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Leicester v Boro
 

Leicester v Boro

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Powmill-Naemore
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King Power Stadium, Leicester

15h00 Saturday 17th February 2024

  Played W D L GF GA PTS POS'n
Leicester 32 25 3 4 68 24 78 1st
BORO 31 12 5 14 45 46 41 13th

 

Middlesbrough are heading to the King Power Stadium this Saturday, on their latest Mission Impossible; the unlikely hope of recording the first double against the Foxes by any team so far this season. Who would have thought it back on November 11th, but after Boro had just inflicted a rare defeat (still one of only four till now in the campaign), on the strongest of last season’s Premier League unfortunates, we were only going to win 5 of our next 15 league fixtures, or that we would only accumulate a meagre 17 points from the 45 we were competing for?

 

In trying to find a positive spin to share with you as we prepare for this upcoming fixture, I find myself clutching at the flimsy straw which is our away form over those 15 games. This has actually been better than our home form. At home over that period we have witnessed 2 wins and 2 draws from 8 games (taking 8 of the 24 points available: a 33.3% success rate). On the road we have actually won 3 of our 7 games in that time (earning 9 of the 21 points possible: a 42.8% success rate).

 

In hindsight and especially following Wednesday night’s giveaway at Deepdale, where Boro’s famous BOGOF (Bag One Get One Free) policy of leaking goals belied any dominance we might otherwise have enjoyed, perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered trying. Home or away, it looks anything but positive however you try to spin it; all the more so when you compare and contrast with our next opponents. Since losing to Boro at the EFL’s very own charitable Championship Point Bank (quaintly remembered as Fortress Riverside), and where many a struggling visitor has been grateful to help itself to at least one point for free, but often three, Leicester has gone on to win 12 of its 16 league fixtures. That includes a formidable 7 wins and 1 draw at home out of 8 matches played, which translates as 22 points won from a possible 24 at home. That’s a mightily impressive 91.6% success rate at the King Power.

 

Stops writing and thinks a bit…

 

Hmm.

Perhaps it is a good time now, after having highlighted the chasm existing between these two teams, for me to move the essay on a little. Maybe I would be better off talking about the city, Leicester, rather than the Leicester City that is the object of this impossible mission. After all, I suspect even Tom Cruise’s alter ego (Ethan Hunt), would struggle to deliver the right outcome for us on Saturday, even if he did choose to accept the challenge we face. So let us forget Leicester City for now and take a look at how the city of Leicester got its name. If nothing else, it will help take our minds off what Saturday might bring; well at least for a few moments.

 

Did you know, there has been a settlement on the east bank of the River Soar (once called the River Ligor, or Leir, or Leire, in languages of the day), in the English East Midlands for well over 2000 years? Pre-dating the arrival of the Romans in around AD 47, a tribe of Celts called the Corieltauvians were living in this area and their principal settlement was located here. After the Romans did arrive it has been suggested that they (the Romans), established a fort quite close to the settlement, which was located at perhaps the best crossing point of the river. The Romans called the settlement Ratae Corieltauvorum, meaning ‘Ramparts of the Corieltauvians’: “Ratae” being the Latinate form of the old Brittonic Celtic word for ramparts,  “Rath”.

 

Ratae Corieltauvorum prospered for over three centuries under Roman rule. Not a great deal is known about what happened to this settlement after the Romans departed in around AD  407 nor throughout the Dark Ages. The town itself was possibly abandoned, but following the Anglo-Saxonisation of England it was definitely occupied and actually grew in prominence, eventually becoming a bishopric with its own cathedral as early as AD 680. We know that St Martin’s church, which is the cathedral church of the modern Diocese of Leicester, is one of 6 in the town that are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. What we can’t be certain of is if this was also the cathedral church of the ancient diocese four centuries earlier. However, the original church was built over Roman ruins, so it is a possibility. Interesting to note (as well as keeping a Roman theme going), is that the church itself is dedicated to St Martin de Tours, a Roman officer in the 4th century who later became a hermit at Tours in France,  until ultimately elected bishop of Tours in AD 371.   Anyway, we know from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of AD 924 that the Anglo-Saxons called this cathedral city Ligeraceastre: ‘Ligera’ for the old name of the river and ‘ceastre’ which is Old English for Roman fortification. In the name Ligeraceastre we can begin to see  some resemblance to the modern placename.

 

There was a period between around AD 877 and AD 917, when the Danish Vikings had control of the area. Possibly as a consequence of this [non-Christian] governance, the [Christian] Diocese of Ligeraceastre was merged with the Diocese of Lindine to become the Diocese of Dorchester, beyond the reach of the Viking Danelaw. This meant the town lost its status as a cathedral city. Later, in the Domesday Book (1086), the town was listed as Ledecestre, which is closer still, to the sound and spelling of the modern placename. After a further two decades, now in 1107, Henry 1st created the title Earl of Leicester to bestow on Robert de Beaumont, who had been one of William the Conqueror’s staunch allies and also a trusted advisor to both of his successors (William Rufus and Henry 1st).  It is really from this time on that Leicester becomes the spelling most associated with the town. As a footnote, the modern Diocese of Leicester was not [re-]established until 1926.

