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EURO 2020 Predictions League - Round Two - 13th/14th June


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D Netherlands v Ukraine

D Austria v North Macedonia

H England v Croatia

A Scotland v Czech Republic

H Spain v Slovenia

H Poland v Slovakia

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Cheers for the tag man!

H Netherlands v Ukraine

H Austria v North Macedonia

D England v Croatia

D Scotland v Czech Republic

H Spain v Slovenia

H Poland v Slovakia

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  • Latest Posts

    • A Cardiff v West Brom H Huddersfield v Blackburn H Hull v Blackpool D Middlesbrough v Sheffield Utd A Preston v Stoke H QPR v Birmingham H Barnsley v Nottingham Forest D Derby v Reading H Fulham v Swansea H Luton v Coventry D Millwall v Bristol City A Peterbrough v Bournemouth
    • While we have a regressive Manager playing regressive football which as you say is the complete opposite to us except that when I actually type it it looks real scary. A regressive Manager playing regressive football. How bad can it get and where is it going to take us?  
    • Our fixtures become interesting after Sheffield United. Away to Hull next Saturday then we have a run of Home games to Peterborough and Barnsley then Away to Cardiff, Warnock's old Club who are struggling (although not quite as bad as ourselves), Home to Birmingham, Away to Luton before we go to the Hawthorns to face the Baggies on the 6th Nov. We then have two consecutive Home games against Millwall and Preston before a trip to Huddersfield on the 27th November. On paper there are some very "winnable" games amongst that lot so would it be fair to let Warnock have that run to save himself and get things back on track or is it too risky to let the performances continue and see those potential points frittered away like we have all year? It could be argued that it would be reasonable to give him those games but the reality is that we are seeing nothing that gives us any reason whatsoever that Warnock has a grip and is going to tun it around. There has been little logic, shape or reason as to how he sets his sides up. Our defence is as poor as I have seen from a Boro side in a long time. If we were solid at the back, keeping clean sheets while boring us to death there would at least be some merit in his thinking but porous doesn't begin to describe us. Our Midfield is a disjointed mess, they cant cover and shield the defence and they can't set up attacking passages of play. They seem to run around chasing back (or more likely chasing their man to mark) after we lose possession or running up chasing long punts, then running back again, then running up again meanwhile adding little of merit or quality. It's clear that it is due to tactics rather than them all being useless (including Howson in fairness). Their passing and ball retention is painful to watch rendering them a weak and ineffective unit regardless of personnel. The fact that we are lamenting the loss of a fairly basic clogger in Morsy illustrates just how desperate we have sunk and how low our expectations now are. Attack? I can only chuckle at the thought of us actually looking like we can attack and record efforts be they on or off target. With just about zero threat or opportunities, bereft of any quality of service we look hopeless.  Ikpeazu can be a real handful and Sporar has class yet neither seem to be effective in a Warnock side.  We have played many teams already with far fewer resources than Warnock has at his disposal and have been found wanting on each and every occasion with the exception of bottom of the table Forest who immediately sacked their Manager. Derby are a basket case and a collection of journeymen players and Rooney's nous (Rooney and nous in the same sentence is something I thought I would never be typing) but they comfortably nullified Warnock. Mark Robbins and Coventry (with their own set of off field issues for years) and limited budget of a side bettered us with ease. Reading with an inexperienced Keeper (not that it mattered as his Kit won't need to have been washed by the end of all that added time), and a defence consisting of midfielders square pegged into a makeshift defence kept us at bay with such ease it was demoralising. Then there was Blackpool and copy and paste. A terrible disorganised Defence, a Midfield that seemingly has a confused purpose and an Attack that rarely if ever threatens leaves me with little reason for optimism. I'm not even sure where to begin in terms of sorting it all out as it is so far off the ideal in every single department that it is scary as to how bad we have become and how likely it is to continue unabated because there are absolutely no signs of something clicking or even just misfiring. It's the dampest of damp squibs. Its like the end of Strachan and Mogga all over, all the signs are glaringly obvious and I suspect the players must think the same despite them being "a smashing bunch of lads really". If SG made a change now it could get worse but by how much? If he doesn't it could get better but again by how much? Weighing everything up I can't see anything to suggest anything but more of the same for the last quarter of the year and by that time we could be lamenting more lost points against mediocre to poor sides and seriously deep in relegation territory. Hull and Peterborough will be looking at their fixtures against us and seeing them as winnable six pointers, this against a side that had the Play Offs as the target only a few weeks back.    
    • Warnock shouldn't abuse referees. But I don't think boro fans should be calling our manager expletives online. It makes us all look silly. I imagine if we beat Sheffield United 3-0 then nobody will be calling him a p**** then. He won't be here much longer.
    • Our performances have been so bad this season that I now think Warnock leaving is the best thing all round. Our midfield hasn't been fit for purpose for most of this season as Warnock doesn't know how to get the best out of the players at his disposal. If the going gets tough then I doubt Warnock will dig his heels in to stick around for a mid-table at best kind of season, so I'm sure there's a good chance that he'll leave if there isn't an upturn in results soon. There's two more games against Sheffield United (home) and Hull City (away) before the next international break - which would be a good time to make a managerial change - so our results before then could decide whether Warnock leaves or not. Whilst Crooks has probably been our best performing central midfielder this season, I think him him being part of any three man midfield, especially with Warnock's direct tactics, massively reduces our fluidity in possession and just leads to our midfield three not functioning to anywhere near an acceptable standard. Last season we were far more fluid in possession without a unique "Warnock style" midfielder like Crooks. Something has dramatically changed in midfield from last season as we've got so much worse. I don't think the goals he has provided has been worth the negatives. Any three from Howson, Morsy, Saville and Tavernier last season performed to a far higher and consistent standard than any three this season so far. I can see the positives that Crooks adds to the team in a midfield role such as him pushing forward from midfield to be a targetman for flick-ons from Lumley's long kicks, and a very good aerial presence in both boxes in open play and set-pieces. However, aside from them, I think he really limits us as a team as the ball doesn't flow well with him in there. With three central midfielders we should be far more patient on the ball and allow our shape to open up far more with fullbacks overlapping, wide midfielder having a more infield position and midfielders playing through the thirds with quality. Instead everything in midfield is disjointed, messy and scrappy for us - with minimal quality as a unit. We've played our best football this season in the home game against Blackburn with Howson, Morsy and Tavernier in a midfield three - with Crooks playing as a targetman in strike. Kieran Scott must be tearing his hair out after watching how smoothly Norwich's midfield in their two promotion seasons move the ball around and progress it into the forward areas. Siliki and Payero both still adapting to the Championship won't help matters either. Whatever the cause is, the problem of the midfield is abundantly clear so it needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

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