.” That Boro’s former boss engineered a painful 2-1 defeat for Boro with the goals coming in the Red Zones (45+1 and 90) was heavy with irony.
Continue reading Pride Park Sucker Punch Flaws Boro