'Sunderland v Boro - Match Review'
The second weekend of the Premier League season has only just finished and yet Sunday’s victory over Sunderland felt like it could have a huge impact on Boro’s survival hopes this season.
Pre-match there was plenty of debate over whether this game could be considered a derby or not given the greater dislike of the team further up the road by both sides, but it the game certainly had the feel of a local derby.
Cristhian Stuani justified his inclusion ahead of natural wingers Albert Adomah and Viktor Fischer with two brilliant goals, which were enough to see off Sunderland and give Boro their first win of the season.
Not only was it three points on the board, but the result was hugely significant.
To start with it gives fans bragging rights over their local rivals after years of watching on as Newcastle and Sunderland battled to be labelled ‘the best in the North East’. That will give the supporters and the players a lift as this is a team that excels when everyone is together, that will be a big boost for the up-and-coming games.
Another note of significance is the fact that Boro have already beaten one of their expected relegation rivals. David Moyes admitted after the game that he is expecting his side to be in a battle to avoid the drop again this season so beating a relegation rival is crucial for Aitor Karanka’s side.
When battling the drop, you have to beat the teams around you, so claiming an early scalp against a side that are more than likely going to be around the bottom three all season is crucial.
The third positive to come from the game was the performance of some of the players. Mr Consistent Adam Clayton was as solid as ever, Alvaro Negredo continued his impressive start to his Boro career with a good display as well as an assist. Stuani was terrific but it was Adam Forshaw was absolutely magnificent.
Before the season began, Forshaw was behind Clayton, Grant Leadbitter and Marten De Roon in the pecking order but injuries to the latter two have given him the opportunity to impress, and impress he did at the Stadium of Light.
While there were some questions and concerns after the game, the fumbles of Brad Guzan and the absence of Jordan Rhodes being most prominent, the game was a hugely positive one for Boro.
Two games and four points back into life in the Premier League and Boro look like they belong in the top flight. It’s like we were never gone!