Coventry v Boro
It's that time of the week again.
The time we play Coventry.
Like a bad dream it seems that every day I wake up and see the happy, beaming face of Mark Robbins. Or Neil Warnock because if we're not playing Coventry we must be playing against Warnock Utd.
Anyway, enough of that. I've added a photo of Steve Gibson driving Chuba to Lens.
By 5pm on Saturday 4 of our last 5 league matches will have been against Coventry. So far we have drawn 2 of them, lost 1 and scored just 1 goal. So here's hoping that the usual definition of insanity will not apply on Saturday.
Speaking of Coventry, how are they looking right now?
They've sold their talisman and, like us, are having to rebuild after six loan players went back to their parent clubs. They're also having to contend with all manner of speculation about their star midfielder (and Boro nemesis) Gustavo Hamer.
They have been very busy in the transfer market, replacing Gyokeres with Ellis Simms and Haji Wright. Alongside that they have picked up some excellent Championship players in the form of Dasilva and Latibeaudiere. If Mark Robins can get them to gel as a team they will be strong contenders this season again.
And what about us? Well 24 hours ago there was a definite miasma of doom and gloom on Teesside. We were 1-0 down against Huddersfield's rejects, Giles had spurned us and we were playing a left winger at centre forward. However, a day's a long time in football. We ran out winners and we have decent looking links to an attacking left back and an Archer regen at centre forward.
I could tell you what I think but this thread is all for you, my droogs. So, you tell me
What team will Carrick pick?
What team would you pick?
What do you reckon the score will be?
Chuba - will he stay or will he go?
And, why is the sky blue?
Questions posed and no clear answers.
A lovely technical write up to make us all think but as Boro supporters we know we shouldn't overthink anything about Boro. It'll be physical against Coventry bit I feel Mr Carrick will stand by his principles and it will pay off. Now that isn't a prediction for, or of, the result but I don't think Boro will lose. I will say no more for fear of placing the hexes on them!
The sky here has been mostly grey but it's always blue above the clouds, my nephew was a fast jet pilot and said it's always a lovely day above the clouds. Chuba will go in my opinion because he seems to be the cornerstone of our purchasing power. As for the score who knows but from behind the couch in a blacked out room predictions cannot get through the padded walls. The team? Well he must have some clear ideas after Tuesday but patience would seem to be the password.
Ken I hope you are as well as can be expected and staying strong, for the rest of us our health depends on Boro winning. . .
All the best to everyone and
As Johnny Nash once sang “there are more questions than answers” which is always the thing with Boro.
a good opener and with Coventry losing their first game as well, then they will be looking for a win at home.
Having consulted the Pools Panel experts, i am going for a score draw although whether that be one, two or three, I have no idea. One thing though with our defence at present, conceding is a fair bet.
I don’t think we can learn much from yesterday’s team and I hope Carrick will go for
McNair Fry Lenihan Coulson
Howson Hackney McGree
Jones Rogers Silvera
As to who he will play, who knows.
I would prefer not to have McNair at RB but there isn’t really an alternative right now.
Exactly the right questions to ask.
I hope that we don't repeat the mistake of taking the ball to Coventry leaving them free to pick us off. I watched their game against Leicester and they played the same 'box' midfield that they used against us last season (and that Millwall copied). They nicked a goal and could have won the match except for the overall high quality of the Leicester team which finally wore them down and scored twice.
We have to find a way to draw a team out and attack them without leaving us vulnerable. The Leicester match was an away game for Coventry and so I will be interested to see if they play this same style at home. Can Sims be as good as Gyokeres who was so instrumental in getting the ball and holding it up as the rest of the team arrived. Can Hamer vanish between now and Saturday?
Maybe Carrick tries a back three to give us a bit more cover against the counter-attack. A 3-4-2-1 might work. Something like
If he goes with four at the back - which will presumably be McNair-Fry-Lenihan-Coulson with Howson-Hackney in front of them then I'd like to see a front three of Silvera, Rogers and McGree behind Forss with Barlaser, Jones, Akpom and Coburn coming on to a) change the game or b) see us through to the win. Pick your own option based on optimism level.
I'll go for a win with Akpom and Coburn scoring. There's crazy optimism for you.
Incidentlly, did anyone else notice that on the MFC website there are pictures of all of the players but Dijksteel is the only one wearing last year's shirt. Any conspiracy theories as to why that might be?
That is a great opener and raises the bar even further on the standard that this blog has become as the best Boro blog by far anywhere in the world.
