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Boro v Blackburn
 

Boro v Blackburn

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Andy R
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After a week in which Boro threw away as many points as they’ve gained all season, Neil Warnock has a chance to reset this Saturday against Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers sit ninth in the early Championship standings after two wins and a draw in their opening four fixtures, scoring six goals and conceding five in true Mowbray style. Having lost talismanic frontman Adam Armstrong to Southampton last week for a reported £15m, Mowbray may well be expecting incoming transfers this week to bolster a squad that has also lost several experienced players over the summer including Charlie Mulgrew, Lewis Holtby, Corry Evans and Stewart Downing, who retired earlier in the month. 19-year-old Liverpool loanee Leighton Clarkson is the only arrival to date. “It is what it is” I can hear the big Teessider say.

Neil Warnock may also be expecting additions with Slovenian forward Andraz Sporar expected to join on a season-long loan from Sporting Lisbon. It’s less clear whether Heerenveen winger Mitchell van Bergen will join him after Neil Warnock denied involvement with the move. “Are you with me?”, he may well be asking.

Mowbray has lined his side up in a 4-2-3-1 for each game so far and with Neil Warnock often tempted to “match-up” the opposition to suit his man-marking tactics, don’t be surprised to see a return to the setup that featured in our previous home games against Bristol City and QPR. Indeed, after all the talk of Rooney’s moony ahead of the Derby game, it was Neil Warnock’s brain-fart that scuppered the chance of three points at Pride Park and we could do with a more coherent plan from the start on Saturday.

With key-man Bradley Dack a long-term absentee following a cruciate ligament injury, surprise Chilean international Ben Brereton (now seemingly known as Brereton Diaz, following a Copa America call-up that no-one saw coming) is the man to watch out for and the attacking midfielder has three goals to his name already this season. Typical Boro fans will of course be more concerned with the multiple former Boro players in the Rovers ranks – Aynsley Pears, Harry Chapman and the fit again Dani, Dani Ayala. Crikey, Ikpeazu versus Ayala looks a mouth-watering match-up doesn’t it?

Boro’s 0-0 with Derby was our first competitive clean sheet since March and Rovers haven’t managed one at all since then so it would be a brave man to predict another “eyes in the sky” this week, though cynics might say that watching a Neil Warnock side involves a lot of gazing skywards to track the ball. Still, after too many years of watching soulless, goalless football, there’s some relief in knowing this year’s Boro can hit the back of the net, even if we’re far less certain at the other end.

In fact, despite that 0-0, Boro are actually fourth in the table for expected goals this season and second for the same stat in home games, albeit from a very small sample. That perhaps shows that this Boro team are creating a comparatively good number of reasonable chances. Blackburn, meanwhile, are eleventh in the overall table despite scoring one more. This might tell us that Blackburn are better at converting than we are, or have scored one or two goals from lower-percentage chances, or it might just tell us that this statistic isn’t really worth pondering!

Another tough game to predict then, both in terms of line-ups following this week’s expected transfer activity, and the outcome, but it is what it is and I do expect a goal or two. I’ll go for Boro 2-1 Blackburn, are you with me?

This topic was modified 1 month ago 3 times by Andy R

Original Fat Bob
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Andy 

Great post I loved “Brain Fart” a classic from now on to describe NW tactics.

Quoting Neil Warnock “ To tell you the truth’ This is not a particularly easy game to forecast. Which Boro team will show up on the day?

I expect the crowds roar of support for the manager (Tony Mowbray) to lift him and his team and seeing he is still living in Nunthorpe he is very much a local lad.

I expect the team that finished at Derby to start the game although we may have moved out DJed Spence, Akpom and who knows will Paddy be allowed to leave?

Hopefully another weeks training for Tav will have got him somewhere near fit and can influence the game more than he did on Saturday.

A weeks rest for Howson and Morsy and it will look a more solid midfield with Matt Crooks linking up with Uche. 

Watmore might make it to the bench and we have missed his clever link up play and eye for goal.

Apart from Jones does everyone else feel that Boro tactics are stale and dour? 