 

Hmm.

That rather convoluted, although greatly abridged, history of how the name of Leicester came about has probably been just as much hard work to follow as our game is likely to be on Saturday afternoon.

 

Stops writing and thinks again…

 

How about we take a look at how Leicester City came about instead?

Leicester Fosse Football Club was founded in 1884 by a group of former pupils of Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys. The club was so named (Fosse), after the place where the first meeting took place, which was a shed in the garden of number 2 Fosse Road Central. The new club’s first ever match was played in a field that was just off Fosse Road South.

 

“Fosse Road… Fosse Road?”, I can hear some of you wondering.

Yes. It is the Romans again.

 

Fosse Way is, of course, the famous Roman road that runs, not from Isca Dumnoniorum (or modern Exeter) as many people mistakenly believe, but actually from Alaeni Ostia (modern Axmouth), via Lindinis (modern Ilchester), Aquae Sulis (modern Bath), Corinium (modern Cirencester), and Ratae Corieltauvorum (which, if everyone has been paying attention, we all know now as modern Leicester), and on all the way to Lindum Colonia (or modern Lincoln). As you might expect of roads Roman, the 208 mile route is as straight a line as you could possibly imagine.

 

Anyway, back to Leicester Fosse; the team ran out 5-0 winners playing against Syston Fosse in that first game on 1st November 1884 in the playing field just off Foss Road South. As it was, this ended up being the only game Leicester Fosse ever played at that particular venue. The new club, which was unfortunately nicknamed “The Fossils”, actually led a bit of a nomadic existence during its first seven years. Over that period it played home games at Victoria Park, then Belgrave Road, then Mill Lane and then Grace Road (both then and now, home to Leicestershire County Cricket Club, although not continuously). However in 1891 and as the club joined the Midland League, Leicester Fosse moved to and eventually settled into Filbert Street, from where it was elected into the Football League in 1894. After the move to Filbert Street the nickname of “The Fossils” became less common, with the team beginning to be referred to as “The Filberts”.

 

Leicester Fosse was already in some financial difficulty before war broke out in 1914, and by 1919 the club was some £3,150 in debt to the United Counties Bank. According to the Bank of England, that would be the equivalent of £133,851.86 today, which really is no fortune in modern professional football. All the same, the club had no means to be able to service such a debt and as a consequence Leicester Fosse Football Club was wound up and liquidated in the same year. By agreement with the Football League the football club was taken over by a new company, Leicester City Football Club Limited, so named to acknowledge that the town of Leicester had been granted city status that very year. The club has been known as Leicester City ever since.  

 

Today, of course, we know Leicester City as “The Foxes”, but it was only after World War 2 (actually in 1946),  when the club adopted a new badge depicting the head of a red fox, that there was ever any overt connection made with the animal. All the same and ever since, the club has always included a fox in the design of its badge. Not unsurprisingly, it was not long before the club itself became known colloquially as “The Foxes”. Now, given the extensive impact the Romans have had on our story so far, it won’t surprise you to hear that the Romans are known to have hunted for the red fox. However, I am sorry to disappoint that I have been unable to find any Roman connection, no matter how tenuous, for this nickname. It really is as simple as: that the county of Leicestershire is considered by many to be the birthplace of fox hunting as we recognise it today and the football club (along with Leicestershire CCC) has simply taken a sporting pride in that. Personally, I can’t see quite why that should be anything to take pride in, but attitudes were more than a little different back in the day.

 

More recently the Foxes are famous for having gate-crashed the closed shop at the top of the Premier League, becoming champions in season 2015/16. Claudio Ranieri it was who guided them to this remarkable achievement. Needless to say, Mr. Ranieri was born close to the Circus Maximus in Rome. What is it about Leicester and Romans?

 

Well. I hope I have managed to distracted you all from the football for a few moments, but sadly reality now has to kick in and I do need to talk a bit more about the forthcoming game. 

 

I think we all have to be honest and recognise the reality of the gulf in class and ability between these two teams at this point in time.  All the same, we have seen that Boro is capable of delivering a good performance, even though we have struggled to get the goals our dominance may have merited at times. For me, it is our long-standing frailty at the back that is the biggest problem we need to resolve if we are to move forward. We do score some goals, even without having a recognised striker available to play; we simply do not, and cannot, score often enough to cover for our propensity to concede far too easily.

 

If Dieng was fit for the bench on Wednesday, then for me he has to be fit to start on Saturday. That is not me laying all of the blame at Glover’s feet, but I do think Dieng inspires more confidence in the defence (as well as the supporters), and he does tend to play the ball out more wisely.

 

One wonder goal and a Makem-tormenting display apart, Greenwood fails to convince me and I hope we do not spend £1m to keep him at the end of the season.  Like others, I just do not understand why (without Coburn or Latte available to start), Forss is not played as our main striker. I understand while Jones is injured that MC needs to have some quality to deploy on the right, but to many of us that just wastes Forss’ ability to score a goal and boy do we need someone who can score a goal just now. I would move Greenwood to the bench, push Forss up front and possibly play Dijksteel in place of Jones.

