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Boro v Swansea
 

Boro v Swansea

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Powmill-Naemore
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Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough

15h00 Saturday 6th April 2024

 

Played

W

D

L

GF

GA

PTS

POS'n

BORO

40

17

7

16

56

53

58

9th

Swansea

40

12

11

17

49

60

47

15th

 

Well then. Would you believe it? How have the match-thread rota gods so conspired to award me Swansea City at home after having previously awarded Swansea City away to me? I mean. That just blows it for me doesn’t it? I can’t try the smart alec opening paragraph in Google-Translate inspired Welsh... did that last time. No point in going through the history of how Swansea City came to be and why their original home was called the Vetch Field... done that as well. I covered our overall record against the Swans (or should that be the Jacks) last time as well. Hmmmmm. My admiration for Werder and OFB and AndyR has just gone up by much more than just one notch for them having been able to write something fresh for us all to read on every occasion with such regularity.

 

To be fair to those match-thread rota gods, it is really all self-inflicted. I volunteered for the Swansea away match when we had to get all the matches as originally assigned to Malcolm reallocated. I clearly didn’t think it through very well at all! Anyway, here I am and here we are, heading into the last six games of the regular season, which I think in general parlance is referred to as “the run in”. This means there are now just 18 points left for us to play for. Tantalisingly close to sixth place, but realistically expecting to have fallen well short come 5pm on Saturday afternoon 4th May.

 

If only and if only.

There were so many occasions this season when we have failed to take the points our results against the current top 6 suggest we should have been capable of.  For the record, we have played 10 times against the top six (won 6, drawn 1 and lost 3), yielding an average of 1.9 points per game. That compares very favourably to  our results playing the current bottom 6, against which we have played on 12 occasions (won 5, drawn 4 and lost 3), achieving the lesser average of 1.58 points per game. If only had we won in just two more, or maybe even just one more, of those games against the minnows we would have been well in the mix for sixth place now. If only and if only.

 

So, to all intents and purposes we are now playing for pride and perhaps to help put down some foundations for a serious tilt at promotion next season; and just how often have we heard that said before? After all, we are certainly not competing to finish as high as we can so as to benefit from the cash bonanza of a much bigger prize for finishing in a higher position. You know, and it is not something that has been easy to find out about, to the best of my knowledge last season’s champions (Burnley) received £100k in prize money for that quite special achievement. The runners up (Sheffield United) were awarded £50k for their sterling effort. The prize awards declined from that down the table until the bottom club Wigan, the lucky recipients of the princely sum of £7k. I don’t know for certain if those figures are the same this year, but it does show that there is precious little advantage in finishing the Championship table as high as you can, unless you will actually be one of the clubs promoted. It also demonstrates how important it can be from a business perspective to get promoted even if you do drop straight back down the following season, with the bottom three clubs in last season’s Premier League “winning” (in descending order), £6.6m, £4.4m and £2.2m in prize money. The sums I have quoted are just the prize money from the Premier League itself. They do not include any of those clubs’ (equal) share of the TV money paid to each current member of the Premier League and of course excludes the infamous parachute payments (55% of the TV broadcast revenue share in the first season, 45% in the second season and 20% in the third). The current TV deal the Premier League enjoys is £5.1billion over two seasons (last season and this), so that parachute is in the order of a whopping £127m in reward for having failed. No wonder it is getting harder and harder each year to compete at the top of the Championship when there is such a gulf in funding between existing Championship clubs and those coming down each season. More power to the Tractor Boys. I do hope they bag one of the automatic promotion places, despite that they still have to drop 3 points at home against Boro in a couple of weeks’ time 😉

 

Anyway I digress a little. I was looking for an incentive for Boro to want to win as many points as possible this season and I am struggling to get past professional pride. So, let us assume the current Boro first team squad has that [pride] in abundance and so they are really going to give it a good go on Saturday. After all, it is too early for most of us to be thinking of the beach just yet and I am sure it must be the same for our heroes, struggling to make their Championship pay packets (which I do believe are somewhere a little north of the basic minimum living wage) stretch out till the summer so they can afford to take their well-earned summer break in the warmth that is sorely missed by young Riley McGree. So, pride it is that we need to win for on Saturday.