Many thanks for your contribution it’s appreciated.
I’m going for a 2-1 Boro win !
Many thanks Deleriad for a hugely enjoyable and stylish headliner - including that killer stat of 4 of our last 5 league games being against Coventry! Groundhog Day indeed.
I forget who said ‘Ask no questions hear no lies’ but I’m sure some questions probably don’t even have an answer at the moment.
Though it’s worth pointing out that Boro like many clubs are starting the season trying to rebuild half their first team - while at the same time getting players fit and hoping not to lose other key players.
The transfer window is clearly not fit for purpose and it make August through to mid September something of a lottery. We can only be reassured that Michael Carrick is cool and not interested in pointing fingers of blame - plus appears very good at getting the best out of the players he has.
As for the prospects of being sent to Coventry again? I’m saying nothing…
Many thanks for a brilliant opener, Deleriad.
I was quite impressed with Coventry in their defeat away to Leicester and clearly Mark Robins has a blueprint to stifle and beat us. That does leave me a little low on confidence for this one but you never know. There were some tactical tweaks in midweek that might well have helped Carrick in his search for his best combination, particularly the positioning of one or two players.
I go into this game more in hope than expectation.
Thanks for the great headliner for the thread Deleriad.
It really is groundhog day isn't it, but I have to believe we will be able to upset Coventry this time around.
Never mind Johnny Cash's more questions than answers, I like to think it will be much more a question of balance against these Moody Blues.
I do quite like the idea from Selwyn of going to a back three, though I might court a little controversy by making a couple of changes to his proposed line up.
I think we have to have some pace available in the back three, so I would stick with van den Berg in the team. Also, I am not convinced Howson is really match fit yet, so he will have to stay on the bench for now. I know a lot of people might think I am crazy, but I would put McNair in the middle. He is solid but also can play the ball nicely out. Also, if he is not at the back, his inevitable blunder is less likely to be quite as costly. Up front I would prefer to see Rogers and not Forss on the basis that he appears to hold the ball up well and he is quite a big lag at 6'3'' making him a good target that could be quite disruptive if given freedom to roam across the front.
So my staring eleven would be:
van den Berg-Fry-Lenihan
Lots of good options on the bench then.....
As for the result. Well I am feeling positive and I think we will prove to be too good for them this time out.
2-1 to Boro.
McNair is certainly better in the middle - I would play him as part of a back 3 providing there is an adequate wing back to cover - something we are probably lacking at present on both sides of the pitch.
Thanks for an excellent opener, Deleriad, I enjoyed it!
I can’t see us winning this one, though last season in the first play-off game we were the better side and could have won but for a marginal offside decision. I live in hopes, of course, but I would settle for a point if offered it now. Coventry will probably be smarting after a shock Cup defeat this week to Gillingham - they played a strong team, too, so are definitely vulnerable. Let’s get at them!
Things are clearly hitting up on the Chuba front. I am sure he will leave. Financially, it makes sense for us to cash in rather than lose out entirely next year when his contract expires. I just hope Boro stick out for a fee around £15 million and that, if he is to go, he goes quickly so we can re-invest some of the money.
I see that Archer might be available after all. Unfortunately, the only way we could afford him is if he comes on loan. Villa will no doubt demand something approaching £20 million for him. Apparently, they’re selling Aaron Ramsey to Burnley for £14 million. We knew that missing out on promotion last season would prove costly - with figures like this being bandied around right now, truly we are seeing the consequences of that near miss. You’d have to argue that getting in loanees of the calibre of Giles, Archer and Ramsey made a decent stab at promotion much more likely, and we were certainly lucky to have had them, but it makes it all the more upsetting to have lost them all. It will be very hard to replace them with like-for-like quality, but that’s obviously the key task facing MC and his recruitment team. We can only hope that with a combination of the new youngsters, a couple of more experienced faces and perhaps the lads we’ve been linked with this week, MC is able to mould a new side that challenges at the top end of the league.
Thank you Deleriad for an absolute belter of an opener which is informative, thought provoking and amusing; I burst out laughing when I clicked on and saw the photo from Groundhog Day, superb.
I am sorry to say that this is unlikely to be a high scoring game based upon recent encounters and I don’t fancy our chances. A draw at best but more likely another 1-0 to the blues and another beaming face of MR to haunt us.
