Boro v Hull
After Boro’s rampant lions Slyvestered The Canaries on Friday night, we turn our attentions to sufferin’ succo-dashing the hopes of Hull City.
Start scarily slowly, score from nothing, settle, overwhelm the opposition and score two more, calamitous slip-up at the back, concede, score again. It was just another game of Carrickball against Norwich City and that was only half-time! What a result to settle the nerves following a few stuttering performances. Norwich are no Championship mugs, especially away from home, but Boro obliterated them with wave after wave of ruthless attacks. Two goals and two assists for on loan Cameron Archer once again underlined his importance to the side, whilst, of course, Akpom netted again.
Boro actually managed only eight shots in the entire game but struck five whilst Lenihan also buried a header before the offside flag went up. And with Burnley drawing a blank away at Reading on Saturday, Boro are now the division’s top scorers with 79. That is absolutely remarkable – we’ve scored 60 goals in the 24 games under Michael Carrick – a whopping 2.5 per game. Unstoppable.
Unfortunately, Saturday wins for seven of the other eight in the top half means it’s largely “as you were” at the top of the Championship with just four games to go for most.
Hull City visit the Riverside sitting comfortably in 15th place after a creditable draw away at Blackburn last time out. Like ourselves, they have a young Head Coach in Liam Rosenior, who took over in early November with his side in 21st. Rosenior began his coaching career at the forward-thinking Brighton HQ before being hired by Derby County, initially as a first team coach under Dutch midfield road-runner Phillip Cocu and then as assistant to Wayne Looney Tunes, I mean Rooney.. Rosenior then had a spell in interim charge of The Rams following Rooney’s resignation before a short spell on the sidelines. After a playing career that included 144 appearances for Hull City between 2010 and 2015, the 38 year old former full back and son of 80s/90s hitman Leroy Rosenior returned to take charge in his first permanent managerial role.
Since then, Hull have steadily progressed over Rosenior’s 24 Championship games, with just five defeats in that time. Wins have been hard to come by however with just seven and only 27 goals scored. It’s fair to say that Rosenior has focussed on making his side hard to beat in a spell that has seen them placed 10th since he took charge.
Indeed, the 3-1 defeat to Burnley is their only loss since late February in a run which has seen them face West Brom, Coventry, Sunderland and Millwall as well as Blackburn, with only Sunderland managing to score more than once (a bonkers 4-4 draw on Good Friday).
Their tale of the last six echoes their season under Rosenior – W1 D4 L1 G7 A5 – a generally low-scoring, hard to beat side that can’t muster enough goals to win enough games. Away from home, it is similar but slightly worse – W0 D4.
Unfortunately for Hull, it is not as if they are creating chances but failing to take them. Their xG of 1.14/game is the seventh worst in the division and exactly matches their actual goals scored. Incidentally, the difference between Boro’s xG and actual goals for is now the widest in the division at 0.33/game, which really highlights how well we’ve converted our chances this term.
Whoscored.com lists Hull’s strengths as only “creating long shot opportunities” (which perhaps explains why their xG is low) and “creating chances using through balls” though neither are described as “very strong”, whilst their list of weaknesses is significantly longer, including “avoiding individual errors”, “stopping opponents from creating chances” and “defending against skilful players”. This all makes rather good reading for Boro fans.
Michael Carrick will have few selection headaches following Friday’s 5-1. The questions will only be around any players potentially returning from injury, such as Riley McGree and Dael Fry, and those who may have picked injuries up, such as Aaron Ramsey. Otherwise, a buoyed Boro will be happy to go again and it was particularly encouraging to see Alex Mowatt put in a strong subs performance on Friday night, with Hackney looking very comfortable further up the field. Isaiah Jones, meanwhile, seemed a little refreshed after a spell out of the squad and may become an option again.
On paper, I see echoes of the Preston game here with a decent Hull side who make it difficult for the opposition but don’t pose a huge threat and will look to play a containing game. That didn’t work out very well for Preston and if Boro score early as they did against Norwich, another big win is not out of the question. That said, patience may be required as Hull are competitive and simply don’t lose very often.
Boro’s attack is officially the best in the division, however, and it would take a brave man to back against us scoring twice. That being the case, even with our obligatory defensive howler thrown in at some stage, we should win this game.
Boro 3-1 Hull for me. What about you?
Thanks Andy great stuff as always much appreciated
Oh and Middlesbrough 3 to stay put as well !
Thanks Andy, a great headliner yet again.
All in all it's been a good few days. A great result against Norwich, no better than great, utterly brilliant.
This morning my first visit to see the the man who carried out my operation and he's delighted with my progress describing it as me being in a good place. No need for more scans he could see everything he wanted to with an examination of my mouth and now I see him every six weeks until the turn of the year when it becomes every nine weeks. The Boss and I are delighted, so much so I'm having a couple of beers tonight.
Come on Boro, let more of the good times roll against Hull. No scoreline prophesies just Boro to win and by the more the merrier.
Take care everyone.