 

Otherwise, I would go with the same personnel as against PNE and in a similar lineup, though perhaps swapping Azaz and McGree around, or giving them the freedom to do so during the game.

 

So here we are, at the sharp end of the opener. Unlike so many of the games this season when we have all thought this is a game the Boro must surely win (even though mostly they didn’t!), I suspect most, if not all of us, are thinking this next game is a game that Boro will surely lose. That said, in all of the Mission Impossible films (as well as in the TV series before them), the impossible mission was always ultimately achieved.

So maybe...

Just maybe...

Perhaps… is this is a time for Typical Boro to show up and confound us all?

 

Spes est quae tibi dolet.

 

 

 

This topic was modified 2 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

jarkko
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@Powmill-Naemore Thank you for that. Yes, we will be underdogs on Saturday, but that usually suits Boro. We have always played well against the better teams. So if we played well, we might get a point or three . We need to start performing next, mind.

Why many Englishmen and especially most foreigners have difficulties to pronaunce Leicester correctly? What is the reason it is pronounced as it is? I learnt it by listening to the BBC World Service and the football results in the 1970's. But most people strugles with the name.

I will enjoy the match, though. If we play well I am OK regardless of the result. Just hope we will find our best eleven. But we will miss sorely both Jones and LL. Up the Boro!

 


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As Leicester are Gary Lineker's club, a person who I loathe immensely, I hope that Middlesbrough can pull off a shock result.


   
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 gt
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It's getting harder to come up with answers to where we are at, is there blame to go around I suppose so , but where to start seeing the season is over, by the way we need 50 pts to stay up, 

My one take and it's been going on for too long, the other night was a joke , and that is how we are wide open, teams just wait, and know players get caught out and get lost defensively both in midfield and at the back.


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@malcolm I’ve been thinking long and hard about how anyone could loathe Gary Lineker and I’m struggling. Is it because of the 48 goals he scored for England in 80 appearances? Or because he won the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup? Maybe it’s because he never got a yellow or red card in his career. 
I guess it could be because, on two separate occasions, he allowed two refugees to live in his home. Who knows why any of that would upset someone. 

For my part, I think GL is a pretty good role model - he’s not perfect but I’d chose him and his values over many other people in the public eye.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Martin Bellamy

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Many thanks Powmill for a very interesting and worrying opener - your etymological research has confirm that Leicester are indeed a Premier Ligera team in waiting and it's highly likely we'll see Boro coming away from the King Power without a horse in the play-off race as our lingering promotion hopes will no doubt be buried in the car park.

I mean that 91.6% success stat at home really does offer little hope even if we did beat them at the Riverside - incidentally that game saw Boro with just 33% possession and a rare clean sheet - I suspect it was different tactics that day from Carrick and let's not forget it was that "stunning" Greenwood free-kick that claimed the points.

After the game Carrick said:

"We showed a different side to ourselves today with a lot of the out-of-possession work. It was really good pressing and really good defensively. They test you, you have to close certain spaces for the whole game, you have to concentrate for the whole game and that was a major factor. The boys got the game plan off to a tee and actually, the few chances we did give away were from us giving the ball away, which we don't normally do."

So it was a different game-plan and I guess we'll need it again - though not sure I agree with him on the last point about Boro not normally giving the ball away!

Incidentally, it's possible only Greenwood, Hackney and van den Berg (who played RB) will survive from the line-up from the Riverside - with Howson picking up a late knock and with Fry also a doubt they could miss out along with Jones, Crooks, Coburn, Engel and McNair.

So yes it does look like mission impossible on Saturday and probably with the following warning: this defence will self-destruct in 5 seconds...


Powmill-Naemore
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@werdermouth 

Thanks Werdermouth. I remember Carrick saying that line ("The boys got the game plan off to a tee and actually, the few chances we did give away were from us giving the ball away, which we don't normally do."), at the time. I also remember smiling to myself as I heard it, that perhaps the opposite was true !


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Thanks Powmill for a brilliantly researched, well-written and comprehensive opener.  I really enjoyed it and appreciated all of the time and dedication that went into it. Many thanks.


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Thanks Powmill for an informative and enjoyable read on a game whose result is likely to be less palatable; sounds like a case of Christians to the slaughter in Leicester's coliseum. 😎


   
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Martin Bellamy
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A great starter Powmill, and from a different angle too. I don’t suppose any of us is very optimistic about Saturday’s game, but maybe we’ll be Typical Boro. 🤞🏻


   
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I was doing some analysis on the season so far yesterday and have now just written it up - it perhaps shows why the play-offs are now all but mathematically out of reach.

Since Boro have 15 games left to accumulate as many points as possible, I thought it may be worth looking at how they fared in their previous 15 games. Sadly it doesn't give much reason to expect a sudden upturn in form with Boro banking just over a point a game it's not exactly a platform to see something like 2.2 point per game needed for a remote shot at the play-offs.
 

