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                                                                         Middlesbrough FC vs Birmingham City FC
                                                                                 Saturday 30th October – 3:00 pm
                                                                                         Riverside Stadium

Introduction:
After the Hull game a lot of fans understandably had enough of this season and Neil Warnock. Three wins later and we’re in the playoffs and the positivity is somewhat back. I imagine a lot of people’s opinions still won’t have changed as realistically they were three games we should be winning.

Saturday’s game will be tougher though as Birmingham are no pushovers, although they do seem to be underachieving so far this season. But even though they’re in 18th, they are still only 5 points behind us, which shows how tight the league is currently.

I personally thought Birmingham were going to be up there this season as I like Lee Bowyer as a manager, plus they have a solid squad. Very much doubt they’ll be lingering in the bottom half for the whole season. The table currently looks like:

image.png.c84c1631169ee5b312be41b6ed770b26.png


Form and Stats:
Boro:
Starting with Boro, our general attacking play seems to have improved a lot recently since Warnock was forced to field such an attacking line-up. Defensively we’ve been surprisingly good as well, keeping 4 clean sheets in our last 5.

1.53 expected goals (xG) – 6th overall
1.15 expected goals against (xGA) - 19th overall

At home there’s a slight improvement compared to away. Notably we’ve kept 3 clean sheets in our last 3 home games.

1.62 expected goals (xG) at home - 6th overall
1 expected goal against(xGA) at home - 22nd overall

Boro home form:

image.png.a0f1c0a0c723d8410ebe8c3c987c4e51.png


Birmingham:
1.34 expected goals (xG) – 12th overall
1.12 expected goals against (xGA) - 19th overall

Playing away doesn’t seem to affect Birmingham as they are slightly better statistically , however their recent away results have been poor.

1.31 expected goals (xG) away – 11th overall
1.14 expected goals against (xGA) away - 22nd overall

Birmingham away form:

image.png.8194e977ebd40449cd0f363202af60d7.png

 

Birmingham Scouting:
After a solid victory against Swansea in their last game, the general fan opinion I’ve seen is that the team should remain unchanged on Saturday. Bowyer deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation in the last game, so I imagine that will also remain unchanged. We could see Warnock trying to match up the three at the back.

image.png.46c061422740ca07a4eae05b8ada0786.png

Ones to watch:

Troy Deeney – Probably the most recognisable name in their team. Good striker at this level and if they get a penalty, you’d back him to bang it in. Scored in his last game.

George Friend – Sexiest man alive, great human being and a good footballer. Need I say more?

Ivan Šunjić – Joined Birmingham for 7m in 2019 and has become a reliable player for them. Ball winning midfielder who will put himself about, would love him at Boro.

Tahith Chong – On loan from Manchester United. Hasn’t quite worked out for him so far in his career, but he’s been brilliant for Birmingham this year. Tricky player with a great work rate, can see him causing us a lot of problems.
 

Score predictions from Birmingham fans:

“2-0 Boro, first goal scorer Payero”

“Boro 1-1 Blues, Hogan first goal scorer”

Tough game they are playing well, I think Lee Bowyer will set up to get a draw so 0-0.

“I’ll go for a sneaky 1-0 Blues, Hogan to score”

“1 – 1 with Deeney first goal scorer”

“Going 1-2 the Blue machine”

“1-1. Deeney FGS.”

“Boro 2 Blues 0. Sporar first goalscorer.”

“Tricky side Boro. But I will back us based on the wins/goals are like buses. Boro 0 Blues 2. Deeney FGS”

“2– 1 Blues Hogan fgs. Impressed against Swansea, Boro nothing special stagnent in this division like us”

“1-1, Sporar first goal scorer”

“Smoggies 0 ~ 1 Blues. The first goalscorer will be Scott Hogan.”

“Not confident on this......1-1”



Personal view:
I think this game will be tougher than a lot of fans are expecting. Lee Bowyer isn't a bad manager at all and if you look at their starting 11 it's pretty strong. This will be the hardest game we've played since Sheffield United (even though we lost to Hull). I'm really liking the dynamic of our team lately though and the likes of Payero, Tav, Sporar, Tav, Crooks and Bamba make such a difference at this level. Overall I think we have more quality than them, but I still have doubts about us tactically, especially when playing a properly coached team. Hopefully I can keep my match day thread streak going, but I think it'll end up being a draw or hopefully a scrappy win for Boro.

image.thumb.png.790cde7ed824865598d133e34c88ee83.png
                                                                                                                                       (Hopefully we'll see more of this)

Questions:

1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

6. Starting 11 and formation?

 

