The start of the new Premier League season is just days away with the opening game for Middlesbrough at home to Spurs.
Likely Boro Line-up;
Name - Premiership Experience? - Premiership Quality?
Gk: Turnbull -- No -- No
Rb: McMahon -- No -- No
Cb: Huth -- Yes -- Yes
Cb: Wheater -- Yes -- Yes
Lb: Taylor -- Yes -- No
Rm: Emnes -- No -- No
Cm: O'Neil -- Yes -- Yes
Cm: Digard -- No -- No
Lm: Downing -- Yes -- Yes
St: Alves -- Yes -- Yes
St: Tuncay -- Yes -- Yes
From looking above, 4 of the likely starting 11 have little Premiership experience, with new signings Emnes and Digard included. Ignoring there, defender Tony McMahon has yet to fulfil his potential due to injuries. Keeper Ross Turnbull also has little experience but seems the likely to start ahead of Brad Jones.
Now onto Premiership Quality. This is who I think is good enough to feature in the Premier League game on Saturday, at this current time, so therefore new signings Digard and Emnes have no Premier League quality.
I feel Taylor and McMahon are not good enough at the moment, but this will come through experience. The same can be said for Ross Turnbull.
The worrying fact is the lack of experience at the back with both full-backs and keeper in my opinion at this current time, not good enough. This leaves the wings vulnerable for attack through David Bentley and Dos Santos who have performed well for Spurs this pre season. The front line for the visitors is likely to be Berbatov and Bent who have scored a hand full of goals this pre season.
Focusing on Midfield and Attack for Boro, all seems positive with Downing on the left, looking to improve on his impressive season last year and Emnes on the right able to take on players with his pace and skill.
Digard seems to have fitted right into the central midfield with his range of pin point passes and the ability to break up play. O’Neil would provide options going forward and be able to support the front two of Alves and Tuncay.
Alves has netted 4 goals this pre season, and has been looking sharp. He will be looking to carry on his good form from the end of last season after scoring a hat-trick in the 8-1 victory over Manchester City. Tuncay failed to find the net in the pre season but looked sharp in the Euro 2008 campaign with Turkey. Other options upfront include Aliadiere who scored 3 times in pre season, and Mido who has been working hard over the summer to get himself match fit.
I can see the game on Saturday having lots of goals, in an open game.