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BORO v Hull City
 

BORO v Hull City

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Selwynoz
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BORO Away v Hull

MKM Stadium

7.45pm, Wednesday 10th April (4.45am, Thursday 11th April)

 

Well, who can you trust?

Back in February when I was previewing the home game against Plymouth, I looked at the results for the Championship over the years and tried to assess how many points would be needed to make sixth spot. After messing about with numbers, I concluded that I had no real idea. The only hope was to trust MFC to put together a string of good results and hope the others chasing the playoffs would falter.

Boro then did the exact opposite by losing at home to Plymouth and losing away at Stoke. Frankly, it looked as if we were done for but I hung on to some optimism and, lo and behold, we produced an unbeaten run of six games, delivering 14 points out of 18.

That took us into yesterday’s Swansea match with just a sniff of a chance which again unleashed my natural optimism about the Boro and made me hang on before writing this Hull preview.  There were two requirements; a win over Swansea and a set of results in our favour.

A win over Swansea seemed likely and, despite it being a pretty turgid game except for two moments of real class from Latte Lath, the anticipated win was delivered.

As a side note, I should also comment on how well Clarke played and how well he has been playing over the last few weeks. He is a rock-solid defender in the old school who will put his head, body and feet wherever it needs to be to stop goals being scored. He also has the advantage of being left footed and reasonably adept with the ball at his feet which makes it so much easier for us to play out from the back.

The other requirement was a good set of results from our competitors and I really thought that we had a chance. Assuming that West Brom were too far away to fail it remained a straight battle for sixth place and the situation before yesterday’s game was

TEAM                          Played                         Points             Goal Diff            next game

Norwich                      40                                64                    +14                   H v Ipswich

Coventry                     39                                59                    +17                   H v Leeds

Preston                       39                                59                      -3                    A v Watford

MIDDLESBROUGH        40                                58                     +3                    H v Swansea

Hull                             39                                58                    +3                    A v Cardiff

I analysed the situation as follows

  1. Norwich were playing in the East Anglian derby against an Ipswich side sitting on top of the table and surely there was a chance that they would lose. Ipswich had shown themselves able of overcoming the odds and producing results. They were desperate for points towards automatic promotion and surely, we could trust them to take something off Norwich!

RESULT – A win for Norwich.

  1. Coventry were playing against the dynamic Leeds team who, despite showing some signs of running out of puff, had produced a great run of results and were sitting in the other automatic promotion slot. Like Ipswich, they really needed a win to stay in the automatic spots and stay ahead of Leicester. Surely, we could trust them to take something off Coventry.

RESULT – A win for Coventry.

  1. Preston were playing away at Watford who are pretty much on the beach for season 23/24. Having said that, Preston is the club that nobody realises are in the playoff race and when it is pointed out, assume that they will drop away. It seemed likely that they might drop something and they duly produced a draw which enabled us to go ahead of them with our win. They do still have a game in hand but I’ve decided to trust them not to get more points than us.
  2. Hull had a possibly tricky away game against Cardiff and I was hoping rather than trusting that Cardiff would take something off them. Hull won 3-1 which put us on identical points and goal difference with them. Boro are ahead by one goal extra scored. They have a game in hand and we are playing there on Wednesday night.

If my analysis had worked out with wins for Ipswich and Leeds, we would have been 7th three points behind Norwich. As it is, we are in 8th spot, still six points behind Norwich with five games to play. They have a much better goal difference. We also have Coventry one point ahead of us with six games to play and they too have a much better goal difference.

Here is the current standing

TEAM                          Played                         Points             Maximum pts

Norwich                      41                                 67                    82

Coventry                     40                                62                    80

MIDDLESBROUGH        41                                 61                   76                   

Hull                             40                                61                    79

Preston                       40                                60                    78       

So, what is the chance. of us making the playoffs if we win all our games. That would put us on 76 points.