2023-24  Pts F A Pts/game
Last 15 games 17 22 23 1.13

 

After Boro's worse start to a season in their history we can compare the last 15 games to the first 15 games - surprisingly the goals scored and conceded are identical but Boro actually managed 4 points more despite that terrible start.
 

2023-24    Pts F A Pts/game
First 15 games 21 22 23 1.40

 

So there's not much change in our form throughout this season and perhaps we can also look at the last 15 games of last season to see the difference or make comparisons.

2022-23  Pts F A Pts/game
Final 15 games 24 34 20 1.60

 

What is apparent in all three cases is that goals conceded has been pretty consistent (consistently bad) and in some ways the problem was masked last season due to scoring more than 50% more goals. What is also a worry is that our last 46 games under Michael Carrick doesn't appear to show a team that is picking up anywhere near enough the points needed for a play-off challenge. Indeed, 65 points is probably more than what Boro are heading to finish with this season and that is well short of what is needed.

  Pts F A Pts/game
Last 46 games 65 79 66 1.41

 

*Note: This section has been modified to include Game 16 (1-0 win over Leicester) and has been added to to Last 15, First 15 and Final 15 of last season to give a 46 game total

While lack of goals is currently a problem, Boro are unlikely to be successful until they sort out the defence or to be more specific discover how to stop conceding preventable goals. If we look at the frequency table of goals conceded this season, what emerges is that Boro have only won 4 points when they have conceded more than one goal - so 37 of their 41 points have been achieved when they have conceded one or fewer goals, which appears to show that it's the defence that is costing Boro. So if the opposition score two goals then it's unusual if Boro will come away with any points.
 

Goals conceded no. of games points won
0 6 18/18
1 11 19/33
2 8 3/24
3 5 1/15
4 1 0/3

 
If we now look at the goals scored in the same way it shows that Boro have only score more than one goal in a game on 13 occasions during their 31 games - it also indicates if Boro only score one goal in a game then it's only likely to result in one point on average, which probably means they need to score 2 goals to have a reasonable chance of getting three points.

Goals scored no. of games points won
0 6 0/18
1 12 13/36
2 8 15/24
3 3 7/9
4 2 6/6

 

So in conclusion, Boro's form this season and probably over the last 46 games is mid-table at best and the main problem is that the team are conceding far too many goals to have a chance at winning games - especially since they are also no longer scoring as many as they did last season. What Michael Carrick and the those at the club need to do is establish why so many goals are being conceded and whether this is a direct result of the way the team is being set up to play.

Interestingly, the earlier quote of how Carrick set up the team against Leicester at the Riverside indicates that deep down he knows it's possible to set his team up to prevent the opposition scoring. Perhaps there is a balance to be found between the slick Man City style that Carrick ultimately aspires to and a more solid style that the actual players he has at his disposal are more comfortable with. At the moment it seems that the experiment of emulated the best teams in the PL is falling short. Injuries have no doubt taken their toll but that's par for the course in the attritional Championship plus time on the training pitch to hone slick passing is restricted.

It's almost time to start planning for next season and work out a new plan!

This post was modified 2 months ago by werdermouth

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[Edited]

This post was modified 2 months ago by Malcolm
This post was modified 2 months ago by werdermouth

   
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Powmill-Naemore
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@werdermouth 

What a fabulous analysis Werder. It certainly confirms mine and others' assertion that the issue really is us conceding too many goals. 

How many times has it been said, including being repeated in here, that you can only really build a successful team on an effective defence. Jack Charlton's Boro writ large. That team earned the right to go on and win games by convincing margins because of how well organised (as well as being more than capable as football players) the team was defensively.

I think we all shudder when we see the ball being played at no more than a moderate pace  between the goalkeeper and the defenders and back to the keeper and out again and then played carelessly to someone in the midfield with their back to the aggressive press bearing down. There are a half a dozen things I do not think we do well:

1) having awareness of where the opposition is in relation to the player you are passing to

2) not introducing any delay after receiving the ball before moving it on

3) not being sufficiently accurate in the pass when moving the ball on

4) not passing the ball with speed

5) not using a long pass when it is clearly the better (and safer) option to counter a high press

6) not providing continual movement (midfield especially) off the ball so as to open up passing opportunities

We were not doing these things well often enough even last season and I do think I called that out at the time.

I think the key thing of these is number 6. Unless there is fast and coordinated movement off the ball, the defence is always going to struggle to be able to find the right pass to keep the pressure away from the back. We look pedestrian at times and mainly because there is no suitable outlet for whoever is on the ball and all that does is invite unnecessary pressure on the defence and so the mistakes are inevitable.

Just some of my own thoughts on the matter, and what do I know anyway !

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

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@malcolm 

Sorry, but I've no idea to what you're referring to in that post about what you think Gary Lineker said on Twitter but it would be libelous if untrue so I've decided to remove it given I'm ultimately legally responsible for Diasboro.

Anyway, while you're entitled to hold a view on who you dislike let's move on from this subject and stick to the football please!


   
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@werdermouth Ok no problem. Point taken thanks.


   
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@werdermouth.  An excellent piece of analysis which confirms certainly what I have been banging on about for a number of seasons along with others; need to send to MFC as they clearly have not identified the problems.

