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Boro v Aston Villa - Playoff Semi Final (Second Leg) 0-0 (0-1 agg)

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I hope we start Bamford. Britt didn't do much at all on Saturday. Will also be good to have Fabio on the pitch, his work rate is incredible and is one of the few who really tries to drive the team forward.

 

It's only half time, and we always play better in the second half!

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team id go with -

gk Randolph

Lb Friend

Cb Fry (presuming ok course Ayala is not going to make it, Shotton is too sloppy for the playoffs he will give them a goal if he plays)

Cb Gibbo

Rb Fabio

Cdm Clayton

Cm - Howson

Cm - Besic

Rw - Harrison (Troare rested so that second half he goes upfront with Bamford against a knackered Terry by that point possibly taking Clayton off or going three at the back by taking friend off)

Lw - Downing

St - Bamford

 

In order for us to get anything tonight Besic has got to be the more forward of that three in midfield because it affected us badly when he sat deep against villa in the first leg. Im not kidding about troare rest him and play him against terry in the second half constantly play through balls for him to latch onto terry will end up pulling him down for a plenty or getting frustrated ending in him getting a red.

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I'll be interested to see how Villa play in this one. They seemed pretty happy to give up the ball when they went 1-0 up away from home, would they start the same at home, knowing we struggle to break down teams who are packed in? If they do this though it could mean the atmosphere at Villa Park gets a bit edgy.

 

Villa heavy favourites, hopefully that means we can play with a bit of freedom!

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Watching the game last night what surprised me was how much pace both Fulham and Derby showed throughout the game, sadly we do not match them as a team unless we were to use Harrison and part of me feels that we need to be quick and precise against a team like Aston Villa who do have pace of their own but not as intense as what we saw yesterday.

 

Grealish must be shackled better and we need to break down their defence and our slower build up has to adapt accordingly.

 

We have to score first, ok some of you say the longer it stays 0-0 the more nervy home fans will be but for me sorry it works the other way.

 

And if ever there was a game that Leadbitter should not play from the start then this is one of them

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Watching the game last night what surprise me was how much pace both Fulham and Derby showed throughout the game, sadly we do not match them as a team unless we were to use Harrison and part of me feels that we need to be quick and precise against a team like Aston Villa who do have pace of their own but not as intense as what we saw yesterday.

 

Grealish must be shackled better and we need to break down their defence and our slower build up has to adapt accordingly.

 

We have to score first, ok some of you say the longer it stays 0-0 the more nervy home fans will be but for me sorry it works the other way.

 

It's a fine line, I'm sure most people would take 0-0 with 20 minutes to go. But if they score before then the tie is virtually over.

 

We have to create chances but it's got to be controlled rather than gung ho. I don't think we'll see a big change in tactics unless we go behind.

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Bruce will play to his tactical strengths; he's got them in a position he's entirely at ease and comfortable with. Many have already said that with Pulis vs. Bruce the first goal was always going to be key.

 

Villa will counter. They've done that a lot this season; throw man behind the ball - experienced heads like Jedinak - and look to soak up pressure, counter, repeat and hope that sees them through to our lads energy lagging. We need to be clever, concise and be prepared to be patient and wait for pockets of space to open up.

 

Fabio down the right could be of benefit - needs far better final balls than he delivered in the First Leg though. The usual isolation of Assombalonga/Bamford simply can't happen - we need to provide whichever it is with more support than usual so we can use some link up play to create chances and space. Hopefully we've learnt from the First Leg that we can't just go 'more of the same.'

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It is a fine line indeed and certainly I am not suggesting we go gung ho but with what you have described it seems as if would be hoping to get extra time which to me is dangerous, also if Villa, with your description were to score then we would need to score twice in the final 20 mins which will expose us to counter attack goals.

 

I believe we need to score as quickly as possible to allow the team to settle down be on level par and then ensure the game plan works

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It is a fine line indeed and certainly I am not suggesting we go gung ho but with what you have described it seems as if would be hoping to get extra time which to me is dangerous, also if Villa, with your description were to score then we would need to score twice in the final 20 mins which will expose us to counter attack goals.

 

I believe we need to score as quickly as possible to allow the team to settle down be on level par and then ensure the game plan works

 

I'd say that's more dangerous, going for gold from the first minute. Villa have all the pieces and can afford to do the old El Tel, all out defence tactic that we all know so wel - and Bruce has utilised that to great effect this season.

 

You're right - an early goal would be ideal. But I think we have to try and suss-out Villa's mindset to begin with. It's a fine line... all ifs/buts, aye - but I'd be wary of going all-out against a Steve Bruce side with the position they're in within the tie. I see this match more as a game of chess than a battle of gladiators.

 

I'm never a fan of Traore on the left - don't think him or Downing are quite as effective on the opposite flank. If they continue to try and crowd him out, I'd be tempted to bring him centrally and force them to change shape a little. Jedinak hasn't the legs to Kee up with him, Hourihane isn't the greatest defensively, and if one of Terry/Chester has to be on him, then that leaves space somewhere for Bamford/Assombalonga.

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I don’t think that we are likely to come out all guns blazing, it will be a cagey start and we’ll look to keep things tight in the first half hour and nick one late in the first half. I think Fabio will come into the team if Ayala is out and that will be the only change.

 

If we lose, the season won’t be seen as a disaster, just one where bad decisions were made in the summer and although steps were taken to rectify things, the damage was already done. Next season, we go again.