 

And what of our "hwntws" opponents and how well does their form stack up against ours since last we met on 16th December, when the Boro ran out as winners by 2 goals to 1 at the Swansea.com Stadium? Since then both teams have played 18 matches and both equally 9 at home and 9 away. In this period Boro has fared rather better than the Swans, collecting 28 points (W8 D4 L6) to Swansea’s 21 points (W6 D3 L9).

 

That sounds positive enough for us so far, but we all know our home form has been a little suspect this season so we ought to compare our home form with their away form. Well,  Boro has managed to gather 12 points at home (W3 D3 L3) since that time in December, while Swansea has managed 9 points away from home (W2 D3 L4). So, despite our home form clearly being weaker than our away form we have still outperformed Swansea over this period, whichever way you look at it.

 

Finally let’s consider the current form table, which covers the last 6 matches and which also shows the Boro in a particularly good light. There is only Ipswich with one more point, and Leeds, equal on points and goal difference but having scored 2 more goals, that are sitting higher than us in the form table; although our lower mid-table ranking for recent home form does still serve to be a worry.

Boro                    : WWWDDW - 3rd overall                (home form - DLLWDW - 14th overall)

Swansea              : WDLWLL - 12th overall                 (away  form - LWWDLD - 12th overall)

So there we have it. According to these stats, Boro ought to be too strong for Swansea on Saturday, but with that worrying inability to convert good possession and chances into goals (I stole that line word for word from the header I wrote for the away game – funny how at least that fact hasn’t changed !!) it is difficult to see us enhancing our goal difference by very much. Fortunately we have tightened up at the back and so perhaps it will be difficult for Swansea to find a way to goal.

 

Actually when you take a look at what Swansea fans are posting on their various forums you can read a lot of similar concerns to ours. Dominating in both of their last two games against relegation threatened Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (away, drew 1-1) and against struggling QPR on Monday (home, lost 1-0) the fans are complaining they are too slow and ponderous and despite all the possession they do not really threaten up front. There is a genuine concern that unless results will begin to turn around, the Swans could yet be drawn into the scrap near the foot of the table. Their cause has not been helped with injuries to two of their experienced and influential players. Former Polish international winger Przemyslaw Placheta had to come off against Sheffield Wednesday with a hamstring problem and is certain to miss the game at Middlesbrough, though hopefully will be fit to play again for them before the end of the season. Welsh international midfield maestro Joe Allen came off after 35 minutes against QPR with a toe problem, having only just returned following a groin injury and is now a doubt for Saturday’s visit to the Riverside.

 

All in all I think everything is pointing to Boro completing the double, which will keep at least some people dreaming of the miracle. However, this is Middlesbrough FC we are talking about and Swansea City are still a few points shy of absolute safety. What could go wrong I ask you? I’m sure most if not all of you will have something to say about that.

 

Me? Well I think I am going to let my heart be ruled by the current statistics. I don’t expect it will be an easy game for us, but I do think we will collect all three points. Close game, 1-0 to Boro.

 

Over to you.


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Powmill

Brilliant absolutely Brilliant!

I so really enjoyed reading this just before lights out and bed time.🥱 

Gardener coming at 7 to do some work and roofer to do ridge tiles at 8 so decided I needed an early night to keep up with them making cups of tea !

I hope you’re right and we do win 1 0 but but but !

I’m going for Boro3 !

I was so close on Monday to getting that result !

well done and thanks 

OFB


Selwynoz
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Powmill

Brilliant absolutely Brilliant!

I so really enjoyed reading this just before lights out and bed time.🥱 

OFB

@Original Fat Bob

That's a bit harsh suggesting that Powmill's intro was a perfect way to get to sleep. (Just kidding) I too really enjoyed the words from our resident Swansea expert. He also gave me the courage to start writing the intro to the Hull game with an optimistic outlook.