“To tell you the truth it is what it is!”

 

OFB

ORIGINAL FART BRAIN


K P in Spain
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A brilliant opener and response from OFB.

Mogga and his team have a good record against us and even when we play well their keeper has a worldie or the ref can only see right in black and blue!

I wonder what the odds are for either Danni or Uche being red carded?  I suspect we will see a lot of wrestling at set pieces.

We need more influence from our main players if we are to get all three points but I am not sure we really have the quality so it's 1-1 for me.  CoB 😎


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jarkko
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@k-p-in-spain As Mogga still lives locally, he knows the Boro teams well. Perhaps one of the reasons why he is often succesfull against us. He knows us too well.

I still hope we will give one chance for Mogga to manage at Boro before he retires. Perhaps to succeed Warnock? 

The only Boro manager I have met beside John Neal. I once had a longish chat with Mogga at Rockcfiffe after attebding his presser, too. A great person and so Boro through and through.

A Boro legend, Mogga. Up the Boro!


Original Fat Bob
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Fo some reason I’m not too optimistic about getting a decent result against Blackburn on Saturday.

Perhaps if we can get our midfield sorted into a cohesive unit that is capable of creating goal scoring opportunities I may feel slightly better about forecasting a win. 

I must confess that this season feels as if we are treading water and realistically we will not get promoted and hopefully still stay in the top half of the table.

Is this me being pessimistic or realistic? Or do other bloggers feel the same? Our recruitment of Uche and Crooks hopefully will spark some goals through the creativity of Tav and the spirited running of Jones. We lack the snarling midfield general who can win a 50/50 tackle, put their foot on the ball and spray 30 yard diagonal passes onto the head or feet of a striker. A Souness type of player, or are they long gone?

We have also lacked a decisive Captain for some years, a Southgate, a Pearson  a Mowbray! Whilst I think Howson has been a good player he is not a demanding captain or one who can gee up or encourage players. Mind he is better than our last captain who would demand the ball when it came to taking a penalty and then smile shame faced when he missed ! Yes Britt I mean you !

it was a mistake to sign Ameobi who has had this knee problem for a year now and his wages and place in the squad could have been better utilised. Now Warnock is saying it’s going to take Payero months for him to get used to the pace of the championship. Signing old (very old) players at the end of their careers is also a stop gap solution for the team so do you see what I mean about this being a season in limbo waiting for another one to come along?

So let’s have your thoughts Diasborians, am I being realistic or pessimistic?

Are we headed for the Premiership or another season of mediocrity?

OFB


Liked by 4 people: Redcar Red, Malcolm, K P in Spain and Powmill-Naemore
 
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Andy R
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@original-fat-bob

Can't disagree with that, Bob. I do think we have midfield destroyer in Morsy but we're absolutely lacking that real passer in there. I'm hoping Payero is that player but not convinced how much of him we're going to see. I really think Wing should have been retained to play that role and then battle with Payero for that spot going forward.

I do like the front three or four (Ikpeazu, Crooks and two from Jones, Tavernier and Watmore) for this level and am happy with the fullbacks though there isn't a a great deal of back-up. Ultimately though, yes - it looks like midtable with another high turnover of players next summer as short-term deals expire and, presumably, the next manager reshapes the squad. Again.


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Martin Bellamy
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I don’t think we’re a million miles away from a half decent team but the Championship is a notoriously tricky league to escape. I still worry what would happen if we did manage to get promotion - did anyone really enjoy our most recent season in the PL?

Hopefully SG has been planning for Warnock’s departure for a while now and has plans for who replaces him but past performances in succession planning haven’t been very successful have they? 


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jarkko
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@martin-bellamy

Exactly my thoughts, too. A bit worried if we go up, but I think we really could go up. The team looks decent and the second half of the season could be even better if Payro and Sporar start to play well. Mind we still have Watmore and Tavanier to star really this season. 

We have had too many arrivals in a single window for my liking. But if we introduce them carefully and one or two at the time, we could and should finish in the top ten. And at last we have cover for injuries which is an improvement from last season. One left-footed defender still needed, though.