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It is a fine line indeed and certainly I am not suggesting we go gung ho but with what you have described it seems as if would be hoping to get extra time which to me is dangerous, also if Villa, with your description were to score then we would need to score twice in the final 20 mins which will expose us to counter attack goals.

 

I believe we need to score as quickly as possible to allow the team to settle down be on level par and then ensure the game plan works

 

I'd say that's more dangerous, going for gold from the first minute. Villa have all the pieces and can afford to do the old El Tel, all out defence tactic that we all know so wel - and Bruce has utilised that to great effect this season.

 

You're right - an early goal would be ideal. But I think we have to try and suss-out Villa's mindset to begin with. It's a fine line... all ifs/buts, aye - but I'd be wary of going all-out against a Steve Bruce side with the position they're in within the tie. I see this match more as a game of chess than a battle of gladiators.

 

I'm never a fan of Traore on the left - don't think him or Downing are quite as effective on the opposite flank. If they continue to try and crowd him out, I'd be tempted to bring him centrally and force them to change shape a little. Jedinak hasn't the legs to Kee up with him, Hourihane isn't the greatest defensively, and if one of Terry/Chester has to be on him, then that leaves space somewhere for Bamford/Assombalonga.

 

Al, I am not quite suggesting that but tonight we have to play as a team, everyone tonight needs to be on their top form and if an early chance comes our way it needs to be taken, look at the shots on target Fulham had last night, we too need shots on target.

 

Given the circumstances probably Villa are a better chess playing team than we are and maybe a gladiator style will shake them up.

 

First goal tonight I honestly believe will be from the team that gets to play Fulham

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I think playing Traore centrally will just force him into an area which is even more crowded. He's better out wide in a game like this, we just need to get the ball to him quicker.

 

A slow ponderous build up will allow Villa to double up on him, we need to switch the ball across the pitch quickly and eventually we'll get him isolated against the full back.

 

I can see Villa making quite a fast start tonight with 40k fans roaring them on. It might not be Bruce's plan but I think it'll be inevitable. We've just got to stay in the game early on and quieten the crowd eventually by having a bit of pressure ourselves.

 

I don't fear Villa but if I'm being honest I think they're better than us. I don't think we're good enough to go there and grab the game by the scruff of the neck. I think we'll be going to Villa park with the aim of being solid first and foremost, if we do that I'm sure we'll create a chance or two eventually we've just got to take one of them.

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Lose tonight and it will quite possibly be the last time we see Adama in a Boro shirt

 

Yep and Gibson

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It is a fine line indeed and certainly I am not suggesting we go gung ho but with what you have described it seems as if would be hoping to get extra time which to me is dangerous, also if Villa, with your description were to score then we would need to score twice in the final 20 mins which will expose us to counter attack goals.

 

I believe we need to score as quickly as possible to allow the team to settle down be on level par and then ensure the game plan works

 

I'd say that's more dangerous, going for gold from the first minute. Villa have all the pieces and can afford to do the old El Tel, all out defence tactic that we all know so wel - and Bruce has utilised that to great effect this season.

 

You're right - an early goal would be ideal. But I think we have to try and suss-out Villa's mindset to begin with. It's a fine line... all ifs/buts, aye - but I'd be wary of going all-out against a Steve Bruce side with the position they're in within the tie. I see this match more as a game of chess than a battle of gladiators.

 

I'm never a fan of Traore on the left - don't think him or Downing are quite as effective on the opposite flank. If they continue to try and crowd him out, I'd be tempted to bring him centrally and force them to change shape a little. Jedinak hasn't the legs to Kee up with him, Hourihane isn't the greatest defensively, and if one of Terry/Chester has to be on him, then that leaves space somewhere for Bamford/Assombalonga.

 

Al, I am not quite suggesting that but tonight we have to play as a team, everyone tonight needs to be on their top form and if an early chance comes our way it needs to be taken, look at the shots on target Fulham had last night, we too need shots on target.

 

Given the circumstances probably Villa are a better chess playing team than we are and maybe a gladiator style will shake them up.

 

First goal tonight I honestly believe will be from the team that gets to play Fulham

 

I agree with all of those things, but they don't detract from the fact that attacking a Steve Bruce team in the manner you're suggesting leaves you vulnerable. As you say, first goal is key - we have to be aware that they have players like Grealish, Adomah, Grabban, Kodjija that can hurt us if given space by us going and searching for an early goal.

 

Playing as a team, being on form etc should go without saying. The magnitude of the game is obvious, and a lot of the play offs is about who deals with that expectation better; how they channel it into their performance. Fulham yesterday, again, a great example of that.

 

The chess vs. gladiator thing - true, a gladiatorial performance would shake them up. But we're not a team of Gladiators... We can't throw away our strengths and nuances in the way that Pulis and his teams play. Bruce vs. Pulis was always going to be a close one, and one which is won tactically as oppose to with individual moments of brilliance. That's not to say there mightn't be a chance for an Adama or Paddy special moment, but they'll be at a premium.

 

We need to attack. But we don't want to give the ball away trying to force a move. The more they have possession, the less likely we are to progress. So long as we have the ball and stay alert, get players like Traore, Downing, Fabio making runs, then the chances will come.

 

@Duvel - Possibly, though he was crowded out by 2/3 players anyway, and in an area of the pitch where he was the most advanced player. If there's a striker ahead of him, and 2/3 mids behind him, there's more of an outlet which could allow us to make better use of the space created when players are dragging into mass-marking Traore.

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