We should first recognise that this year is a very unusual year in the Championship. In the 20 years since 2004/2005 when the Championship reformed, there have never been two teams in the same year reaching 100 points.  The top three at the moment are

  1. LEICESTER Played 40        88 points       Possible points            106
  2. IPSWICH    Played 41        87 points                                        102
  3. LEEDS        Played 41        86 points                                        101  

In fact, there have only been 7 years in the 19 completed years when two teams have reached 90 points.  Thus, the top three are certainly soaking up the points and will keep on applying pressure. However, we still must play both Ipswich and Leeds which either makes our run-in very difficult or gives them a chance to drop points. Take your pick.

Secondly, there have only been three occasions in the nineteen when the sixth club has reached 76 points or more, 2020/21, 2016/17 and 2014/15.

So, the ongoing battle for the top three means that they can’t ease off. The broad battle against relegation will keep teams on their toes. Teams aiming at the last playoff spot will have to cope with games against both ends and will also have to cope with fixtures against the other play-off contenders. Thus, the 76 points target may actually be difficult to achieve.

Here are the fixtures

NORWICH         A v Sheff Wed            Relegation candidate

                        A v Preston               Playoff contender

                        H v Bristol City          On the beach

                        H v Swansea             On the beach/relegation outsider

                        A v Birmingham        Relegation candidate

 

COVENTRY        A v Southampton       Conserving energy for the playoffs

                        A v Birmingham        Relegation candidate/Local rival

                        H v Hull                    Playoff contender

                        A v Blackburn            Relegation outsider

                        H v Ipswich               Automatic promotion contender

                        H v QPR                    Relegation candidate

 

BORO              A v Hull                       Playoff contender

                        A v Ipswich                Automatic promotion contender

                        H v Leeds                   Automatic promotion contender

                        A v Cardiff                 On the beach

                        H v Watford               On the beach

 

HULL                 H v BORO                   

                        H v QPR                      Relegation candidate

                        A v Watford                On the beach

                        A v Coventry               Playoff contender

                        H v Ipswich                Automatic promotion contender

                        A v Plymouth             Relegation candidate

 

PRESTON           H v Huddersfield        Relegation candidate

                        H v Norwich               Playoff candidate                

                        A v Southampton       Conserving energy for the playoffs

                        A v QPR                     Relegation candidate

                        H v Leicester              Automatic promotion contender

                        A v WBA                     Conserving energy for the playoffs

 

I would, therefore, conclude that we have a slight chance of making the playoffs if we can win our games. Anything less than that suggests that one of Coventry or Norwich will stay ahead of us.

Are there any factors in our favour that will help us win these games? The way that we played yesterday was pretty humdrum but it was to a large extent caused by the very stop and start nature of the game.

We also have the fortune of returning players. I’m guessing that Hackney and Van Den Berg were held back to be fit for the next two games. Certainly after Barlaser’s uncertain game against Swansea, I can see a back three with Van Den Berg, Howson and Clarke with Hackney and O’Brien playing together in front of them. I was also disappointed not to see Bangura on the bench because we will need speed against the attacking teams.

This is all a real longshot.

We must start by beating Hull and Ipswich. If we don’t then the whole thing will probably fall over. Even four points may not be enough.

Is it possible. I really don’t know.


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Selwynoz  great statistical analysis of where we are !

In the clarts as my old Geordie grandmother used to say !

well done 

OFB 


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Selwynoz,

A statistic masterclass there, well done. Being a Boro fan I understand that nothing is certain with Boro. When we should we don't and when we shouldn't we do. Boro are just serial coupon busters in every respect.

The coming opponents mean that for the 'run' to carry on Boro have to be right at the top of their game plus some,  or be even luckier. That simply can't keep happening. Or can it? Maybe we are building up a head of steam but I still see Boro just missing out so that over the summer we can all grow our optimism and be ready for next season and whatever that brings.

Just keep on not conceding and may Latte Lathe keep scoring, there's no reason to drop him to the bench.

All the best everyone.

UTB,

John


Powmill-Naemore
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@selwynoz

Another well planned and executed opener to add to the burgeoning and assorted collection of quality pieces we have accumulated this season. Well done indeed.

It is so frustrating, isn't it, that for the sake of maybe one or two better decisions or results in the season we would be well in the mix and perhaps even favorites to take 6th place.

It is interesting to see just how high the points achieved already by the top 6 compare historically. It is clear from your analysis that in almost any other season we would still  have a very realistic chance of making the playoffs, rather than probably falling short by a couple of points.

