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Boro vs. Nottingham Forest 2-0 (Ayala, Downing)

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One thing we do know is that with the exception of a few players Karanka knows how most of ours play, they were he's players so he'll have definitely done his homework, I'll be surprised if this isn't a tough game. The odd goal may well decide it.

Don't see many changes if any on Saturday, it will be us relying and hoping on Traore having a blinder and creating chances for Paddy, biggest surprise will be if Pulis drops Downing, can't see it though.

 

lol that's been our tactic every single game since Pulis got here.

 

That is totally unfair.

 

 

For the first few games it was Gestede!

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Downing still starts for me. Harrison didn't impress me anywhere near enough to justify a start. Standing out in any form against Burton with the way that everyone played is not reasonable to assume he will be better than Downing.

 

I hope he turns out to be great, but Harrison seems to have gone up in people’s estimations by not playing. I guess you that is not uncommon if the team aren’t on a good run of results.

 

Fingers crossed he shows some of that potential. One day.

 

I think that's a little unfair. Harrison looked very lively on Monday. He didn't exactly force his way into the team, but he certainly didn't do his chances any harm, and definitely looked more dangerous than Downing had for 75 minutes.

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Downing still starts for me. Harrison didn't impress me anywhere near enough to justify a start. Standing out in any form against Burton with the way that everyone played is not reasonable to assume he will be better than Downing.

 

I hope he turns out to be great, but Harrison seems to have gone up in people’s estimations by not playing. I guess you that is not uncommon if the team aren’t on a good run of results.

 

Fingers crossed he shows some of that potential. One day.

 

I think that's a little unfair. Harrison looked very lively on Monday. He didn't exactly force his way into the team, but he certainly didn't do his chances any harm, and definitely looked more dangerous than Downing had for 75 minutes.

 

Oh I am not saying he is not good. But I think a lot of fans want to see him ahead of Downing because Downing has been a bit off it, more so than Harrison changing games in his brief cameos. I really hope he does get some game time and we can see what he is all about over a full match.

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How on earth are we still top 6 - Baffling!!

 

Not in the slightest optimistic about Saturday , especially if we again see Clayton/Leads on the same pitch. Got to be Besic/Howson with possibly one of Clayts/Leads if he plays a 3

 

Downing has been very disappointing last 2 games but I would be surprised to see him dropped and think it will be a same as usual 4-3-3 with Paddy on his own and Brirtt on the bench.

 

nervy 2-1 win my hope but a boring 0-0 my fear

 

It's the hope that kills you!

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Just my personal thoughts from watching the last game, but I feel some fans are look too much into the formation and managers tactics and let the players off lightly. We didn't lose that game because Burton pulled some tactical masterclass over us, they just worked harder and won their individual battles. I know Pulis's tactics are one dimensional, and I know he puts boring players on the pitch. Maybe he could be blamed for Wolves, Cardiff etc, but not that one. If those players applied themselves as they should have, that XI in that formation should have been able to beat Burton. It was cruel that we even got an equaliser, but that's what happens when you're down the bottom.

 

Contrast it to the Leeds game where our midfield played with bite and aggression, and everyone came out on top against their opposite number that night. Yeah Leeds aren't great, but neither are Burton and neither are Forest.

 

For me: Friend, Downing, Leadbitter, Cranie, maybe Clayton and Shotton probably aren't good enough for a top level Championship side. I think these guys try they're just off the pace and not really that good.

 

But what are the other players excuses? For goodness sake, Gibson, Ayala, Traore, Bamford, Britt, Besic, Howson should be taking responsibility and tormenting their opposite numbers against Burton.

 

Play whatever team or formation we want against Forest, but turn up with the attitude we turned up with against Burton and it'll be another disappointing one. Maybe Forest have given up and don't care and we win in 2nd gear like against Reading - but our next four opponents will murder us playing like last Saturday.

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One thing we do know is that with the exception of a few players Karanka knows how most of ours play, they were he's players so he'll have definitely done his homework, I'll be surprised if this isn't a tough game. The odd goal may well decide it.

