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Boro vs PNE (a) 3-2 (Ayala (2), Howson)

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Well, after a horrible outing against Aston Villa in the last game, Boro go to Preston on the first day of the new year. I’m fairly busy these days so can’t put together a big intro, but with the game only two days away I want to just get it up now and start the discussion.

 

Preston away will definately be a tough test, but being away from home I can actually see boro winning.

 

What changes will we see?

Will it be same formation and hoofball?

Is our squad really not better than it’s current position?

On a 1-10 scale how disappointed are you about the season so far (10 being the most disappointed).

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What changes will we see? I think he might drop Braithwaite, Assombalonga and Leadbitter.

 

 

Will it be same formation and hoofball? YES

 

 

Is our squad really not better than it’s current position? I hate double negatives. So I will just say, that if I were the manager of this squad we would definitely be in the top six.

 

 

On a 1-10 scale how disappointed are you about the season so far (10 being the most disappointed). 9.

 

Oh and I expect us to lose 1-0.

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What changes will we see?

I guess it's a case of who did well and who didn't. Pulis seemed happy with Adama's contribution vs. Braithwaite's. With Shotton undoubtedly continuing at right-back, I'd suspect Adama will come in on the right and Downing switched across to the left. If we're aiming for 2 up front then we need more of a focus on people who can cross a ball in the position to do it. Adama and Braithwaite won't do that on the left, they'll come in-field. Downing can work both ways so it seems reasonable to assume he'll be put on the other side. Britt didn't have a great game but he's still our top scorer and the guys who can come in also haven't shown enough as the main man to justify taking his place. Bamford, at a push, could come in in his place if he doesn't get his act together.

 

Will it be same formation and hoofball?

I think so, yes. I think the ball will be sent up towards the Preston box continuously.

 

If we were to change it, I'd like to see a 3 at the back approach. That way we could justify Christie's inclusion but keep Shotton alongside Ayala and Gibson. But I don't think we'll see a change from 4 at the back from Pulis.

 

Is our squad really not better than it’s current position?

People keep saying this. I think it's a bit of a blanket statement which doesn't accurately describe our squad's issues. There is quality in the squad, it's not that the talent in the squad isn't as good as we've made out. But it's utterly imbalanced and frankly I'm not surprised Pulis has raised the point of it being too big. We have 6 centre-mids and have only played with 2 all season. We have 5 strikers and have mainly played with 1, forcing the other 4 into the team through other means. The squad would have been fine if Monk could have actually committed to his 4-3-3 but he abandoned it almost immediately which is utterly dreadful after bringing in so many players towards it.

 

In short I think the squad has quality but it is heavily weighted into areas which don't translate onto the pitch without a 4-3-3 or a similar set-up. A squad built in that way doesn't easily translate to other systems.

 

On a 1-10 scale how disappointed are you about the season so far (10 being the most disappointed).

I've been plenty more disappointed as a Boro fan. The relegation in 08/09 was a huge low for me and the years that followed just as bad until Mogga came in. But we're still in a good way. With January to come with a new man in place, we can still save our season through the lottery of the play-offs. I'll say 7 though as I still expected better.

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Is a full back playing a 40 yd ball to a forward to lay off to someone now hoofball

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Is a full back playing a 40 yd ball to a forward to lay off to someone now hoofball

 

If the majority of attacks is build that way then yes. Hoofball may just give it a negative reputation by name but it’s a pretty dire tactic. That said I thought we tried something else some of the time either through Braithwaite or Traore when he came on.

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Is a full back playing a 40 yd ball to a forward to lay off to someone now hoofball

 

Hasn't it always been? Hoofball isn't a negative connotation defined to giving the ball away, it's simply a definition of how you play the ball. We played that ball so often today, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It's not pretty but with the right players it can work.

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Is a full back playing a 40 yd ball to a forward to lay off to someone now hoofball

 

Hasn't it always been? Hoofball isn't a negative connotation defined to giving the ball away, it's simply a definition of how you play the ball. We played that ball so often today, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It's not pretty but with the right players it can work.

