After a run of poor form, Middlesbrough have finally started picking up wins. They have won their last two league games. And they went into this game full of confidence.
Middlesbrough started the day in 9th place. But a win against Sunderland would have seen them move as high as 5th in the table.
Boro started off the first half the brighter of the two sides. This was rewarded in the 6th minute when Marcus Tavernier put them 1-0.
Middlesbrough had a few more key chances in the second half. However, they spent most of the second half defending their 1-0 lead that saw them climb to 5th today.
Here are the Middlesbrough player ratings from their win over Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough Players Rated And Slated
Darren Randolph: 9/10
Randolph nearly made a huge error two minutes in after he parried a Ndong long shot straight to Grabban. However, Randolph was back up in seconds to deny Grabban from around 4 yards out. Although the sun was in his eyes for much of the first half.
Randolph also struggled a bit with Cattermole’s long shot on nine minutes. He then pulled off a superb save moments later from a Jones header.
Randolph was one of Boro’s best players today. He was great all game pulling off a number of quality-saves to keep the game 1-0.
Cyrus Christie: 8/10
Christie had a good first half. He kept McGeady fairly quiet and attacked well down the right.
The right-back started the first half much more lively when he put in a dangerous cross to Assombalonga who set up Braithwaite. Christie continued to cause Sunderland serious problems down the right-hand side. Another solid display from him once again today.
Ben Gibson: 6.5/10
Gibson made a solid tackled on 16 minutes to stop Jones breaking forward. He did look a bit shaky in possession though. He lost the ball in the 41st minute and then struggled to deal with Matthews over the top ball to Grabban.
Gibson played a great ball to Braithwaite on 74 minutes who was hacked down for a Boro free kick in a dangerous position. Overall, Gibson was decent at the back but not great on the ball today.
Daniel Ayala: 7/10
Ayala did well to clear a Sunderland cross on 36 minutes which Grabban was chasing down. He kept Grabban largely quiet all game and made a number of key tackles. His ball control is somewhat questionable though.
George Friend: 5.5/10
Friend didn’t have a great first half as he struggled to deal with Ndong. Friend was also not great going forward. It’s likely Fabio will return to left back vs Leeds.
Stewart Downing: 7/10
Downing started the move that lead to Boro’s first goal when he played in Martin Braithwaite with an excellent through ball.
The winger then floated in a good cross in the 27th minute to Braithwaite. But the ball was cleared. He then linked up well with Christie to create a good Boro chance in the 56th minute.
Downing did well from a free kick in the 74th minute. He forced another good save from the Sunderland keeper. Overall, he did well down the right today and controlled the game well for Boro.
Grant Leadbitter: 6.5/10
Leadbitter had a quiet first half for Boro. He did have a long shot on 33 minutes, it went well over.
The skipper played a good ball to Friend in the 58th minute who didn’t do a lot with it. Leadbitter kept Gibson and Cattermole quiet for much of the game before being taken off in the 84th minute.
Jonny Howson: 7/10
Howson curled a shot from the edge of the box on 12 minutes which went over. He then made a solid interception on 20 minutes that started off a Boro counter attack.
Howson made another good tackle on 37 minutes to stop Matthews getting a cross off in the box. He continued to make great blocks and tackles all game for Boro.
Marcus Tavernier: 8/10
Tavernier got the first goal of the game when he made a good run into the box and finished calmly to get his first Boro goal in the league.
Tavernier had a decent game, he linked up well with Boro’s other front three players and created a few chances. He was subbed off in the 63rd minute.
Martin Braithwaite: 8/10
Braithwaite made a great run on 5 minutes allowing him to play a great ball across goal to Tavernier who slotted home.
Braithwaite looked dangerous every time he got on the ball in the first 45. He took players on and whipped in several dangerous crosses.
He then had a great chance to put Boro 2-0 on 56 minutes. But Sunderland’s keeper pulled off a great save. He looked one of Boro’s best all game and was a real problem for the Sunderland defence.
Britt Assombalonga: 5.5/10
Middlesbrough’s main goal scorer did not do a lot in front of goal in the first 45. His first real chance came in the 38th minute. But his shot was straight at the Sunderland keeper. His quiet game continued into the second half before he was subbed off in the 81st minutes. This was one of Britt’s quietest games in a Boro shirt.
Marvin Johnson: 4/10 (63rd minute)
Johnson had very little impact when he was brought on. Not his best display in a Boro shirt.
Ashley Fletcher: 3/10 (81st minute)
Fletcher also did very little though he only had around 10 minutes on the pitch.
Adam Forshaw: 4/10 (84th minute)
Forshaw made one or two good tackles when he came on. But like Fletcher, he didn’t play for long.
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