According to MC, they are doing the right things it’s just that the breaks are going against them at the moment and if they stick to what they are doing it will come good!  He didn’t say when. 😎🤔


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From  Craig Johns

In the midst of a poor run of four league games without a win, a trip to league leaders Leicester City is hardly the ideal next game for Middlesbrough.

Alas, that's exactly what faces them this weekend as they look to resurrect their top-six hopes with 15 games remaining. In that sense, needing a bit of a spark to get them back on track, perhaps the trip to the King Power Stadium provides Boro with the perfect opportunity.

Michael Carrick concedes that his side will be underdogs, expressing his opinion that Leicester are to be viewed as a Premier League side in all but name given their collective and individual quality. But as Carrick attempts to arrest his side's slump and come up with a gameplan to upset the odds much like in the reverse fixture, we look at considerations he might have for the game.

READ MORE: Michael Carrick has full belief in his Middlesbrough players as he stresses the importance of calm

Formation change to deal with Leicester

With Carrick admitting he views Leicester as a Premier League side, there's a fair consideration that he might change formation for the game. In both the narrow FA Cup defeat to Aston Villa and the first-leg victory over Chelsea, Boro went with a back three to solidify at the back and look to hit the Premier League outfits on the counter.

However, in the absence of Isaiah Jones and Alex Bangura as pacey wing-back options, he reverted to the more familiar 4-2-3-1 for the second leg against Chelsea. He will still be without both against Leicester, though he will at least have attack-minded Luke Ayling as an option for this one if he were to switch formation.

 
 

It's an interesting dilemma for the Boro boss. In the reverse fixture, Boro maintained a four-at-the-back formation but went with a man-marking system that worked a treat to cancel out Leicester's threats, setting the scene for Sam Greenwood to win the game in stunning fashion.

However, in attempting similar against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, it was quickly abandoned, with Jonny Howson's positioning in particular confusing Boro and creating gaps in the midfield which the Blues exploited.

 

Carrick's 3-4-2-1 could have merit, though also to be considered is the fact that Leicester's wide forwards are their main threat and whether you have your wide centre-backs mark them or your wing-backs, you sacrifice the attack or leave space to be exploited unless you get it absolutely correct.

Goals problem

There can be hiding from the fact that Boro's biggest problem in recent weeks has been making their dominance and promising positions count for goals. The obvious issue is their lack of a natural centre-forward in the absence of Josh Coburn and Emmanuel Latte Lath.

While Latte Lath has a chance of returning at Leicester, it seems unlikely that he will start. As such, Carrick might be left looking for solutions from the same options as before, with Greenwood the man playing up front of late. While his energy has certainly been a positive, it's fair to say he's not really looked capable of solving Boro's goal problem.

However, he is capable of playing right wing, while Sammy Silvera could play that role too, if Carrick stuck with his four-man defence. And why would right-wing options be important in that scenario? It's because it would allow Carrick to put Marcus Forss up top, with fans certainly clamouring for such, given that is the Finn's natural position.

The longer Boro's struggles go on, the more the demand to see that grows, and the more questionable it becomes that he isn't at least tried there in this interim period without Latte Lath at full fitness.

Midfield balance

While Boro have had some concerns with their midfield in recent weeks, the defeat to Preston North End was as dominant as Boro have been in a game for a long time. A lot of that was down to Hayden Hackney's return to the midfield.

Jonny Howson was alongside him and while the veteran played well in general, he was poor in the build-up to the first goal. Carrick does tend to rely heavily on the 35-year-old in this kind of game though, and as noted above, Howson was superb in the reverse fixture in his man-marking brief.

Carrick could do the same again, or he could opt for more energy in midfield by partnering Hackney with the returning Lewis O'Brien, who was signed last summer with a view to being a longer-term Howson replacement.

Now back to fitness, he's hungry to prove himself after injury. Carrick might even change formation further and go with a 4-3-3 formation to try and add more defensive balance to his side in appreciation of Leicester's might.

Potential change in goal

The other big decision Carrick faces for this game is in between the sticks. Seny Dieng has been back in the squad for the last two games now, but Carrick has kept his faith in Tom Glover thus far. The Australian, it should be said, has by and large been excellent since Dieng's injury at Swansea.

However, the soft goal he conceded against Sunderland cost Boro two points in that one, and he was poor again on Wednesday at Preston. He should have definitely saved the first, and he didn't cover himself in glory for the second either. Perhaps more importantly, he was poor in possession too.

That could be particularly important against Leicester this weekend where, in previewing the game, Finn Azaz noted the game could be a battle for possession in which keeping the ball will be Boro's best form of defence. Dieng is undoubtedly the better of the two on the ball.

 


   
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@Powmill-Naemore:  Now, that's my sort of Starter for Ten!  Anyone who produces a better one this season will have have done the writing equivalent of beating Leicester City (away) tomorrow!  Not absolutely impossible but a VERY tall order.

