Saturday, August 20, 2022

Predicted Middlesbrough Line-Up Vs Sunderland: Can Karanka Inspire His Team To Their First Win?

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Middlesbrough travel to the Stadium of Light with their spirits buoyed by the well-deserved opening draw against Stoke City. The sort of performance the team put in after a belated return to the Premier League after 7 years have raised hopes of a fruitful season if they can channelize their resources properly. Aitor Karanka has been aggressive in the transfer market and brought in a host of new faces. But Boro still look like a couple of signings short, such is the competitive nature of the league. An opening day injury to Marten De Roon has left them short in the defensive midfield area and could prove costly by the time he returns. Momentum counts for a lot in football and Boro will like to build some steam as they enter headlong into the tornado of matches.

Boro will be up against the personal record of David Moyes as well as the good run Sunderland have had against them. Sunderland are unbeaten in the last 4 meetings between the two sides with 2 wins but it must be noted the last match was in 2009 when Middlesbrough were playing in the top-flight. And on a personal front, David Moyes has lost just twice to Boro in 14 matches, winning 7 of those.

TEAM NEWS

Daniel Ayala and summer signing Bernardo Espinosa are available for the trip to Sunderland. Both players played 45 minutes for the under-23s on Monday. Marten De Roon who was injured last match is out, and will probably return after the international break. Grant Leadbitter remains sidelined with a hernia problem while Husband also remains out.

PREDICTED LINE-UP (4-2-3-1)

DEFENCE

Daniel Ayala and Bernardo Espinosa have handed a welcome dilemma to the coach as he has to decide whether to tweak his combination from the previous match. With a solid defensive showing, he might look to avoid taking risks with the newly returned players. Nsue might take up the right-back spot with Barragan and Gibson continuing their partnership with the impressive George Friend at left-back.

MIDFIELD

The injury to De Roon will likely see the pair of Forshaw and Clayton continue in the double pivot. Karanka puts special emphasis on the screening of the defence and the duo have to carry on their good work from last week. One of the most important players in Karanka’s set-up- Gaston Ramirez will take up the No.10 role and he will be expected to provide the creative spark like he did last week.

ATTACK

Downing and Adomah did a good job on the flanks and will likely start with Victor Fischer and Jordan Rhodes providing back-up. Negredo will look to continue on his good form after he scored the solitary goal for Boro last week.

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