All we can do is to win as many points as we can. I have to say, despite Boro's propensity to do very well against the top teams, when there is so much at stake now, I can't see us getting much from Ipswich. Leeds at home could be interesting and I'd give us a chance. Against Hull..well. which Boro will show up.it could go any way, win, lose or draw.

Hull are delivering when it matters and I think they just might prove too strong for us on Wednesday.

I'll never say never..well not yet anyway, but I am not holding my breath.

A draw 1 goal apiece is how I will predict for this one and with that the end of any realistic prospect of finishing in 6th (as if it is still realistic now in any case!).

 

 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Powmill-Naemore

jarkko
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@selwynoz A nice starter. Great we have a game on Wednesday to look forward to. 

Yesterday's game was not the best we have had but the result was excellent.  That's all that matters at this time of the season.

I like Latte Lath. A good example of our recent recruitment policy. He was 25 early this year so we could easily enjoy his scoring form and also defending for six or seven years.

I like LL also for his attitude. He is talking to his team mates all the time and encouraging them during the match and especially so after a match. A leader on the field. He is fastly becoming my latest favourite player. I do not understand why he never played a match for Atalanta during his seven years in there. Mind, he was on loan to seven (!) different clubs while in there. He is 25 year old now.

We do not concide many goals at the moment but we are not so good to watch either. But I don't care as long as we stay top of the form league. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by jarkko

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Thanks Selwynoz for an excellent opener with much to ponder upon.

One thing we have learnt over the years is that Boro never do anything the easy way and if they are to grab sixth spot (extremely unlikely) it will clearly not be easy and depend upon not only winning all their games but other results going their way.

I agree with Powmill that things will probably not go our way on Wednesday and we will sadly move into the “on the beach” category. 😎


jarkko
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At Hull, I would like to replace Barlaser with Howson, and put in van der Berg to defend. 

I do not think Hackney is ready to start. He won't be match fit after being out for so long time with an injury. 

I would also consider Silvera instead of Greenwood.  But naturally I do not want too many changes from a match to another.  One or two changes is enough. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

jarkko
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I started to follow Boro when I was nine year old in 1970. Soon after I started to learn English at school. And soon after that I learned some of the football vocabulary.

Anyway, I learned that it is a corner kick if the ball goes out from a defending team. And it was often called just a corner.

But now I have noticed that Maddo is saying always like: "It's a corner ball to Boro!" When did we start to say a corner ball instead of a corner kick? Any idea when and how do you say it, my collegues here?

Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

   
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Thanks for the great statistical intro Selwyn. As Paul in Boro said we are top of form table. Hull despite being just below us have won only one home game in 2024 so there is hope on Wednesday. 


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I have really appreciated your opening articles this season, Selwyn, and this was also excellent. You could scarcely have done a better job in your assessment of where we currently stand and how the rest of the season might pan out.

I also agree with your assessment of Clarke who has been like a sparkling new signing for us over the past few weeks.

Speaking personally, however, I have given up on our prospects of reaching the play-offs. And worse, it would not be a source of much excitement  to me were we to do so. We are not playing with any fluency, we are not of Premier League quality or anywhere near it, and promotion would be a disaster, not least for almost all but a handful of the current squad who would have to be dispensed with and replaced come August.

The fact that many of them must surely realise that may lie behind the lack of intensity of our recent home games and is yet another reason for my believing that we won't make the top six,


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @lenmasterman

... I have given up on our prospects of reaching the play-offs. And worse, it would not be a source of much excitement  to me were we to do so. We are not playing with any fluency, we are not of Premier League quality or anywhere near it, and promotion would be a disaster...

There's probably not many in here that would argue with you from a purely footballing perspective, Len, and in particular from a supporter's stand point. It would not be edifying to see our team struggle to achieve even a hint of self respect in the Premier League. All the same, the riches that would come to the club for even one season in the top flight and then with the parachute payments would help sustain the club in the longer term.

In that situation, if we were lucky to hold on to MC, I would be reasonably certain that with his input to the recruitment and then development of the better talent we could afford, we would avoid the Monk era errors and actually be able to, or at least be more able to, build a team we all want to watch and that has a better chance of promotion and then establishing itself.