@Jarkko - I don't think anyone from England has ever had any difficulty pronouncing Leicester correctly.  It is more a problem for people from abroad, and particularly people from the USA as any dive into YouTube would show. However, once told the correct pronunciation, most people get it right.  There are many reasons why SOME British place names have "odd" spellings or pronunciations, and most of them relate to the various populations which have dominated in different regions of the country over the millennia. 

"Various populations" in southern Britain include Britons (ancestors of the Welsh and other British tribes which dominated Great Britain at the time the Romans invaded - such as the Caledonii and Votadini in Scotland, the Brigantes in Northern England into Scotland, the Ordovices, Demetae, Deceangli and Silures from Wales, the Corieltauvi to whom Powmill referred in his Starter, the Iceni from the East of England, the Atrebates, Catuvellauni and Trinovantes in the South of England and the Dumnonii from the South West, plus some tribes with links to similar tribes in France/Belgium). The ones in England and Southern Scotland, at least, spoke a Celtic language that eventually became Welsh. There were invasions by the Romans who influenced place names (it will not go un-noticed that the names by which we identify the Southern British tribes were names given by the Romans) and since the Romans dominated government in the south of Britain for about 400 years, and since much of the population may have regarded themselves as "Romans" long after the Roman legions left these islands, their effect on the language cannot be ignored.

Subsequent movement into Britain by tribes of people who traditionally have been referred to as Angles, Saxons and Jutes but also included Frisians who had an input into the early English language led to the overwhelming of that British/Celtic culture and language in most of England apart from Cumbria and the South West (and, of course, Wales itself).  More than 350 years after the Roman withdrawal from Britain shortly after 400AD,  a long series of raids began from the 780s AD by people the films refer to as Vikings but were largely from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  From about 865AD the purpose of the raids changed to invasion, conquest, settlement and then to social and economic domination of the North, East and part of the Midlands in England.  For a period the "Danelaw" operated as a state within a state in that part of England. Later there were both Anglo-Saxon, Danish (with Cnut ruling over both the Danish and Saxon parts of England) and then Anglo-Saxon kings again.

But even in 1066 it wasn't over because there was a last Norwegian invasion in September by Harald Hardrada (supported by King Harold Godwinson's brother, Tostig) which was defeated by the Anglo-Saxons at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire on 25th September after a route-march North by Harold's troops. Unfortunately for Harold Godwinson, William Duke of Normandy and his army (who with many of his supporters were also descended from Norsemen) separately invaded England from Normandy, France on 28th September so Harold had to route-march South again with his army, but the subsequent Battle of Hastings on 14th October ended with a Norman victory.  The lads were tired.  There were no rest-days and fixtures came quick and fast for 11th Century soldiers.  With King Harold Godwinson and many of his nobility dead, the subsequent regime change resulted in lands being granted to the Norman-French supporters of William the Conqueror with castles being built up and down the country, from which a new Norman nobilty, governed the regions on William's behalf.  Norman-French became the language of the wealthy governing classes, and of the courts, in addition to Church Latin) and that situation continued for a few centuries until eventually English, which had remained the language of the masses (albeit by this stage influenced by Norman French) forced its way back into use.

Towns, rivers and areas of land are often named by the victors after armed conflicts but sometimes ancient names continued in use. "Afon" is Welsh for "river" for example and there are a number of rivers Avon in England presumably because the previous British/Welsh speaking population called them that,d  anthe people who later took over continued to use the name. "Pen" in Welsh means head/top/hill and we have Pen-y-Ghent hill in the Yorkshire Dales and the tautologically-named Penhill near Leyburn  (and Ben/Beinn/Bheinn in Scots Gaelic).  Manx, Irish Gaelic (the Q-Celtic languages) are obviously related to Welsh, Cornish and NBreton (P-Celtic languages).  The progenitor of modern Welsh can't now have been spoken in those parts of Yorkshire for maybe 1,300+ years - the battle of Catraeth (Catterick) was fought in about 600AD when the forces of the Brythonic "Old North" and from North Wales were defeated by the Angles, and the story is told in one of the oldest poems still extant: Y Gododdin written in Welsh between the 7th and 10th centuries.

There remains the fact that, of course, most people (apart from Clerics in the Church and a very small number in the governing classes) were illiterate until fairly recent centuries - my own paternal grandfather died illiterate, signing his wedding cerfificate with an "X" - and in any event language changes over centuries as anyone who had studied the Canterbury Tales written in Middle English in the late 1300s, let alone Beowulf written maybe 600 (?) years earlier, would agree.

So you have several different peoples using different languages in the 2000+ years during which areas in this country have been occupied and settlements established and named.  You have successor populations sometimes using an approximation of the names they have heard "the locals" use to identify that hill or that river, sometimes replacting the name with their own name. You have people writing names down, sometimes transcribing incorrectly, sometimes using a kind of "Anglicisation".  You have pronunciations changing over centuries, even if the spellings remain, just as many words used in Shakespeare's works are pronounced differently now to how they'd have been spoken 420 years ago.

