After another disappointing display against a top 15 side last weekend vs Bristol City, Middlesbrough are in desperate need of picking up a win. Especially against a side around them. They have the perfect chance to do so this weekend when they take on 7th place Ipswich Town.
Boro are currently 9th in the Championship, a position that is far below their expectations. So, a win at the weekend is 100% needed. A win on Saturday could see them move up to 7th. But they could move as low as 15th with a loss. Here is how they might line up.
4-2-3-1 Middlesbrough lineup Vs Ipswich Town
GK: Darren Randolph
Randolph did not have a great game against Bristol City and probably should have done better with their second goal. However, he has proven to be a top keeper this season and Boro will be hoping he regains that form this weekend.
RB: Cyrus Christie
Christie has also been one of Middlesbrough’s more consistent players this season but he too didn’t have a great game last weekend. But he will hopefully put in a much better shift vs Ipswich.
RCB: Dael Fry
None of Middlesbrough’s centre-backs have covered themselves in glory in recent weeks. Daniel Ayala is back from suspension. But given how sloppy some of his displays have been this season, Monk is likely to select Fry over him this weekend.
LCB: Ben Gibson
Gibson looked pretty terrible in Middlesbrough’s last game vs Bristol City. He got caught on the ball, was out of position and his overall display was simply not good enough. Middlesbrough are in desperate need of him to rediscover the form he had last season in order to provide some defensive stability in a very shaky defence.
Fabio gave it his all in Boro’s last game. He worked extremely hard and at times was the only Boro defender chasing down players. He will start on Saturday unless he is injured.
CDM: Jonny Howson
Howson went missing against Bristol City. But Garry Monk seems to favour him the most out of all of Boro’s CM’s meaning he is likely to start again at the weekend.
CDM: Grant Leadbitter
Leadbitter has missed Boro’s last two games and in them, they have let in five goals. This would suggest Leadbitter is likely to be recalled by Monk to partner Howson. He has probably been Boro’s best CM duo this season and they will be hoping it can guide them to a win against a tough opponent.
RM: Patrick Bamford
Monk has struggled to pin down the third attacker in Middlesbrough’s midfield this season. Adama Traore was given a chance vs Bristol. However, he had a rough game as he continuously misplaced passes and made poor decisions. So, it could well be Bamford who is finally given a start by the ex-Leeds gaffer this weekend.
CAM: Stewart Downing
Boro have not been able to find a decent CAM this season. Martin Braithwaite has been the latest player to try his hand in that spot. However, he does not really play there and this has shown in recent displays.
So, given that Downing can actually play a good through ball and has some creativity, Monk could try him through the middle. This would also allow Braithwaite to play on the left, a position he is more suited to.
LM: Martin Braithwaite
As already mentioned, Braithwaite has struggled in recent weeks playing at CAM. However, one of his natural positions is LM/LW. So, if Monk starts to play him there, he may get more out of him.
ST: Britt Assombalonga
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