So, while it is most unlikely we will get to the playoffs this season, I do believe it is something even the current team should be striving for until it is mathematically impossible.

This post was modified 2 months ago 4 times by Powmill-Naemore

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Thanks @selwynoz for that really good read as your final starter for the season. Or will it be....?

And yet, Len and Powmill, and yet.... I had already written off BORO's Play-Off hopes some time ago.  And yet... BORO would need to win all the remaining games (or at least fail to win only one), if there is to be any hope of getting into the Play-Offs. And there would still probably be the need for the competitor teams to slip up more than just in games against BORO. Otherwise there wouldn't be enough time/games for BORO to overhaul the teams currently competing for the final Play-Off place.

BUT - if BORO were to win all the remaining games (or maybe all but one), and therefore sneak into the Play-Offs, BORO would then undoubtedly be the form team of the Play-Off group - in fact the form team in the league.  Already with 5 wins and 2 draws in the undefeated run of 7 games to date, that run would be updated to a total of 10 wins and 2 draws out of the last 12 games (or maybe 9 wins and 3 draws?).  It always seems to be the position that one team comes steaming through at the end of the season and BORO would be, in those circumstances, that team. I doubt if any team would be wanting to play BORO in those circumstances and I'd go do far as to say that BORO would then be favourites to be promoted out of the Play-Offs. The team's form over that last almost-quarter-of the-season would be runaway Championship winners' form which, if replicated over a full season, would result in 126 points if there were 10 wins and 2 draws OR 114+ points if there were 9 wins and 3 draws in the last 12 matches of the regular season (if my maths are correct). Either way, that would be imperious form over an extended period.

The issue may become irrelevant if the game at Hull goes the wrong way (and/or the games against Ipswich or Leeds). But if those games give the dream results we hope for, we might be looking at a miraculous end to the season.  In short BORO seems to be very large odds-against getting into the Play-Offs but if by some chance the team DOES qualify, the chances of promotion through the Play-Offs are likely to expand massively and BORO would be the team nobody would want to meet.  Time will tell but, no, I will not hold my breath.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

Powmill-Naemore
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@forever-dormo 

We are Middlesbrough supporters so we know best not to hold our breaths. After all, it would never do for us reds to turn blue would it?


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@jarkko 

As I'm sure you've already learned over many, many matches that, if you're looking to hone your English skills beyond their already superb level, listening to Maddo is exactly the wrong place to start, or finish for that matter.
 
Disconcertingly he went to the same school as my kids, but I suppose a long career in football can play havoc with your use of language. Currently, his most distracting habit for me is his referring to the team in the second person as though the players are tuned in to BBC Tees while they're playing ."You've come out set up with a back five. You've tightened up at the back. Now you need to get a grip in midfield."
 
As regards the use of corner ball, I dare say that some may on occasion call it that, but my unscientific research would indicate that corner kick or corner is much more usual.
 
Regarding Maddo, excruciating though his wording can often be, I think his heart is in the right place, and when I hear him screaming hysterically with joy after an important Boro goal, I find I can forgive him for his mangled grammatical constructs. Well, perhaps not all of them.
 
This post was modified 2 months ago by Peter Surtees

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@Jarkko - I'd like to second Peter Surtees in his comments about Maddo: we all like him a lot and he DOES have his heart in the right BORO place.  But he was a professional footballer and there is an unrecognised sub-group in the Indo-European family of languages, opened specially for the language of ex-professional footballers.  It is difficult to remember specific examples but sometimes when you listen your ears will be assaulted by a new creation of words previously unknown to philology.  Not in a poetic or creative way, as with Shakespeare.  When encountered, it's like a cyclist who gets caught between two gears when changing up or down, or a person who accidentally misses a step when climbing stairs: steady progess up or down or backwards or forwards is temporarily interrupted.  The listener asks himself, under his own breath, whether he really heard that...

To be fair to him, there are many who speak the ex-professional-footballer language much more fluently than Maddo. Our erstwhile footballer is almost bi-lingual as his ordinary everyday English would pass as native-level with many people.