Don't see many changes if any on Saturday, it will be us relying and hoping on Traore having a blinder and creating chances for Paddy, biggest surprise will be if Pulis drops Downing, can't see it though.

 

lol that's been our tactic every single game since Pulis got here.

Yep that just about sums it up, not a lot at all in the attacking side of our game, got rid of Braithwaite and brought no one in to replace him, so with very little of an attacking sense coming from midfield rely heavily on Traore every game, or set pieces.

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Just my personal thoughts from watching the last game, but I feel some fans are look too much into the formation and managers tactics and let the players off lightly. We didn't lose that game because Burton pulled some tactical masterclass over us, they just worked harder and won their individual battles. I know Pulis's tactics are one dimensional, and I know he puts boring players on the pitch. Maybe he could be blamed for Wolves, Cardiff etc, but not that one. If those players applied themselves as they should have, that XI in that formation should have been able to beat Burton. It was cruel that we even got an equaliser, but that's what happens when you're down the bottom.

 

Contrast it to the Leeds game where our midfield played with bite and aggression, and everyone came out on top against their opposite number that night. Yeah Leeds aren't great, but neither are Burton and neither are Forest.

 

For me: Friend, Downing, Leadbitter, Cranie, maybe Clayton and Shotton probably aren't good enough for a top level Championship side. I think these guys try they're just off the pace and not really that good.

 

But what are the other players excuses? For goodness sake, Gibson, Ayala, Traore, Bamford, Britt, Besic, Howson should be taking responsibility and tormenting their opposite numbers against Burton.

 

Play whatever team or formation we want against Forest, but turn up with the attitude we turned up with against Burton and it'll be another disappointing one. Maybe Forest have given up and don't care and we win in 2nd gear like against Reading - but our next four opponents will murder us playing like last Saturday.

 

pretty good post in general .regarding individuals though ,my thoughts are that we could do with the defensive 5/6 listening and applying Pulis,s idealisms as that area has shown improvement since monktime . theres question marks over the quality of the full backs but the overall shape and system is fine . picking the best two defensive midfielders is proving to be a headache that has materialised in the last 12 months for differing reasons

Leadbitter looks too slow and other than leadership offers little these days

Clayton seems to have morphed into Forshaw 

Howson shows glimpses but we arent seeing as much as his previous clubs saw from him

Besic has something about him but can also frustrate when failing to link with those higher up

Baker just seems to be not in the plans for some reason .

its an area we need to find the right combination (link with defence and attack wise)to ,whether its one or two in there.

moving on to the forward s base of the team. its been a bone of contention for three seasons now and despite throwing money and new faces into it we still are failing miserably with the exception of Traore over the last few months or so . this is ,in contrast to what i earlier said , an area that pulis isnt managing to address . if we have a back 5/6 functioning that we can trust surely we can also give those ahead free range to express themselves and play with flair and inhibition, weve two players in Adama and Bamford that would profit from this but the others need replacing to match them . 

all opinions of course but really at this level we should be aiming to do what Wolves have done and what Bournemouth and Newcastle did in previous campaigns .

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Downing still starts for me. Harrison didn't impress me anywhere near enough to justify a start. Standing out in any form against Burton with the way that everyone played is not reasonable to assume he will be better than Downing.

 

I hope he turns out to be great, but Harrison seems to have gone up in people’s estimations by not playing. I guess you that is not uncommon if the team aren’t on a good run of results.

 

Fingers crossed he shows some of that potential. One day.

 

I think that's a little unfair. Harrison looked very lively on Monday. He didn't exactly force his way into the team, but he certainly didn't do his chances any harm, and definitely looked more dangerous than Downing had for 75 minutes.

 

Oh I am not saying he is not good. But I think a lot of fans want to see him ahead of Downing because Downing has been a bit off it, more so than Harrison changing games in his brief cameos. I really hope he does get some game time and we can see what he is all about over a full match.

