Middlesbrough: Big spenders set to avoid the drop this season
At the start of the summer, plenty of pundits, journalists and fans from all over the country were condemning Middlesbrough to relegation.
However, Aitor Karanka was very busy in the transfer window this year as the club splashed out on 12 new players; more than anybody else in the Premier League. As a direct result, it looks like Boro now stand a fantastic chance of securing their top flight status this season.
Middlesbrough fell short in their most recent Premier League encounter against Spurs at the Riverside Stadium but fans remain optimistic ahead of what could be a memorable campaign at the Riverside Stadium. While the primary objective is to stay in the Premier League, Boro's astute transfer activity has supporters dreaming of a top-half finish... and it isn't beyond their capabilities.
The likes of Alvaro Negredo, Victor Valdes and Gaston Ramirez moved to the Riverside Stadium this summer and supporters will be excited to see these big names in action throughout the duration of the season. Boro are yet to face one of the Premier League’s top sides but Karanka’s men already look well accustomed to England’s primary division. After all, a number of their key men have played in the Premier League before and the manager will expect them to help Boro’s inexperienced players adapt quickly...
As of September 19th, Middlesbrough are 13th in the table but Karanka’s men will have one eye on a top half finish as they look to cement their Premier League status. And with a favourable run over the next few weeks, there are plenty of points on offer and Boro will be looking to take full advantage ahead of a difficult spell.
At the time of writing, Betway Bookmaker are offering 10/3 on Boro to go down at the first time of asking this season and punters may prefer to take the 33/10 on offer for Karanka’s side to finish in the top 10 – although both are plausible depending on how Middlesbrough fare during the busy festive period. Boro face a tough run of fixtures in the coming months and will play Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City in the space of five games – a difficult set of matches to say the least.
Middlesbrough’s resolve will be tested during that particular spell and Karanka will be desperate to motivate his team to raise their game ahead of that particular run. However, they cannot afford to take their relegation rivals lightly; after all, those are the results that will determine Boro’s survival aspirations. If nothing else, Football League fans believe that Boro have what it takes to avoid the drop...
If Negredo can find his feet in front of goal, Boro will stay up – there’s no doubt about it. You only need to look at Jermain Defoe’s statistics from last season to realise that a competent centre-forward is crucial to a team’s chances of staying in the Premier League.The Sunderland striker netted 15 league goals last season and the Black Cats would almost certainly have dropped out of the top flight without his impact in attack.
Negredo can be Boro’s Defoe – if he keeps fit and builds confidence in the coming months. The Spaniard netted in the opening day clash with Stoke City but has failed fo find the net since; however, just one goal could give him a huge lift.
With Negredo upfront, Boro will prosper but their midfielders need to step up and be counted. Stewart Downing is a key member of Karanka’s squad and his experience could prove telling throughout the campaign. Downing has played for the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa and Liverpool and the 32-year-old's words of wisdom will help the younger members of Middlesbrough's squad to settle and adapt to life in the top flight.
It would be foolish to claim that anything is a given but if Boro maintain their current form, they WILL avoid relegation this season – and staying up could be all the sweeter if north east rivals Sunderland go down.