So I expect us to finish in top six and in play-offs this season. What will come after that, I do not know. But we will be a tricky opponent for anyone in the play-offs. So Wembley, here we come.

Up the Boro!


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jarkko
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@martin-bellamy

PS. Have you sold your VW for a Land Rover? UTB!


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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @jarkko

@martin-bellamy

PS. Have you sold your VW for a Land Rover? UTB!

I sold the VW a few months ago (prices were too good to ignore) and bought myself a Discovery as an interim until I can afford a new Defender. I’ve no idea when that might be!  


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jarkko
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@martin-bellamy I went to see your blog to found out more, too. Hence I must give your blog a shout: http://www.c13mpr.com/

Up the Boro!


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lenmasterman
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Thanks, Jarkko. I hadn't visited Martin's blog for some time, so it was good to see that it is as good as ever.  Thanks to both.


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Martin Bellamy
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Cheers guys. With the Campervan sold I haven’t decided where to go with my Blog yet. We’re away with the Glawning next month so that should provide some more content. 


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K P in Spain
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@original-fat-bob.  Good summary OFB and for me it is another season of mediocrity whilst we await another managerial appointment and the merry go round of player ins and outs.  At least we will have a new recruitment director in place and hopefully the start of a new era.

Some of the new players are an improvement on what has gone before (but that does not say much) but as a collective I fear we are well short of a promotion team. 😎


Philip of Huddersfield
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Sorry to hear of the health problem with Alan Peacock .
I started watching the Boro around the time of Clough and Peacock and remember that Clough, because of the goals he scored, always got the headlines ahead of Peacock .

I always thought Peacock was under rated and not always appreciated by the fans. I particularly remember his heading ability which ,apart from Hughie McIlmoyle, has never been bettered. He came into his own when Clough left and went on to play for England and played a big part in getting Leeds promoted.

If my memory serves me right there was a strong rumour that when he signed for Leeds he was suffering knee problems. I know that he didn’t last long at Leeds.

From what I’ve heard he is a really genuine down to earth guy.

Philip of Huddersfield 


Original Fat Bob
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My forecast for Blackburn v Boro

 

 I’m going for 

1 1

 

OFB


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exmil
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Allan in Bahrain
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@original-fat-bob

 

11-0  I presume in favour of the Boro?


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David in Cumbria
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I will be at tomorrow's match, my first this season. Not looking forward to the 4 train journey and a bit wary about being in a crowd as I have only been going out for shopping so far this year. Hoping for a good Boro performance and a win (or just a win!) though we seem to be some time away from a settled team. 

It looks like we are just going to have to accept Covid as a normal risk and hope a more dangerous variant doesn't happen. I have my Lateral Flow Test kit to check myself when I get home, though the rate over here is now higher than in the North East (but the district population is only 55,000 so not that many actual cases).   


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deleriad
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Another difficult one to call. I suspect that following the clean sheet at Derby, Warnock will keep the emphasis on defensive solidity. I'll go for 1-1.

My prediction for the team, assuming Watmore is not fit to start is

Lumley

Dijksteel Fry McNair Bola

Morsy Howson

Tav Crooks Jones

Uche

 

My preferred team and line up is 4-1-4-1 with Payero given a chance to start.

Lumley

Dijksteel Fry McNair Bola

Morsy 

Tav Payero Crooks Jones

Uche


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werdermouth
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Back and even more refreshed from our second spell camping by the Baltic Sea (where I discovered the water was as cold as the name suggests) a little earlier than planned to avoid the predicted three days of rain so will catch the Blackburn game - though it seems Typical Boro have been in charge of the weather during the summer as we managed to erect and pack away the tent in gale-force winds and survive single-figure temperatures overnight as August proved to be more like April - still good to see there's a heatwave about to arrive on the 1st of September as the school holidays end 🙄 

Anyway, as far as the game goes today, thanks to Andy for another detailed match preview and it's probably more of a must win game than the trip to Derby as Boro hope to escape their mid-table obscurity and low-key start. I caught the Rams game while busy packing and it appeared an odd tactical set-up with Dijksteel surprising promoted to a wide midfield role to accommodate Peltier as right-back.

