Jump to content
Join Talk Chelsea and join in with the discussions! Click Here

Middlesbrough - Opposition Views


Recommended Posts

Boro fan and youth players expert, Christopher Powlay, was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of our match on Wednesday. Here is what he had to say:

-Let’s start with how long have you been a Boro fan?
Probably only about a decade, when i was younger my dad always worked on a weekend so didnt really go to any games. Instead i played football on the school field pretending to be Zico, Norman Whiteside, Jesper Olsen etc. I started attending Boro games regularly in 2002, and got a 8 game season ticket initially before taking the plunge the following season. But i was more a football fan than a Boro fan back then. It was a good option to see the worlds best playing for the opposition. I always had a soft spot for Man Utd growing up, but over time and through attending games week in week out i changed. Thats pretty naughty isnt it in footballing terms? haha
-Your season started very well and you even briefly occupied second place, but 2013 has been absolute disaster for you. What has went wrong for you in the past couple of months? And where do you feel you need to improve?
Injuries, injuries and injuries. Story of our last few seasons really. The club lose key players through injury, players group together, dig in and over come.
Add to that a lack of team consistency, Forget Chelsea's 'tinkerman' we have the real deal. The line up changes from week to week. Be it from injuries, players needing rest due to small knocks of some random forseen change. A major miss (and some Boro fans might not agree) for me is Justin Hoyte, last season despised by many, this season he has been consistently a top player for the club. Offers balance to Friend, offers pace and at full back thats a huge thing in todays game.
Where do Boro need to improve?
Everywhere apart from in goal? We as a club lack creativity, which is a little funny because we have on loan young Chelsea starlet Josh McEachran, who seems to see passes no one else does and can move the ball really well keeping possession and putting the opposition under pressure. But he always seems to be used in positions that dont really suit him. Wide left, wide right, in front of the back 4 or up front with no one near to him!
-You are a young side that likes to play a passing game as opposed to lumping the ball forward. How does that affect your chances of promotion this season in your opinion?
We do lump the ball forward, we do it more than people think. When Lukas Jutkiewicz plays the ball seems to be in the air an awful lot. Not just from the usual goal kick kinda plays, but back to front out of defense.
We do also play a passing game, we have players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet. Rhys Williams bombscare Bikey and Woodgate can all bring the ball forward from the back, Friend loves to get down the wing with the ball at his feet, Josh, Leadbitter and Bailey in midfield are all very happy with the ball moving it around and making space and of course Ledesma.
The problem is creating chances, we often hold the ball a long time and are not threatening enough, often a single pass causes a whole defence to shift leaving holes for players to run into. We just seem to lack THAT pass right now.
-Your defense has been leaky this season, do you think you should have did more to strengthen it in the January market?
I think every side wants to strengthen in the January window, at the very least sides dont want to become weaker. But wanting and needing are two different things. The club has Woodgate, Bikey, Williams and Seb Hines who are all centre backs, George Friend can cover there as well. Stephen McManus has returned from his loan spell at Bristol and has come back in as well. Another centre back would have made the side very heavy in that position.
Add to all that, the club really probably doesnt have the money, they brought in Dyer on a pay as you play deal. But the manager said any incoming loans would have to be covered by an outgoing one. The chairman has pulled the purse strings very tight. And i cannot blame him, he invests £1m a month to keep the club going. He invested heavily when Strachan was here, bringing in Kris Boyd, Kevin Thomson, Nicky Bailey, Scott McDonald etc etc all on above average championship wages. Bailey, McDonald and McManus still remain, so that investment is still being paid for.
-Let’s talk about Josh McEachran who is on loan from Chelsea and has been a regular starter for Boro: What have you made of young Josh? Strengths? Weaknesses? And do you think he is able to make at Chelsea in the future?
I'm quite a 'Josh' fanboy. Ive been aware of him for a long long time (being a youth football follower his name was out there from a young age) and when we signed him on loan i was very pleased. I thought he would be a little lightweight for this league but he has shown he can cut it physically.
Strengths, give him the ball and its easy to see the kid can pass. He can see passes that others cannot, he doesnt always get the ball through but you see him trying things that others wont do. It might work a few times a game but that opens the game up and in turn creates chances.