I can just imagine the excitement that will start to build up if Ipswich do their duty in the early game and see off Norwich and we then take care of Swansea. However, as Powmill says, this is the Boro and nothing happens as it is supposed to. 

UTB

 


jarkko
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@Powmill-Naemore An excellent opener as ever. And well done as you had Swansea already before. But you are an expert on them, now.

Well, Michael Carrick is hoping Rav van den Berg and Hayden Hackney will be back in the Middlesbrough squad to support the club’s promotion push in Saturday’s home game with Swansea City.

Van den Berg and Hackney could both be involved against Swansea at the weekend, while Dael Fry, Alex Bangura and Josh Coburn could all return to action before the end of the campaign.

But I wouldn't be surpriced if Bangura will be on the bench against Swansea on Saturday. Especially so as McGree is injured and we need some back up on the left now.

I don't expect Hackney or Bangura to start, but van den Berg might be drafted in, even though Johnny Howson has played superbly in defence. 

I hope we play as well as in the last six matches when we have averaged 2,3 points per match. And the two last ones have been very entertaining to watch - even we missed a goal from the penalty spot to make it Boro3. And we should have had two penalties more against Wednesday, too. 

I hope we will win on Saturday as that will keep our season live. Up the Boro! 

 


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @selwynoz

@Original Fat Bob

That's a bit harsh suggesting that Powmill's intro was a perfect way to get to sleep...

🤣

 


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@powmill    Superb Headliner Powmill, especially as has been said, it was a double header for you. Coming up with something new every time must be so difficult and next season more so. 

When you look at the points dropped against the lesser sides and the system MC ploughed on with when in reality he should not have done so, it makes the disappointing season, even more so. 
The Champinship has been very competitive this season and will no doubt still have some more twists and turns to it. For the Boro in tenth to be mathematically able to reach sixth place is remarkable. Those games against the likes of Rotherham and Plymouth will haunt us for some time to come.


Pedro de Espana
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Only newspaper talk, but not what we need to see. 

Middlesbrough's Senegalese goalkeeper Seny Dieng, 29, is being watched by Premier League clubs including Newcastle and Crystal Palace after an impressive season in the Championship.


   
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jarkko
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Posted by: @pedro

@powmill    Superb Headliner Powmill, especially as has been said, it was a double header for you. Coming up with something new every time must be so difficult and next season more so. 

Well, Michael Carrick can help us in there.  Get promoted, and we have a lot of new clubs to wrote about 🤣🤣🤣.

Up the Boro!

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @jarkko

Posted by: @pedro

@powmill    Superb Headliner Powmill, especially as has been said, it was a double header for you. Coming up with something new every time must be so difficult and next season more so. 

Well, Michael Carrick can help us in there.  Get promoted, and we have a lot of new clubs to wrote about 🤣🤣🤣.

Up the Boro!

 

I'll drink to that 🍻 

 


   
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Clive Hurren
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Fantastic opener, Powmill! I asked to swop my Leeds assignment because I’d done the away game and didn’t want to repeat myself. You’ve produced a masterpiece of freshness and real interest, despite having written about Swansea earlier. You have my utmost admiration! 

I think this will be a much more challenging game than Wednesday offered. Nonetheless, I expect Boro to win, perhaps 1-0 or 2-1. I guess it depends, as ever, on which version of Boro turns up on Saturday. But we’re in good form, playing good football and showing lots of confidence. 🤞🤞🤞


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@pedro.  Yes and No in my view.  If we have to sell and make a good profit and can then replace at a lower cost then surely that is good for the club and what the new operating model is about.

Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer we retain his services but we are not short of keepers and the market place tends to dictate these situations; at least we have him until the end of the season at which point it will be a case of watch this space. 😎


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@Powmill-Naemore.  Excellent opener thank you without any copy and paste evident! 😉

I enjoyed your statistical analysis and comparisons between the two sides which leads me to believe that there is only one outcome, typical Boro will turn up! 