 

One of those things isn't it? Throw enough *** at a wall and some of it will stick...

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Good job hoddle doesn’t play now or he’d be the king of hoofball

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Hoddle wasn't a full back and a ball played down the channel is a bit different to the sort of pinpoint passing he would do. Playing percentage balls is playing percentage balls. Like it, don't like it, it really doesn't matter but let's not pretend it's something else because it will make us feel better watching the ***e we serve up each week.

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Hoddle wasn't a full back and a ball played down the channel is a bit different to the sort of pinpoint passing he would do. Playing percentage balls is playing percentage balls. Like it, don't like it, it really doesn't matter but let's not pretend it's something else because it will make us feel better watching the *** we serve up each week.

 

Agreed. The 'Gullit Pass' during his Milan days; full backs knocking balls into the channels for Ruud, who knew exactly what was coming and where to make their run? - that was beautiful. Hammering generic balls forward to big Target Men is nowhere near the same thing.

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Hoddle wasn't a full back and a ball played down the channel is a bit different to the sort of pinpoint passing he would do. Playing percentage balls is playing percentage balls. Like it, don't like it, it really doesn't matter but let's not pretend it's something else because it will make us feel better watching the *** we serve up each week.

 

I don’t think we played percentage balls. They were aimed at a forward. A lot didn’t make it but that’s down to ability

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Of course they were percentage balls. Come on Rich, you've been around for long enough to know the difference between long passes and long balls. We were launching it forwards in the general direction of the big bloke up front or in the general direction of whoever was up front as we still tried it after Gestede went off. That's percentage football. You're banking on winning flicks or winning the second ball from knock downs etc. You know fine well what it is and you really don't need me or anyone else to explain it to you.

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Hoddle wasn't a full back and a ball played down the channel is a bit different to the sort of pinpoint passing he would do. Playing percentage balls is playing percentage balls. Like it, don't like it, it really doesn't matter but let's not pretend it's something else because it will make us feel better watching the *** we serve up each week.

 

Agreed. The 'Gullit Pass' during his Milan days; full backs knocking balls into the channels for Ruud, who knew exactly what was coming and where to make their run? - that was beautiful. Hammering generic balls forward to big Target Men is nowhere near the same thing.

 

I watch hoof ball a lot at non league level the defenders win the ball and hit it into corners to turn defenders and everyone fights for it. We weren’t doing that we were aiming for a player .badly maybe but we were aiming. And we did it more than usual but not all the time

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Of course they were percentage balls. Come on Rich, you've been around for long enough to know the difference between long passes and long balls. We were launching it forwards in the general direction of the big bloke up front or in the general direction of whoever was up front as we still tried it after Gestede went off. That's percentage football. You're banking on winning flicks or winning the second ball from knock downs etc. You know fine well what it is and you really don't need me or anyone else to explain it to you.

 

We were passing to the forward. Lack of ability made it in the general direction. If your saying a 40yd pin point pass is genius and a 40yd pass that misses by 6ft is hoofball then fair enough it was hoofball

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Of course they were percentage balls.  Come on Rich, you've been around for long enough to know the difference between long passes and long balls.  We were launching it forwards in the general direction of the big bloke up front or in the general direction of whoever was up front as we still tried it after Gestede went off.  That's percentage football.  You're banking on winning flicks or winning the second ball from knock downs etc.  You know fine well what it is and you really don't need me or anyone else to explain it to you.

 

We were passing to the forward.  Lack of ability made it in the general direction.  If your saying a 40yd pin point pass is genius and a 40yd pass that misses by 6ft is hoofball then fair enough it was hoofball

 

No, we were launching it to him and sometimes it got to him and sometimes it didn't.  A long pass is just that, a pass.  A long ball is different.  A 40 yard pin point pass to someones feet isn't genius but it's a good pass certainly.  What we were doing today was something different to that.  For the record though I'd say that accuracy is a bit part of passing ability yes and also I didn't mention 'hoofball'.

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