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Middlesbrough Musings: Week Three – Own Goals and Oversize Shirts

middlesbrough_crest.pngIt’s taken me a little while to catch up on the goings on this week as I was away over the weekend. My wife and I took a camping trip and got away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. We ended up with some rainy weather but made the best of it, very similar to the Boro game this past Saturday.

I had thought the match againt Stoke City would be a comfortable three points considering the way the lads had performed against Tottenham and Liverpool. The effort still needed to be there but talent-wise I thought the Boro were just better. It was a little disappointing to see us struggle along to a 2-1 win. The obvious turning point in this one was Amdy Faye’s reckless, two-footed challenge on Shawky, for which he was sent off. Stoke lost any momentum that they had developed during that opening 30+ minutes and as one would expect Middlesbrough were dominant from that point on. One has to wonder how the game would have gone had Faye not gotten himself sent off. (Picture courtesy of the Daily Mail match report)

There was yet another own goal in this game — that’s now three in three league matches. A very worrying trend and one that I hope will end soon. Downing’s penalty miss was another lowlight but it’s far from doom and gloom at the Riverside. The three points on Saturday made it Middlesbrough’s best start for nine years and Alves’ goal was pure class. Great to see him get off the mark after looking so clueless in front of goal up to that point.

A few other notes from the week to pass on.

I had been scouring eBay for a Boro jersey and I kept noticing listings for XXL or XXXL Viduka and Yakubu shirts and was wondering……….Nah, you know what I’m not going to go there, it’s too easy! 🙂

I was glad to see that unlike other EPL clubs, Boro did not panic buy at the deadline. We’ve got a decent squad, a bit small but at least there should not be too many complaints about not starting or being in the squad. Also glad to see that Mido was not sold as we’re not too deep up front and he’ll be needed over the course of the season. As it turns out Southgate spent his “summer money” in January. The club record fee of £12.7m for Afonso Alves apparently came from the summer budget and it looks like it will be money well spent.

It was good to see a number of the squad involved in internationals this weekend. Downing has gotten another call up for England while Egyptian duo Mido and Shawky, Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz and Turkish striker Tuncay will all be in their national team squads. A special mention for defender prospect Rhys Williams, who has got his first senior Welsh squad callup.

I had mixed feelings about the Carling Cup draw. It’ll be fun to have my new team pitted against my old team but it would have been nicer had that happened later in the competition — like the final ! I think we have a good chance to go through if United choose to blood some youngsters in the match and we go in with a strong squad. Southgate has made mention of taking the Cups seriously this season and this will be a test of that conviction.

Until next time, COME ON BORO !

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Redcar Rock

    September 5, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Glad to see someone outside of the Teesside area supporting the Boro.

    With regards to last weekend, it was actually a very good result for us. Historically we usually always struggle against the Stokes of the premier league despite usually being the better team on paper.

    Having being at the game i can tell you that Stoke got their tactics spot on and got in our faces and stopped us from playing, though frankly it was quite infuriating at the time they way they made many cynical and dirty challenges and didn’t really attempt to play football. But for newly promoted sides that are scrapping about to avoid relegation, thats the nature of the game they play. To be fair to Stroke though they were definately pretty solid and are definately no Derby.

    The important point is that this time the lads didn’t let their heads drop, continued to be patient and attack and play ‘our’ game and it finally payed off with the result. Though we could have done with putting away a few more of those chances we created and not conceding a that own goal.

    At the end of the day by the teams own admission they didn’t play at their best against the type of opposition we usually fall down against and yet we still got three points and have made our best start to a season in 9 years.

    Still can’t believe Downing missed that penalty like. I’ve never seen him miss before, i guess it was just a day for missing penalty’s in the prem.

    Oh and BTW the best place to get a boro shirt is the club’s online shop.

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