McNair Fry Lenihan Coulson
Barlaser Hackney McGree
Jones Rogers Silvera
McNair Fry Lenihan Coulson
Barlaser Hackney McGree
Jones Forss Silvera
Just the one change to MC’s selection but I prefer square pegs in square holes and Rogers is not a central striker for me or likely to be; I don’t understand why MC persists when Forss has a track record in that position.
Coulson only gets the nod because we have little in the way of alternatives at present but he has shown already why he was shipped out before and to my mind should not have been brought back but he is a JW favourite from his time in charge.
If reports can be believed it looks as though Chuba might go but I am still surprised that anyone would pay c. £15M for effectively, at this stage, a one season wonder who has not played at PL level.
Finally, the sky is blue because you said it was. 😎
Of course, while we had Giles for the whole season, we only had Archer and Ramsey from January onwards. At the time MC took over, no one would have believed that we could have come so close to getting promoted last season. The quality, especially of Archer, made all the difference from January on.
This season, even though there might be a lot of us reserving judgement on the quality of what we have now and are concerned that we look weaker than we did at the end of the season. I would argue that we look a better unit now at the start of the season than we did at the start of last season. Let us not be overly anxious that we may not get exactly what we think we want now. I expect we will be in a better position come January (relative to last season) and it may be easier to attract a top quality loan at that time when we will not have (hopefully) so much of a gap to try and close. So, do we really need to buy Archer now - even if he was only to cost us £12.5m?
If Silvera realises some of the potential we have seen aready, then with him on the left and Jones on the right and with Barlasser and McGree feeding in from the centre to them both and all of them playing into Rogers we may very well have found a much better balanced forward and goal-scoring capability than we enjoyed last year. I hope they all start at Coventry on Saturday and we begin to see more evidence of growing understanding between them.
In one report about Archer returning to Boro, it was suggested that it would be more likely that he comes to Boro on a season long loan with a commitment to buy if we are promoted, which I would be happy with.
Come on BORO.
Excellent Headliner, deleriad. Well written and a slightly different format and take, showing your own style.
I know I have this obsession about the defence and their ability to clean a reasonable amount of clean sheets, but not knowing how our goal scoring will evolve, I think we should be playing it tight. Certainly until the reinforcements arrive.
The team selection I am sure will give MC food for thought. Does he risk Howson, may be his first decision to make. Three at the back, which I do not think he will go for, would help cover our deficiencies at Left and Right back.
However, MC will choose HIS best team and hopefully we can get at least a result.
of course.. I was scribbling fast while at work today. But no excuse really 😞
Johnny Nash !
Report in CoventryLive stating that Gustavo Hamer is transferring to the blades and not training with the squad today. Hopefully good news for us. 🤞😎
I think tomorrow may tell us quite a lot about what Carrick thinks of his squad. If he sticks with, largely, the team that lost to Millwall then he thinks that most of the signings aren't ready yet and is putting his faith in his senior pros from last season. If Rogers plays up front when he has various options to play on the right instead of Forss then he thinks that Forss is simply not of the standard he wants for #9.
On the other hand, if he goes with several of the players from the Huddersfield match then he is putting more faith in his new signings.
I personally would like a front 4 of
Jones - McGree - Silvera
I think Jones is showing signs of recovery, Silvera has been the pick of the new signings and McGree has been playing as #10 in all but name. I think, also, Forss is a born striker. Unfortunate for Rogers who has done nothing wrong and, in fact, looked decent when on the ball anywhere except in front of goal. If Jones is still struggling with his recovery (which is what you expect in cases like his) then Rogers could play the wide right role.
Any chance the Lucas Engel deal has been completed but MFC have not announced because they want to surprise Coventry and play him? 🤔😎
Thanks for the intro Deleriad.
Not sure about today would be happy with a point. Good to see that Hamer has gone to Sheffield United. He often was a thorn in our sides.
Boro team this afternoon
Middlesbrough team: Dieng; McNair, Fry, Lenihan, Coulson; Hackney, Barlaser; Silvera, Crooks, Jones; Rogers
Unused subs: Glover, Van Den Berg, McGree, Gilbert, Howson, Coburn, Payero, Forss, Bilongo 😎
Would have preferred to have seen Forss instead of Rogers and Silvera on right and McGree in place of Crooks. 😎
@k-p-in-spain Exactly my thoughts, too. But now we have a very strong bench. Chuba missing though 😬.
Glad to see Jones back in. Suspect McGree must be nursing a knock as he would be an automatic first choice.
Godden gives Coventry the lead in the 11th minute. 🙁
We look like a shadow of our former selves
No game plan