I concur with Andy’s assessment about Hull City and that Boro should win, but as Michael Carrick has often stated no win in this division can be taken for granted. At one stage I even thought that the Tigers might even push for a playoff place, but that is out of the question now. Nevertheless any side that can score 4 goals at the Stadium of light must be treated with the utmost of respect. I’m not too concerned whether Boro finish 3rd or 4th as long as Boro play at home in the second leg of the semifinal playoff match. At least we wouldn’t be drawn against Luton Town until possibly the final.
More about the Hatters next week.l
Congratulations, John. That's great news.
And thanks to Andy for another well crafted opener
Thanks for the support fellows of the Diasboro, it's much appreciated to read and see plus it's psychologically strengthening.
Many, many thanks.
@andy. Another very good Headliner along with the Hull background and stats.
We can only hope that the current injuries are not serious, we certainly do not need a depleted squad over the next number of weeks.
I am only hoping for no defensive bolloxxx.
Nice one, Andy. Enjoyed reading that starter.
John R - that is very good news. And whilst an interest in Boro is what draws us to these pages, there are some things even more important.
Surely 3-1 or better (ie 4-1, 5-1 etc). Somehow Boro always seems to have a generous side. "Give them a goal and we'll just score more than them." At this stage of the season good quality peformances are nice to watch but it's the results that count.
Andy R another great and interesting opener, thank you and OFB for your dedication throughout the season.
In the EXMIL CHALLENGE I have recorded all but 3 part 3 entries, some errors in a few, all but three have been corrected, I await KP in Spain, Norfolk and Boro and jarkko but as the errors don’t include tonight’s games we are ok to accept when they come online 👍.
I am thinking of making a slight change to next season’s Challenge, I will still post each part’s fixtures for all the teams involved, including their starting total but instead of everyone posting their entry as:
Burnley (90) WWWW = 102
The requirement will be to post as:
Burnley = 102
This will make the recording of entries a lot easier and faster for me BUT it will leave the onus on individuals to ensure they have made no errors, such as having two different results for the same match, the correct amount of games per team etc. I would appreciate everyone’s honest thoughts on this proposal.
Come on BORO.
Thanks @AndyR for (yet) another well researched and prepared opener.
First a shout out to John for sharing his good news. Long may the recovery continue.
As for the Hull game.... Well, my wife has hidden my foam hands after I overindulged the fumes while preparing my entry for part three of the Exmil Challenge. As a consequence I am back to being mildly anxious that our return to form against Norwich is for real and that we will not revert to playing "lesser" opposition without our A-game mentality on show.
As Andy pointed out in the opener, echoing observations from others, that we are irresistible when the opposition like to try and play football with us, but we have sometimes struggled to find the break through against a well organised defensive block.
How are Hull going to engage with us? Well, for starters they do not need to win this fixture. In fact they effectively only need one more point from their last four games to be safe from relegation. So it is unlikely that they will be playing to win. They will only need more than one point to be safe if their goal difference takes a severe pounding over the rest of the season. So, it is more than likely that they will set out to frustrate us trying to score, perhaps only looking to grab whichever breakaway opportunity might come their way.
Patience then, I think, will have to be our virtue on Wednesday. I would like to think that Middlesbrough3 (or 4, or 5) will prevail with some ease, but perhaps this is a game we might need to grind out a hard won victory with an odd goal and to be satisfied with that.
Here's hoping I am wrong and we will have another televisual feast of football to enjoy.
A very sensible suggestion I'm in favour of anything that lessens your workload.
Thanks again for all of your considerable efforts at what sounds to be a very busy time for you
Great opener, Andy.
Great news, John. I hope you continue to make such good progress.
Great idea, Exmil!
Boro to win tomorrow. It’ll be tight, especially if McGree, Forss and Ramsey are all missing. I’ll settle for 1-0.
@exmil - whatever is best for you next year is fine by me!
We could even have a "start of the season prediction" too. You know: Arsenal 80 points, Man City 78, Boro 74, Liverpool 73...
EXMIL CHALLENGE part 3
The only outstanding amendment left is by KP in Spain and as Shef Utd v WBA is not until the Wednesday 26 April , I can accept the correction when he is online next.
Come on BORO.
@forever-dormo I love your optimism but I can see why you are where you are in the Challenge 😂😂😂.
Come on BORO.
Thanks for the starter Andy. I don't know how you manage to prepare them. I am only just finding time to read the latest posts and haven't got around to the comments after the Norwich match. I agree with your description of our attack as ruthless and hope the injured players have recovered for the Hull match. In that form, Ramsey, Archer, Forss and Akpom (with the service they got from the rest of the team) must be the best attack in the Championship. If only our defence was somewhere near the quality of the attack. Even when we were 5 - 1 up I still didn't feel certain that Norwich wouldn't get back into contention until about 10 minutes from the end when it was clear that they had run out of time.
I will be back at the Riverside but am feeling tired with the travelling and my inability to have a good sleep. I wake up and check the time at least once an hour during the night. Last season was worse though, as we had five home games in April but I suppose being a year older makes it harder for me.
I have just checked the Northern League Division 1 result and Penrith have avoided relegation with a 2 -0 home win. They have one more match to play but that is against the top team - Newton Aycliffe. (The previous two seasons they have only avoided relegation thanks to reorganisation of the teams in the leagues.)