Weaknesses? He dwells on the ball at times and it can cost, he did it vs Charlton earlier this season lost the ball in the middle of the field and it cost a goal. But thats part of learning at a reasonable level. He has played more games this season than so far in his club career altogether. He will make mistakes, he had a spell of poor form but seemed to get over it.
Putting the ball in the net? Yet to score for the club despite a dance in the box where he went past one, taxi'ed another and then fell over himself! He adds goals to his game and he really will be a superb all around ball playing midfielder.
-Who has been your best player this season and who could be a threat to us on Wednseday?
Jason Steele. Outstanding goal keeper, mental to think fans were calling him awful and wanting him sold a season or so ago. He really is an outstanding prospect and a superbly talented keeper to boot. Shot stopping this season has been awesome, kept the side in the game so many times. Yes he has made a few mistakes, what young keeper doesnt? But has become the best keeper in the league in my opinion this season, and that has not gone un noticed by the bigger boys in the PL. Chelsea were rumoured to have made an approach about 18 months back, and he has been watched by PL sides this season near enough week in week out.
Who could be a threat? Hard to say which Boro will turn up, the one who goes out and attacks, shows drive and a will to win, or the one that shoots itsself in the foot, sets up the opposition time and time again and looks as defensivley strong as a sheet of wet newspaper!
Curtis Main has been brilliant since returning from injury, he is a young player the club aquired after his release from Darlington, he is a physical powerful player who has scored a few recently. Muzzy Carayol (maybe off the bench?) is an exciting direct player who has pace to burn.
I think it shows how our season has been that no attacker really has stood out and will be a threat.
-If you could have one player from Chelsea at Boro (other than Josh, that is) who would it be and why?
Frank Lampard, midfield goals are so important. And Frank year after year after year has got double figures (not only double figures but nearly averaging 20 per season!) and thats massive. Yes some are penalties, but plenty are not. He isnt just all about goals, he can move the ball about, he can play deeper and set up plays. To me he has to be the 2nd best English midfielder over the last decade behind the ginger assassin at man utd.
-The FA cup is the dream of every English team, but is it a top priority at Boro or will the manager have the league game in mind when setting up the team?
It probably wont be our top priority, but it will be taken very seriously. No side wants to get a good whooping and because of that you will see a full strength side.
-Chelsea go into the tie as favorites but our inconsistency under Rafa makes an upset very much on the cards. How do you rate your chances in this tie? Do you think you can take advantage of Chelsea’s form?
Football is brilliant because on any given day in the cup something can happen. Chelsea will beat Boro more times than not if they play week in week out. But its a one off game. Chelsea huge favorites to win. No one can deny that, but as a fan of a smaller club you always have hope.
-What lineup and formation is Mowbray likely to put out on Wednseday?
To be honest you probably have as much clue as i do, each game we see some sort of change. I suspect it will a 4-3-3 that really is a 4-5-1.
Steele will start in goal (injurys permitting) and the back 4 will probably be made up of Friend at left back, Bailey filling in at right back and a central pairing from Bikey, Woodgate, McManus, Williams or Hines.
If Josh doesnt play (which he hasnt in any cup games so far!) then you may see someone like Haroun come in. a Hard working physical player. Leadbitter, maybe Williams (if not at centre back) possilby. Up front could be anyone who is fit! Miller is carrying a knock, Jutkiewicz is out, McDonald returned from injury as a sub this weekend past. Leaving Main and possibly Ledesma, Dyer or Carayool as wide players.
Expect a totally different side with 5 battling midfielder then just to make me look bad!
-Finally, please predict the final result.
Chelsea win.

Click here to view the article
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Delightfully insightful and excellently done, thank you Christopher!

He makes some excellent points. The bit about Josh is particularly interesting. Many Chelsea fans have written him off this season but have forgotten that he has played almost exclusively out of position.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

talk chelse forums

We get it, advertisements are annoying!
Talk Chelsea relies on revenue to pay for hosting and upgrades. While we try to keep adverts as unobtrusive as possible, we need to run ad's to make sure we can stay online because over the years costs have become very high.

Could you please allow adverts on this website and help us by switching your ad blocker off.

Thank You