The thing is that it's just a joy that we have different names in the UK with "odd" looking spellings or pronunciations that fool people from abroad.  These things often change slowly.  But when the BBC built a great radio transmitter on Borough Hill, Daventry (Northamptonshire), it was built to broadcast the BBC Empire (now BBC World) Service. The local pronunciation was "Dane-tree" which was said either to be of Danish-Viking origin (literally the Dane Tree) or Anglo-Saxon.  However when announcing "This is Daventry calling" at the start of broadcasts, the BBC staff announcers would obviously use BBC/Oxford/Received Pronunication English, and therefore used a version of the name as it was spelled. Or spelt if you wish. And within a short time, people who had never heard of the town in Northamptonshire, and eventually those actually living in the town, started to use that BBC pronunciation. Within a generation, Dane-tree became spoke as Daventry.  All part of life's rich tapestry.  But is is good fun to hear Americans torture their tongues over "War-sester-shier" Sauce, Frome/Froom, Mousehole/Mowsul, Alnwick/Annick, Bicester/Bister, Leominster/Lemster or Islay/Eye-la.  I'm not even going to mention Llanelli or Aberystwyth. I've heard it said that the best way to learn how correctly to pronounce British place names is to live in Britain for some years... It usually works!

I do love a social media rabbit-hole.  But it often means when you have finished typin, the Blog has moved on.  The Ice Age has returned, or maybe North Yorkshire will become a torrid desert...?

@martin - I see your views about Gary Lineker. I think views about him are "divisive".  I know there are people in my local pub who I'd say do HATE him (a very strong word but it's probably a correct characterisation of their views), from  what they've said about him. He is certainly the highest paid BBC presenter and has been involved recently in a number of social media posts which have brought him and the BBC into criticism.  From my point of view I will say that he is entitled to hold whatever views he wishes. But if he expresses those views on social media he must realise that X, or Facebook or whatever, are not University Debating Societies and some who respond may well very strongly disagree with his views.  Some of them are likely to do so in an intemperate manner, which does little to further the discussion. 

Lineker may be loved by some but is probably hated by others, and that may be coloured by the non-football views he expresses.  X is hardly designed for nuanced debate.  What I WILL say is that I'd like some journalists to give THEIR views on televised, and other, football matches, not only retired players. (Everyone would have to accept Lineker WAS a very fine player in his day). Henry Winter or Martin Samuel or the like.  I'd like to hear THEIR views and their insights.  I don't only want to hear the same group of friends saying the same things - Lineker, joking about Shearer not having won an FA Cup and "jealously guarding" his all-time PL scoring record, Wrighty, Lescott... the ususal brigade.  I DO like Danny Murphy who I think talks more sense than most.  Fletcher on SDunday's MoTD2 is a better presenter in my eyes than Lineker.  The top journos must have watched many thousands of games and don't have an axe to grind, they are articulate and have a lot to offer.

That is the end of the Lesson for Today...

(Written in fear of what we have in store tomorrow in the East Midlands.  I can't see BORO getting anything but would be delighted to be proved wrong.  BORO could play quite well abut still lose 4-1.)


Martin Bellamy
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@forever-dormo I don’t want to prolong the chat about GL - as you say, he’s become a divisive figure for some. I just think it’s a shame that we’ve become a society where nuance has largely disappeared and everything is black or white. 

The etymology of place names has always interested me - places pronounced differently from their spelling often catch people out, leading to (probably unfair) criticisms from the local populace. There’s a village near Chorley in Lancashire called Euxton - the Red Rosers find it hilarious that outsiders pronounce it as Yewxston (as did I when we first moved over in 88), rather than Exton. Cf Marske 😉


   
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@martin-bellamy - Are you referring to Mask, near to Retkuh? And not that far from Stawsluh and Canny Yatton? 

(Your previous post wasd the last one I read before starting to type mine.  I'll have to go back to read the intervening posts but that will have to wait or there will be questions from Mrs Dormo as to where I am and what I'm doing this Valentine's Week. I remain, despite spelling mistakes, a very slow typist).


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@forever-dormo I probably should have included our new village. Sher-burn to outsiders, Sherb’n to us locals. 


   
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I watched tonight’s match between WBA and Southampton, the referee was Allison (Preston ref), he missed a blatant penalty tonight (where have we seen that before) also didn’t give WBA even a free kick when their player was dragged down just on the edge of the Southampton box. This is the ref who has been fast tracked because he is black not on his ability.

 I wondered when rumblings would start on here about whether Carrick is the right man for the job, even if they are thinly veiled, very disappointing. IMHO, he is the right man for the job but he needs time to develop the team, one season’s transfer markets is only touching the side of what needs to be done, next season many of those brought in will be a lot better and I don’t necessary agree that some of our better players will bought by Premiership teams, I didn’t hear or see reported that any bids were made for the likes of Hackney or McGree, let only McNair 🤔.

Come on BORO.


   
Liked by 4 people: Original Fat Bob, Malcolm, jarkko and Andy R
 
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Philip of Huddersfield
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Excellent analysis by Werdermouth on the season so far and logical predictions for the rest of the season.

The analysis makes it abundantly clear that Boro will not finish in the top 6 , or to be more precise in 6th place.

