Friday, June 2, 2023

Sunderland Vs Middlesbrough: 3 Key Battles That Could Decide The Outcome Of The Game

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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 in what will a Tees-Wear Derby after a long time. Though the fans lost the Tyne-Wear Derby for a year at least, they have been immediately been handed a replacement. And the sort of performance Middlesbrough put up against Stoke, the derby will begin almost on an even keel thus raising expectations even more. 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.



Jermain Defoe is Sunderland’s best outlet for a goal. His well-taken goal against City demonstrated his form and ability even at this stage. Antonio Barragan has been deputised as a make-shift centre-back and though he did a fairly commendable job Sunderland will surely be targeting the relatively new combination of Gibson and Barragan. They will look to stick close with the striker and deny him any opportunity to run in behind them.


The former Manchester City man got off to a flier on his return to the Premier League. He netted a goal within 10 minutes and looked at ease in the top flight. He carries much of the expectations of the relatively inexperienced side on his burly shoulders and will be looking to perform in the derby to endear himself to the fans. Djilobodji meanwhile was shipped off by Chelsea, after getting no chance to showcase his skills. He will be a relatively unknown quantity and the physical battle between the two will go a long way in determining the outcome.


The Manchester United loanee is expected to get his first start after an impressive cameo off the bench. Sunderland would want to get their first win in the bag and what better way than to utilise the abundance of talent the boy possesses. And he will be up against stand-in captain George Friend. The left-back had an impressive game last weekend and was a threat going forward and dealt with Shaqiri quite competently at the back. Januzaj will have his work cut out and an interesting battle is anticipated on the left-hand side accordingly.

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