Still it was good to see Tav back earlier than expected - though he looked a little rusty and short of match sharpness. Jones was again the star man for Boro with Crooks also continuing to look a decent acquisition. It was another game where Neil Warnock's team should have come away with all three points, making five dropped points and more lost ground despite chalking up their first clean sheet in 14 games.

As for today, I'd expect to see Dijksteel return to right-back but would be happy to see McNair partner Fry again as he looked more effective than he has in his midfield role so far. Though for me it is the midfield where Boro's problems exist as it has so far lacked any creativity and ability to bring others into play.

The solution may either involve Payero, who hopefully after another week on the training pitch is getting closer to a start - he must at least be match-fit after the Olympics and surely the Championship should not be beyond him. The other option would be to possibly play Tav in something of a midfield role as he at least shows vision for a pass - something Morsy seems to lack.

I'd expect to see 4-3-3 as surely Boro have to start on the front foot - don't know if Toyosi Olusanya has a chance of starting on the right of a front three - if he's anything as direct and pacey as Jones then Ikpeazu and Crooks will be rubbing their hands in the anticipation of the service they could provide.

Prediction: Well Boro really must win this game to go into the international break with their promotion credentials intact as failure to do so would start to see the gap stretch to three wins and more worryingly probably less than three points off the relegation places. That would certain add unwanted pressure on the manager and players to get their act together. Therefore, I'm going for a 3-1 win as Boro come out of the blocks quickly to test Mogga's defence and get an early lead. At least on paper this doesn't look like another 0-0 - failure to win then I'd recommend Warnock take his team to the Baltic coast during the break to blow away those cobwebs!

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by werdermouth

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John Richardson
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Andy,

Many thanks for a considerable opener, excellent.

I'm going for a narrow Boro victory, 2 - 1 with Boro camped in their own penalty area for the last ten minutes and the inevitable five minutes of added time while the 22,000+ Riverside crowd display their positively Olympian buttock clenching skills.

No doubt skipped over on 'Clench of the Day'.

UTB,

John


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Malcolm
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I'm the world's worst forecaster, so I will go with....Nowt to do with me 1 Tony Mowbray 2 🤣 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Malcolm

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Stircrazy
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Image


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werdermouth
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A few questions about the team - no Bola plus Fry, Hall and McNair probably means a back three with either Jones or Tav at left wing-back. Also no ikpeazu, which could mean Crooks up front with either Watmore playing off him or a front three with Jones and Watmore either side. Plus we seem to be getting a Howson-Morsy midfield pairing too!

Doesn't look good on paper so hopefully it's not another weird tactical reshuffle given Bola is on the bench!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by werdermouth

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Redcar Red
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It looks like another eccentric Warnock set up, determined to prove that his three at the back can work. I have no idea why Bola is missing if fit enough to be on the bench. Apparently Ikpeazu is ill which I can appreciate as that's how that starting eleven made me feel. No doubt after it goes pear shaped we will see it revert to four at the back and a more conventional set up. I suppose there is always forlorn hope that Mogga will be as surprised as we are and Rovers get caught cold.


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K P in Spain
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Yet again square pegs in round holes if we are asking one of our most influential midfielders to play wing back. I appreciate he can do a job there but he shouldn't need to.

We can go searching South America and Europe for a midfielder and forward yet we can't find adequate cover for Bola - unbelievable! 😎


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Redcar Red
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I think it will be a back 5/3 with Tav on the left and Dijksteel on the right Morsy and Howson in the middle and a front three of Watmore, Crooks and Jones.


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werdermouth
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Posted by: @redcarred

I think it will be a back 5/3 with Tav on the left and Dijksteel on the right Morsy and Howson in the middle and a front three of Watmore, Crooks and Jones.

God forbid it's not a back-four with Dijksteel as left-back and Howson at right-back...


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Stircrazy
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Sam Gallagher gives Rovers the lead in the 17th minute.   🙁


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