I keep trying to remind myself to make a note, the next time I hear an example of ex-professional-footballers' English, but somehow I never get around to doing so. The problem is a fear that if you note it, you might use it!  Like President Bush referring to "NOO-kyuh-lurh" proliferation instead of nuclear, or  Jimmy Carter using "NOO-kee-yer" (and it's said by the New York Times that he did graduate work in nuclear physicics (!!).

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

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@forever-dormo 🤣


   
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Martin Bellamy
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Another fantastic starter. We’ve had a great weekend - 3 points on Saturday whilst we headed to Staithes for the day. For all those overseas members, have a look here for what you’re missing: https://c13mpr.com/2024/04/07/a-sunny-saturday-in-staithes/


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@peter-surtees I think the Tees commentary is awful, especially when they start talking gibberish that has nothing to do with football. When Boro played Southampton the stream I had, featured the Southampton commentary team, they were very professional and spoke just about football and were very fair in their assessment of both clubs.


   
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@martin-bellamy.  Thank you Martin the photographs are absolutely stunning.  I like your Schnauzer! 😎


   
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@k-p-in-spain Staithes not far from me and they have a lovely Fish and chip shop.

 


jarkko
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@peter-surtees I love Maddo as a commentator. I prefer the Radio Tees commentary on the matches I can see via Riverside Live on the web. Mark is not as enthusiastic as Maddo, so they are a good pair together. And I like that they are local and especially Maddo knows the Boro well as a club and might have some interesting insights.

Of course I still miss Ali Brownlee. But he was a legend.

I know that spoken language is often different to the written one. And I see the professional footballers are very much  in a bubble. So we must accept what it is.

But I started to wonder if the corner ball had become more common to the traditional corner kick. So thanks for clarifying. Corner ball still does sound strange to my ears.

This blog has been very good practice for me. I have now worked nearly 16 years in an American owned company with 14 000 people world wide - but I am still the only one speaking Finnish. But most of my custoners are Finnish so I need to use my mother language, too. But my boss knows only two words of Finnish.

Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by jarkko

Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

@martin-bellamy.  Thank you Martin the photographs are absolutely stunning.  I like your Schnauzer! 😎

Thanks - that’s Ralf. He’s not the easiest dog, as he likes the sound of his own bark too much, but he’s getting better. 

 


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@jarkko I like them both too - looking forward to listening to them on Wednesday.


   
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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @malcolm

@k-p-in-spain Staithes not far from me and they have a lovely Fish and chip shop.

 

We tried to buy a house at the top end of the village but the seller messed us about. I don’t think we’ve ever had fish and chips from the chippy as we almost always park in the car park above Cow Bar on the other side. 

 


   
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Pedro de Espana
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Thank you Selwynoz for the excellent Headliner. 

The statistics were very interesting and I assume, because the top three have garnered more points than usual, that has allowed the likes of Boro to be mathmatically still in touch with sixth place. Amazing after a relatively so, so season

I think we will do well to get a result at Hull. 

Leeds and Ipswich will just have too much for us to get anything. But who knows with Typical Boro.


   
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@jarkko

Brownlee and Bernie were the best. Slaven didn't hold back on his views which were true and honest. Those at the top didn't like it and eventually cancelled the Century Radio commentary and went over to BBC Tees with Ally but no Bernie. Currently, Bernie has a podcast on every Boro game which you can watch on his Facebook page and YouTube channel. On the live ones, you can interact with him ask questions, etc, all about Boro.

  


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@martin-bellamy. A lovely link Martin. I like Staithes, especially before the crowds arrive. 

I remember going there as a young man, to a cafe at the bottom by the bridge (Bridge Cafe perhaps?)

That was when I had my Velocette Venom. Those were the days. 


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@pedro I think it’s called The Cobbles now. We had a New Year’s Eve meal there a few years ago when we stayed in The Anchorage.


   
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@martin-bellamy.  I know what you mean.  My brother had two, sadly Toby passed away last year but they still have Izzie who can be a noisy little madam who barks at everyone and everything! 😎


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@k-p-in-spain We’re on our second - there are days when I think a Cockapoo would have been easier. 🐕‍🦺


   
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