 

Pretty much this. It's easy to see 'put Harrison in for Downing' as a positive because you know Downing didn't play well and Harrison is a bit of an unknown quantity with quite a big reputation for a youngster. It's not the first time this season someone has suggested replacing the left winger with someone they hadn't seen for a while or at all simply because the person currently there wasn't doing the business out on the left hand side. I think more often than not, Downing has done the business this season under both managers on both sides of the pitch. Gone off the boil a bit the last few games and could certainly do with a kick up the jacksy but I don't think we're yet in the territory where throwing a player who is clearly not entirely match fit will be a definite positive. As with every other player who played on Monday, we need to get the best out of Downing rather than just revert to 'change will be better'.

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I would like to see THIS team:

 

Randz

 

D: Shotton, Ayala, Fry, Gibson

 

CM: Downing, Besic

 

RW: Traore, LW: Harrison

 

S: Bam and Britt

 

 

I think GIbson could do a better job on the wing, than a REALLY poor Friend. Friend looks very clumsy and he is not able to make a cross or shoot (except for that one hit wonder)

 

Downing could be a good CM but not as a 10 .. He has ok defensive abilities and he can maybe be the "passer" we need to start the attacks!

 

And a duo in front with 23 goals betweeen them should do the work!

 

There is no way Friend will get dropped and Gibson will move out wide!

 

I also think Downing at CM is not the answer.  I do think we should go 4-4-2. We know how Aitor will play, if we start with one up front, it's going to be a very boring game, much like us vs WBA at the start of last season.

 

Hopefully Britt can channel himself a bit better this time round.

 

A: I don't think so either.. But wouldn't it be nice to test, if it actually worked? Fry is a good CD and Gibson could play a solid fullback way better than Friend except for pace, i reckon.

 

B: Again, I think Downing could do the defensive duties as well as Howson and he could distribute some material, to get our attacks startet. 

I am no fan of Downing, especially not on a wing... Not as a 10 either.. But further back on the central midfield could be good!

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Pretty much this. It's easy to see 'put Harrison in for Downing' as a positive because you know Downing didn't play well and Harrison is a bit of an unknown quantity with quite a big reputation for a youngster. It's not the first time this season someone has suggested replacing the left winger with someone they hadn't seen for a while or at all simply because the person currently there wasn't doing the business out on the left hand side. I think more often than not, Downing has done the business this season under both managers on both sides of the pitch. Gone off the boil a bit the last few games and could certainly do with a kick up the jacksy but I don't think we're yet in the territory where throwing a player who is clearly not entirely match fit will be a definite positive. As with every other player who played on Monday, we need to get the best out of Downing rather than just revert to 'change will be better'.

 

That's the thing though, you can't just keep playing people in the hope that they come good. I think Downing has had a good season, especially before Christmas, and I honestly didn't see a scenario where we'd have a starting XI that didn't have him in it if fit between now and May. But the fact is it has been weeks since he's played well. I don't think people are suggesting Harrison should start on the basis that he's 'anyone but Downing', but on the basis that he actually looked bright on Monday.

When Assombalonga got dropped, it was partly because Bamford was scoring, but also because he wasn't. We've accepted that at 33, Downing isn't going to beat his man every time, but on Monday, his crosses were poor as well. If a winger isn't getting to the by-line or putting in decent crosses, what exactly is he offering?   

For what it's worth, I think Downing should probably start on Saturday, mainly because he'll want to prove a point to Karanka, and I think we might play 2 up front. But if Harrison does get a start, it will be because Pulis thinks he's earned it.

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Of course and good luck to him if Pulis does feel he's earned that right. I just don't agree that he's earned it from what I've seen. I really didn't see an awful lot of what others are saying they saw in him during that cameo appearance. He still looked majorly unfit to me.

 

Indeed, like you said, the Karanka factor will surely be in Downing's head. If he can't bring his A-game for this one then sure, perhaps it will be time to bring Harrison into the fold. But I would start Downing over Harrison right now regardless of the Karanka connection.

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I can see a Karanka 'backs to the wall 1-0 win' for Forest on Saturday.

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I'm really looking forward to this one as it's my first chance to get over this year. I can't wait to see the team in the flesh but going by some on here I should prepare to see a national league side. I mean, come on..... it's not that bad

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What sort of reaction do you think Karanka will get? I think a good round of applause before the game kicks off for him, then that’s it, game on.

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