Middlesbrough put up a good account of themselves as they made a comeback into the Premier League after a 7-year hiatus. Though they made 10 signings, which is more than any team in the League and most of them were experienced and proven players, many pundits still put them as contenders for the drop. But on the evidence on show earlier today, those sort of talks will be quiet for a few weeks at least.
The match ended 1-1 with both managers happy with the eventual outcome.
VICTOR VALDES- 5/10
The former Barcelona and Manchester United keeper came in with an enviable CV but he had a less than comfortable afternoon today. Looked nervy when asked to deal with crosses, his pre-mediated movement during the free-kick left him wrong footed and he could only palm Shaqiri’s shot into the goal off the post.
EMILIO NSUE- 6/10
The right-back was largely successful in keeping Arnautovic quiet and had a solid albeit an unspectacular match.
ANTONIO BARRAGAN- 6/10
The make-shift centre back slotted in seamlessly beside Gibson and had a convincing match making 8 recoveries and the most number of clearances.
BEN GIBSON- 6.5/10
The regular centre-back was a rock at the back sliding into tackles and making important and timely interceptions. He will be an important component of their backline over the season.
GEORGE FRIEND- 7/10
The stand-in captain was all over the left-flank. He made the highest number of recoveries and had 5 successful take ons. His partnership with Downing on the left was crucial and he made regular overlapping runs stretching the play.
MARTEN DE ROON- NA/10
The former Atalanta man was unfortunate to go off injured in the 22nd minute and Boro will hope it is not as serious as it looked.
ADAM CLAYTON- 6/10
Suffered a break in momentum as De Roon was injured and henceforth had to do the dirty work in the midfield. Had a wobbly second half but made an important block.
ALBERT ADOMAH- 6.5/10
Had a lively first half, was a nuisance on the right flank throughout the match. Was full of running but tired towards the end, giving away a couple of cheap fouls.
GASTON RAMIREZ- 8/10
Put in a MOM display and was at the heart of everything going forward. Provided the assist for the only goal and hit the post with a fierce left-footed drive. Made a vital goal-line clearance as well. Got booked for a yellow though and had a couple of close shaves later on.
STEWART DOWNING- 6.5/10
Showed his Premier League experience and combined well with Friend on the left-hand side. Put in teasing deliveries. Will look to make the position his own as the season progresses.
ALVARO NEGREDO- 7.5/10
The striker fittingly opened the scoring with a combination of power, head and shoulders to guide the ball past Given. Partnership with Ramirez already looks promising and did a couple of neat flicks to the crowd’s delight. Will be crucial this season.
Had to come in the 22nd minute in place of De Roon and slotted in beside Clayton. Harried the opposition and committed 4 fouls in addition to a block and 3 interceptions. Picked up a yellow card.
Replaced Ramirez in the 88th minute. Insufficient time to make an impact.
Stats Via FOURFOURTWO STATS ZONE