No seriously, I will be very disappointed if we do not win on Saturday or at least keep the unbeaten run going.

Hopefully we can start to see the return of some of the “crocks” with one or two getting a late run out from the bench.

That in itself poses problems for MC, if RvDB starts then what does he do with JH and the midfield, as both O’Brien and Barlaser have been performing well of late? All will be revealed on Saturday, including a win for Boro hopefully. 😎


   
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Selwynoz
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Posted by: @pedro

Only newspaper talk, but not what we need to see. 

Middlesbrough's Senegalese goalkeeper Seny Dieng, 29, is being watched by Premier League clubs including Newcastle and Crystal Palace after an impressive season in the Championship.

@pedro

if we get a good price, we might have to sell. Remember that in Hemmings and especially Sol Brynn we have two exceptional young keepers out on loan. 

utb

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Selwynoz

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Posted by: @pedro

Only newspaper talk, but not what we need to see. 

Middlesbrough's Senegalese goalkeeper Seny Dieng, 29, is being watched by Premier League clubs including Newcastle and Crystal Palace after an impressive season in the Championship.

Pedro, you forgot to mention Ipswich and Seville are interested in Dieng, fortunately it is reported that all these teams are looking at him as backup to their current No 1.

Come on BORO.

 


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Powmill-Naemore, apologies I didn’t thank you for another excellent opener, the standard is very high which you are all maintaining.

Come on BORO.


   
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Thanks Powmill. In spite of your self-imposed limitations in not wishing to repeat yourself you have produced a fresh and very interesting piece, which statistically points to a Boro win. I agree though that this means little when we are talking about the Boro.

I wasn't much impressed by the mid-week performance. For the first half-hour we were awful and could easily have been a couple of goals down. A repeat of that kind of lethargy and I fear the worst. 

We looked better in the period either side of half-time, without creating much and it took what were in effect two own goals to beat a side that looked relegation bound to me.

We need to see much more pace, energy, motivation and drive on Saturday if we are to get a result. 

The stats won't do it for us.

Thanks again, Powmill, for the stimulating opener.


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Great stuff Powmill and as always the soothsayer's work seems to be hellish difficult with Boro but I console myself that at least Boro aren't playing Rotheram. Small mercies then. No predictions about the unpredictables from me, just don't concede Boro.

About Dieng, we keep a few clean sheets and interest is growing. I'm surprised West Ham and Everton aren't in the queue!

All the best everyone.

UTB,

John


Pedro de Espana
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@exmil. I only read the early addition, before Ipswich and Sevilla were added. 🤣  🤣


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@lenmasterman I agree Len, Sheff Wed, made us look better then we were and could /should have scored before we did.

Whilst Barlaser had a decent game, well that says it all about the opposition. May be hard on him, but true 

As for Sol Brynn and Zak Hemming. How good are they really???


   
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Posted by: @pedro

@lenmasterman I agree Len, Sheff Wed, made us look better then we were and could /should have scored before we did.

Whilst Barlaser had a decent game, well that says it all about the opposition. May be hard on him, but true 

As for Sol Brynn and Zak Hemming. How good are they really???

I agree with both of you.  We made hard work beating a very poor side and were assisted by two fortuitous deflections.

Our shots to shots on target statistics was poor with 23 shots in total and only 5 on target. Indicating some poor shooting/decision making and a clear area for improvement. 😎

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by K P in Spain

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Well done, again, Powmill.  I accept that Boro's results in the last half-dozen games have improved the team's position, whatever doubts might be raised about the quality of the opposition in some cases, but there is no doubt the quality of the starter pieces on here has been well ahead of the quality of the football we have watched (particularly at The Riverside).

It is that "home" element of the game against Swansea that causes me to have concerns. But, on balance, I have a feeeling BORO will have too much for Swansea this coming Saturday. I'm not saying BORO will stuff Swansea.  The foam hands are safely stowed away.  I doubt I'd predict BORO would stuff Hartlepool if they played each other this weekend - maybe win 2-0 without too many scares - but even against Pools, you'd be a brave or a foolish man to put money on BORO scoring a hatful. I predict a tight game against Swansea, with a 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 final score.  We will see...