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Middlesbrough FC vs Birmingham City FC                                                                                  Saturday 30th October – 3:00 pm                                             

Out of all the reasons, one is most important - appointment of Agnew when we still had a good chance of staying up. We threw in the towel with however many number of games left to go with that decisio

Mate it’s against 3 of the poorest teams in the league. The issue is that time and time again Warnock has shown that he can’t cut it anymore against better teams.  Why did he change a winning side a

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51 minutes ago, Weasel said:

borovsbirmingham.thumb.png.5c982bf7bb03cd61001c1584b6af5744.png

                                                                         Middlesbrough FC vs Birmingham City FC
                                                                                 Saturday 30th October – 3:00 pm
                                                                                         Riverside Stadium

Introduction:
After the Hull game a lot of fans understandably had enough of this season and Neil Warnock. Three wins later and we’re in the playoffs and the positivity is somewhat back. I imagine a lot of people’s opinions still won’t have changed as realistically they were three games we should be winning.

Saturday’s game will be tougher though as Birmingham are no pushovers, although they do seem to be underachieving so far this season. But even though they’re in 18th, they are still only 5 points behind us, which shows how tight the league is currently.

I personally thought Birmingham were going to be up there this season as I like Lee Bowyer as a manager, plus they have a solid squad. Very much doubt they’ll be lingering in the bottom half for the whole season. The table currently looks like:

image.png.c84c1631169ee5b312be41b6ed770b26.png


Form and Stats:
Boro:
Starting with Boro, our general attacking play seems to have improved a lot recently since Warnock was forced to field such an attacking line-up. Defensively we’ve been surprisingly good as well, keeping 4 clean sheets in our last 5.

1.53 expected goals (xG) – 6th overall
1.15 expected goals against (xGA) - 19th overall

At home there’s a slight improvement compared to away. Notably we’ve kept 3 clean sheets in our last 3 home games.

1.62 expected goals (xG) at home - 6th overall
1 expected goal against(xGA) at home - 22nd overall

Boro home form:

image.png.a0f1c0a0c723d8410ebe8c3c987c4e51.png


Birmingham:
1.34 expected goals (xG) – 12th overall
1.12 expected goals against (xGA) - 19th overall

Playing away doesn’t seem to affect Birmingham as they are slightly better statistically , however their recent away results have been poor.

1.31 expected goals (xG) away – 11th overall
1.14 expected goals against (xGA) away - 22nd overall

Birmingham away form:

image.png.8194e977ebd40449cd0f363202af60d7.png

 

Birmingham Scouting:
After a solid victory against Swansea in their last game, the general fan opinion I’ve seen is that the team should remain unchanged on Saturday. Bowyer deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation in the last game, so I imagine that will also remain unchanged. We could see Warnock trying to match up the three at the back.

image.png.46c061422740ca07a4eae05b8ada0786.png

Ones to watch:

Troy Deeney – Probably the most recognisable name in their team. Good striker at this level and if they get a penalty, you’d back him to bang it in. Scored in his last game.

George Friend – Sexiest man alive, great human being and a good footballer. Need I say more?

Ivan Šunjić – Joined Birmingham for 7m in 2019 and has become a reliable player for them. Ball winning midfielder who will put himself about, would love him at Boro.

Tahith Chong – On loan from Manchester United. Hasn’t quite worked out for him so far in his career, but he’s been brilliant for Birmingham this year. Tricky player with a great work rate, can see him causing us a lot of problems.
 

Score predictions from Birmingham fans:

“2-0 Boro, first goal scorer Payero”

“Boro 1-1 Blues, Hogan first goal scorer”

Tough game they are playing well, I think Lee Bowyer will set up to get a draw so 0-0.

“I’ll go for a sneaky 1-0 Blues, Hogan to score”

“1 – 1 with Deeney first goal scorer”

“Going 1-2 the Blue machine”

“1-1. Deeney FGS.”

“Boro 2 Blues 0. Sporar first goalscorer.”

“Tricky side Boro. But I will back us based on the wins/goals are like buses. Boro 0 Blues 2. Deeney FGS”

“2– 1 Blues Hogan fgs. Impressed against Swansea, Boro nothing special stagnent in this division like us”

“1-1, Sporar first goal scorer”

“Smoggies 0 ~ 1 Blues. The first goalscorer will be Scott Hogan.”