Some interesting results in the Champo tonight.
Burnley failed to clinch the title by drawing at Rotherham, which suggests that our game at The New York Stadium might be harder than we previously imagined.
Sheffield United continued not to implode, seemingly oblivious that they have an FA Cup semi-final coming up, and continued their inexorable march towards automatic promotion.
Birmingham won at Millwall, surprisingly, which makes Boro’s job of finishing third or fourth a little easier. Many thanks to our former striker Lukey Juke Jutkiewicz!
The Baggies won at Blackpool and have come from absolutely nowhere to hijack 6th spot. I didn’t see that coming. This result pushed Blackburn out of the playoff positions, where they had been a fixture for a long time. With their game in hand they can still get 78 points, but have a horrendous run-in in which they play most of the top 7 or 8.
And Sunderland drew at home to Huddersfield, which was another excellent point for Neil Warnock. The man is truly a genius when it comes to remotivating and rescuing lost causes!
All this means that the battle for the playoffs is as wide open (or as tight, if you prefer) as ever. Below Millwall in 5th there are 6 clubs within 2 points of 6th place. Any one from WBA down to Norwich in 11th must be in with a shout. And Millwall will certainly be feeling the pressure.
One further unfortunate outcome from tonight’s results is that almost all of my predictions in the exmil challenge were wrong. I’m a nailed-on certainty for relegation now! 😢
@exmil. I have posted my response under the Norwich thread where I first picked up that I had made an error, apologies again.
Your proposal for just a points total is highly sensible and gains my vote. I just hope I can add up!
Who said what did you used to do for a living!! 😎
Just catching up following our trip down under so a belated thanks to Andy for another excellent opener.
It was also excellent news from John and long may it continue; I know from Mrs P experiences how much of a boost you get when the time between consultants appointments becomes longer and longer. Last year she went from six monthly to annually.
I hope we do the business on Hull tonight albeit given I would have to get up at 4:00am it will have to be a catch up video for me rather than the live game. 😎
Can’t do the maths! 5:00am kick off here in Brisbane but still too early. 😎
@clive-hurren Going back a fair number of weeks now, when both WBA and the Boro were steaming andSheffield faltering, I said then I hope we can manage the auto’s as I do not fancy us against WBA.
Of course WBA fell off their perch, we had our blip and Sheffield recovered.
Now as Clive said, WBA have stoked the boiler once more and are steaming. I think they will make 5 /6th. I hope it is 6th so we do not meet them in the first play offs. I think we will finish fourth.
Also Mowatt would be ineligible to play.
EXMIL CHALLENGE 2023 - Part 3
All entries are now recorded, it seems the most common error was the fixture between Shef Utd and WBA but I suspect it was because it was Shef Utd 2nd fixture and WBA 3rd fixture 🤔. The anomaly occurred because Shef Utd are in the FA cup semi final this weekend, while most of the other teams play league matches.
Come on BORO.
Reading the posts, people seem to be worrying about playing WBA in the playoffs but they have to get there first and they have Sunderland (H) Shef Utd (A) Norwich (H) before the final fixture Swansea (A) who will want to finish their disappointing season with a win in front of their fans 🤔. Also it will not matter who we play in the two legged semifinal (WBA, Millwall, Blackburn, Coventry, Preston, Norwich or even Sunderland) people will find a reason to worry about the fixture, once it is known (probably around 5 on Monday 8 May).
Come on BORO.
I feel very relaxed about the remaining games probably because it’s not essential to win more than one game to secure a top 6 finish as there are quite a few games where teams play one another.
The possibility of injuries are worse ( I see WBA top striker is now out for the season after his last game)
I expect Boro to be without Fry, Ramsay and possibly McGree tonight and so it’s an opportunity for others.
But the most important aspect is momentum- clearly Luton have it the most, WBA are moving nicely whereas Millwall are struggling to score ( lost 0-1 last night) Blackburn look well placed but have the worst run in. Norwich are my dark horse for position 6.
So, let’s hope for a steady performance and say a 2-0 victory would be very acceptable against a team with quite a few injuries.
Philip from Huddersfield
Thanks Andy for another super preview and it was particularly interesting to hear about how Hull are a blunt but stubborn side - which are probably ideal opponents for Boro who essentially need one more win to cement their play-off spot. I'm sure the players will enjoy teasing their defence knowing that they generally lack ambition at the other end - plus it will hopefully calm our back four and encourage Giles to concentrate on his assists!
Sadly an automatic promotion place has all but gone now with the Sheffield outfit less than three points away from placing Boro in an impossible snooker - they've basically just about fallen over the finishing line and in truth they would have been ideal play-off opponents for a Boro side playing on the front foot.
As to who Boro would fancy playing is hard to say but better a team that has just about hung in the top six than one that breaks in and is full of confidence - could be anyone maybe even Coventry who matched our escape from the bottom back inthe early Carrick days - or god forbid Sunderland who could yet sneak in.
So Mowatt is rewarded with a start - probably partnering Howson with Hackney continuing in his more attacking role on the left. Forss is fit to start but a rare appearance on the bench for Muniz who it would be a surprise to see him on the pitch!