It also makes clear that M. Carrick , over a full season of 46 games , has been pretty average in the points gained.  Obviously the media built him up too quickly.  He is not the finished article.
I’m not convinced that he is adept enough in changing the personnel and tactics as the game demands, nor has the ability to get the best out of players and getting them to play a system which suits the available players.

I say this as Huddersfield had Neil Warnock for the last third of last season and turned a bunch of  very average players doomed for relegation to a mid table team. He’s done this many times. Not sure Carrick can.

However, we need to stick with him in the hope that the change of plan- fewer loan players and going for younger players - eventually pays off.

For the remainder of the season we need to see good performances so that by the end of the season we can say that the team is improving.

Philip of Huddersfield 


Clive Hurren
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I’d like to say a big thank you to: 

Powmill - that was a fascinating opener. I used to live in Leicester, but I knew none of that! 

Werder - On the PNE thread I wrote about the various factors which convinced me a couple of games ago that Boro wouldn’t make the playoffs this season. But your analysis is stunning, and provides amazing scientific proof whereas my piece was much more generic and simplistic. 

Dormo - for the history/ linguistics piece. I’m fascinated by both and I love how language develops constantly. The history of place names is really interesting, I feel. 

Gentlemen, I am in awe of all three of you! Well done! 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Clive Hurren

Clive Hurren
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@philip-of-huddersfield 

I don’t agree that Carrick can’t develop players. I actually think that’s been one of his greatest strengths. Look at Akpom last year. Look at how Hackney has come on, and at how Morgan Rogers was blossoming into a player Villa valued at a very high price. I think there is evidence, too, of real improvement from Engel, Van den Berg and Forss. They may not all be able to play to his system as well as we would like, but I don’t think you can deny that they have improved as individuals under his coaching. 

Meanwhile, Leicester away. Oh dear. It would be Typical Boro to draw 1-1. My head, however, says we’ll be lucky to avoid a serious dent in our goal difference. 


Powmill-Naemore
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Topic starter  

Thank you to everyone for the kind and very generous comments. I think you can tell from how people write about things what are the things that really interest them.  Less about style, structure and clever language, but in the genuine pleasure that shines through the words. For the author it is gratifying when someone else really picks up on that.

I loved your wee essay FD, picking up on that theme and kind of responding to Jarkko on how the peculiarities of British place-names have come about. I love absorbing this kind of information and I bow to your wider knowledge in that field.

One thing that has been especially enjoyable about Diasboro this season has been the different styles and approaches and passions showcased in the thread openers. All of equal quality in so many different ways. I hope we will be able to carry on in the same vein next season, and I hope that there are others out there that might be encouraged to join the roster.


   
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Gentlemen, I have now caught up on today's posts. Ignoring mine of 7.01pm (I jumped into the pond and didn't recognise how deep the linguistic/historical water was until I realised I had to get out or I'd drown), there were some absolute crackers of posts in there. Again, thanks to Powmill-Naemore for the outstanding Starter, but there were several others afterwards including the well-researched piece by Werdermouth at 3.25pm yesterday and Powmill's response at 4.11pm.

The REAL in-depth research and analysis is to be found on this Blog not on MoTD.

Fingers crossed (and hands in front of eyes) for the Leicester game, and let's hope there aren't too many horrors preventing sleep tonight let alone on the pitch tomorrow. (And Day Three of England's Test Match in India resumes in 3 hours and the Six Nations Rugby resumes.  EEEK!).


   
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Pedro de Espana
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A cracker of a Headliner Powmill, thank you for the considerable time and thought that went into it.

I can only echo Clive’s post about the posts by Werder and Dormo. Thank you for those also. 

What can one say about this afternoons match. I do not mind if the opposition score a really well worked goal, it is the sloppy passing and panic mistakes gifting goals that hurt.

Unfortunately, unless performances improve very soon and especially at home, then the divide over Micheal Carrick’s abilities will grow by the season end. The stats and results will have a big say.


jarkko
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@Forever Dormo

hello my friend. Very nice and deep dive into the world of the language. And history of England. I enjoyed it much.

Here I must tell that our language is so different to English. In the Finnish language, we pronaunce every letter we write. So we always know how a new word is pronaunced. There is only a one exception to this and it is teached to everyone at school. The word is sydän (heart). When we say 'into the heart' we wrote it 'sydämeen' but pronsunce it with two m letters.

So my first name is Jarkko, but a rarer version is Jarko - but we can pronounce the two words differently and hear the difference. So if one have a Finnish first and last name, others can write the name down after hearing it once (on the phone, for example). We have no culture of spelling names out lound!

So I find it facinating to learn more of the English language. I do have a version of BBC  Pronauncing Dictionary of British Names from 1983. I open the book too seldomly anymore, though. I remember finding three different ways to pronaunce the word Raleigh (I did have a bike called Raleigh in late 1970's and early 1980's) dependingn what one meant with the word.

I love this blog. I hope for a 1-1 draw today with a goal from the Finn - that is Marcus of course. Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 months ago 5 times by jarkko

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I must have been very tired last night. This is a "rest weekend" in the Six Nations Rugby...!


   
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