“Not confident on this......1-1”



Personal view:
I think this game will be a lot tougher than a lot of fans are expecting. Lee Bowyer isn't a bad manager at all and if you look at their starting 11 it's pretty strong. This will be the hardest game we've played since Sheffield United. I'm really liking the dynamic of our team lately though and the likes of Payero, Tav, Sporar, Tav, Crooks and Bamba make such a difference at this level. Overall I think we have more quality than them, but I still have doubts about us tactically, especially when playing a properly coached team. Hopefully I can keep my match day thread streak going, but I think it'll end up being a draw or hopefully a scrappy win for Boro.

image.thumb.png.790cde7ed824865598d133e34c88ee83.png
                                                                                                                                       (Hopefully we'll see more of this)

Questions:

1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

6. Starting 11 and formation?

 

Superb, absolutely superb👍

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

Warnock in for now, I'm calmed down with results and I'd like him to do well.

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

It's arguably one of the better ones we've had in a while, but there are still holes.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

Bola and Dijksteel absolutely, with Howson on the bench (he's been good in defence lately, but I'd sooner keep our midfield unchanged when our injuries clear up.

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

The electric kettle.

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Nah, Negredo was better than either of them but played in a tougher league.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

Unchanged.

 

Edited by TeaCider24
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Also, if the Times are to be believed, Saturday will allow Neil Warnock to equal the record for most games as a manager in English league football.

He'll break the record on Tuesday.

Only Sir Alex Ferguson is ahead of him if you include all football.

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

I'm still Warnock out. Will be for a while yet, going to take more than 3 wins against the 3 worst teams in the league to change my mind.

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

I will be optimistic here, because I do actually really like it. I think we're beginning to see just how good Payero can be for us, Sporar is amazing & I still think JLS will come good too.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

Bola - Peltier has done admirably covering for him to be honest, but I'd get Marc back in if possible.

Usually I'd say Fry as well, but I think it would be harsh to break up the McNair - Bamba combo on the back of 3 clean sheets.

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

Black Sabbath, probably. Or maybe the Electric Kettle, I think that originated in Birmingham too.

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

In the championship? Yes. In fact I actually think that Sporar might even be a better striker than Bamford, although I go back and forth on that. 

In general though, in recent years I agree with Teacider that Negredo is arguably the best striker we've had in the last decade.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

Unchanged for me.

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43 minutes ago, Brunners said:

1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

I'm still Warnock out. Will be for a while yet, going to take more than 3 wins against the 3 worst teams in the league to change my mind.

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

I will be optimistic here, because I do actually really like it. I think we're beginning to see just how good Payero can be for us, Sporar is amazing & I still think JLS will come good too.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

Bola - Peltier has done admirably covering for him to be honest, but I'd get Marc back in if possible.

Usually I'd say Fry as well, but I think it would be harsh to break up the McNair - Bamba combo on the back of 3 clean sheets.

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

Black Sabbath, probably. Or maybe the Electric Kettle, I think that originated in Birmingham too.

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

In the championship? Yes. In fact I actually think that Sporar might even be a better striker than Bamford, although I go back and forth on that. 

In general though, in recent years I agree with Teacider that Negredo is arguably the best striker we've had in the last decade.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

Unchanged for me.

100% in support of Neil Warnock 👍

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1st Boro v Birmingham stat

Small Heath, now Birmingham City, were the 1st team to play a league game on Teesside, when on the 9th September 1899 after 2 away games we played Small Heath at Linthorpe road 

Michael Murphy became, not only the 1st player to score a home league goal but also, the 1st Boro player to score on his debut, unfortunately, that was the only positive as we lost the game 3-1 infront of an attendance of 10,000

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4 hours ago, Weasel said:

1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

I still want him gone. I'm still not convinced by us tactically and as nice as last week or so has been I'm not getting carried away yet. Tougher tests to come. I'm still not convinced the players are buying into his methods or his man management.

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

Other than JLS I don't think any of them have let us down but only Bamba and Crooks are excelling. Payero will get there I'm sure. Are we better than last season tho... I'm not sure we are at the moment but the team is still gelling. Id say its been a decent window up to this point. 

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

I think Bola and Fry have to come back in. Dijksteel if we go to a back 4. 

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

Tough question.

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Hes got more ability than fletcher. Going off that then yes but there's not much competition. I've been impressed with him the last 2 games but imo he was very poor before that.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

                  Lumley

         Mcnair  Bamba  Pelts

              Tav            Crooks

Jones                              Hernandez

                    Payero

         Uche             Sporar

 

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

Stilk Warnock out i think he's stumbled into a system that's worked due to injuries. If he keeps us in the play offs then he's doing the job he was brought into do but i expect us to be in there with this squad and it shouldn't be some sort of miracle he's done. 

2. Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

I think it was a good window and we are starting to see the best of the signings. Who knew game time would help players settle... 

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

I'd put Bola Left back and that's it. 

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

SABBATH. Absolute shithole of a place 

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Yes and i prefer him.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

 

Unchanged 

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

Still would prefer him gone, 3 wins against 3 terrible sides isn't convincing enough but it's a moot point anyway as it looks like he's staying until the end of the season regardless. SG should have sacked him after the Hull game but didn't so why would he sack him now? Yeah fair enough he sacked Southgate after a win and we were 2nd in the table but the circumstances there were different (I still believe sacking Southgate then was wrong, though.)

2. Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

It was a decent window, we've had better and we've certainly had worse. I don't think anybody expected Bamba to be our standout defender and it's taken Payero a while to get going (though one could argue that wasn't his fault) but Sporar certainly is a cut above and I've been happy with Uche too, for his workrate and tenacity rather than his ability to hit the back of the net, though.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

Bola for definite, I'd keep Bamba and McNair with Howson on the right though. Dijksteel will have to earn his place back in the team for me, and Hall isn't good enough.

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

Uh....

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Yes, easily

6. Starting 11 and formation?

Unchanged team for me, that way we'll see exactly how good we are, playing against better opposition than our last three games.

(Great OP, btw)

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

On the basis he'll only be here for a matter of months, and results (which is the litmus test for any manager) have improved dramatically, I'm okay with him staying for now, providing we're busy sourcing a replacement as the rumours suggest.

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

Looks better all the time, doesn't it? We bring in a DoF, and the signings improve. Whoddathunkit.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

I think Browne needs a chance to finally show us what he can do after all the false starts. Bola goes into the team, definitely. But how can you break up a CB pairing that's keeping clean sheet after clean sheet?

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

The M6 to Carlisle, where I live! Honourable mention for Tony Iommi, as well.

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Early days, but the signs look promising. I'm excited to see what he can do with the ball, which wasn't the case for the likes of Britt, Fletcher, Akpom et al.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

If Bola's fit, I'd put him in ahead of the surprisingly good Peltier. Otherwise, 4-4-2 with Watmore and Šporar up front.

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone?

I'm a Warnock out but later rather than sooner. 

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window?

Still hard to tell. It's looking good right now but possibly we need another a dozen games to see if the improvement will be maintained.

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real]

Bola - though that's a bit hard on Peltier and I would be tempted to ease Bola back in. All of the rest can come onto the bench and be ready to step in.

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham?

Jasper Carrot

5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford?

Our best recent strikers have been Bamford, Braithwaite, Stuani and Negredo. We never saw the best of Braithwaite, didn't play Stuani in his best role. Šporar reminds me of Bamford and could be as good.

6. Starting 11 and formation?

I don't think Warnock will change it much. May depend on fitness levels. I suspect Watmore and Jones will come in for Ikpeazu and Hernandez purely because they seem to struggle to last 90 minutes.

Lumley

Howson McNair Bamba Peltier

Tav Payero Crooks Jones

Watmore Šporar

 

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1. Are you Warnock in, or would you prefer him gone? I'm happy for him to stay, as sacking him mid-season would mess up the transition to the new manager.

 

2.  Looking at the impact our new signings have had recently, just how good was our summer window? Hard to judge really. They didn't look too clever up until our last 3 games...a bunch of budget journeymen who were simply brought in to provide cover for the first teamers. We've looked good against poor opposition and some of the new guys are starting to establish themselves, but this game will show us if they really are as good as we hope they are.

 

3. Which of the current injured players would you put straight back in the team when fit? (Fry, Bola, Dijksteel, Hall, Browne) [Not bothering with Ameobi or Fisher as they aren’t real] Fry, Bola and Dijksteel. The others would make the bench.

 

4. What’s the best thing to come from Birmingham? Jaguar cars...with Judas Priest a close second.



5. Is Šporar the best striker we've had since Bamford? Again too early to tell. We can properly judge at the end of the season.

 

6. Starting 11 and formation? Tough call - Brum seem quite adaptable. They've gone 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and 3-4-2-1 in previous away matches. 3 at the back seems to be fairly constant, so I'd keep the same team and formation, as far as possible. Though maybe Bamba & Tav might need a rest.

 

 

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I’d like to see Browne given a chance up top with Sporar when he’s back fit. He has pace, power and played well in that position a few times just before he was injured. Ikpeazu and Watmore both have something missing for me.

He had 2 goals and 1 assist in 138 mins last season playing as ST or SS. 

Edited by DevKWat
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  • Downsouth changed the title to Boro vs Birmingham 0-2

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