Saturday, March 11, 2006

Middlesbrough Preview

This weekend we welcome Middlesbrough to the Valley for the first of two meetings within 11 days.

The average Addick would argue that the league game is nowhere near as important as the Cup encounter (and they'd be right), but if we were to win this one in style we could no doubt carry a psychological advantage into the crunch match on the 23rd.

Boro have been far from convincing throughout much of this season, but actually arrive in SE7 in decent form. Since the embarrassing 0-4 home defeat to Aston Villa, the club have won 6 of their last 7 games, and conceded only 2 goals in the process. A lack of genuine pace up front is made up for by the physical strength and presence offered by Viduka, Hasselbaink and Yakubu, the trio have plundered no fewer than 40 goals between them so far this season.

Their team news shows that Boateng faces a late test after turning an ankle in midweek, but other than that they are likely to remain unchanged from the side that beat AS Roma at The Riverside on Wednesday. I watched a repeat of that match, and it was probably the most boring game of football I have seen all year, including our home 0-0 draw with Villa. Yes, at least there was a goal in this game, but Boro somehow manage to remain boring even while they are putting the ball in the net. I don't know how they do it, but they seem to have an almost Boltonesque way of strangling all life from football matches. Strange really, when you consider the amount of undoubted talent that they have in their side.

Team news for us shows Marcus Bent facing a late test on the hamstring injury which forced him off last weekend, and perhaps (hopefully) Jason Euell pushing for a starting place ahead of Matt Holland in the centre of midfield. Rommedahl looks set to miss out again after his comeback match in midweek was called off.

Over the course of the Premiership years, more than half of the games we have played against the Teesiders have ended all square, but we've managed to score 5 goals in our last 2 games against them, so perhaps our strikers will be able to find their shooting boots again tomorrow.

After 3 consecutive 0-0 draws in the league, it's about time that we tried to play a little more expansively again. Especially at The Valley.

Cynic Athletic's Prediction - 2-1 Win (Bent, Euell - Yakubu)


Post a Comment

<< Home