Powmill-Naemore
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Thank you everybody, for the kind comments. Barring the miracle coming to pass, that's my last match thread opener this year. I am already looking forward to writing next season's Swansea pieces !

There will of course be something to accompany the final COTS table at the end of the season, no matter how embarrassing my own predictions have looked all year.

Talking of predictions, there is of course a glaring flaw in my logic arriving at a probable victory for Boro on the day. That is that well known truism: there are lies,  damned lies and then there's statistics. So basing my prediction on something as wholly unreliable as my cherry-picked statistics was surely a mistake and as open an invitation to Typical Boro as we could imagine.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @pedro

Only newspaper talk, but not what we need to see. 

Middlesbrough's Senegalese goalkeeper Seny Dieng, 29, is being watched by Premier League clubs including Newcastle and Crystal Palace after an impressive season in the Championship.

If the price is right, let him go. I am sure we will benefit more from the transfer fund getting a boost. As others have suggested we have two prospects out on loan and both have impressed out on their loans these last couple of years.

That said, I will be delighted if he stays with us.

 


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@powmillnaemore Congratulations on another great starter - if only our strikers could reach the standards of the fantastic writing on here, we’d all be booking hotels in London for the play offs. 
I see that the weather forecast for Saturday is for sunshine and high winds - it’ll be a day to keep the ball on the deck and hopefully to stick it in the net.


Selwynoz
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@pedro 

All I know is what I read which refers to both of them in very positive terms.

Zak Hemming

Hemming joined Kilmarnock F.C. on a season-long loan in June 2021. He conceded only one goal in the first month of the season and won Kilmarnock's player of the month award for August 2021. Hemming helped Kilmarnock achieve promotion as champions to the Scottish Premiership during the 2021-22 season. He kept 15 clean sheets in 36 appearances and was named Kilmarnock's Young Player of the Year. He was also selected as the Scottish Championship's goalkeeper in the Team of the Season.

He then had a disappointing season as Kilmarnock's number two keeper in 22/23. I don't know why but he seemed to drop out of favour.

This season he has had a lot of very positive reviews with St Mirren in the SPL. He has played 39 games in different competitions and delivered 15 clean sheets. 

He's just turned 24 and so is, perhaps, 5 years off his prime. 

Next year could be Boro number 2/3 or on loan to a Championship/League 1 side

Sol Brynn

He had a number of loans including 6 months in Scotland.

He joined Swindon for the 22/23 season. During his time there, he won three player of the month awards and was voted as their player of the season. 

On 30 May 2023, it was announced by Middlesbrough that Brynn had signed a two-year contract extension with the club. 

He joined Leyton Orient on a season-long loan in July 2023 and has played 38 games. He has kept 13 clean sheets and is reported to be a target for a number of clubs. They are tenth in League 1.

He will turn 24 in October of this year and so, like Hemming, is a great age to move up the ladder. 

I sense that he is ahead of Hemming in the pecking order but don't know for certain if either is ready to replace Dieng. However, there are plenty of good young keepers getting their chance.

UTB

 

 

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Selwynoz

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I’m going for Boro3 !

 

OFB


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

I’m going for Boro3 !

 

OFB

I like to see a man that is sure in his convictions

 


   
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@martin-bellamy 

I reckon that we'd be above Leicester and almost there! OFB, you are indeed an optimist.

UTB,

John

This post was modified 2 months ago by John Richardson

   
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One thing I’d forgotten to do was to save posts in another file prior to copying onto the blog.I had draughted out a post extolling the merits of the swans and their danger man right winger Ronald (without the O!) 

Then I blooming lost the post !

I quite often lose the plot !

So that is why I posted the short message

Boro3 

You all know what I mean !

 

OFB


   
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PS

The wind has died down thankfully !

I mean natures wind not mine !

OFB


   
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