The Teesiders will be eagerly looking forward to a restart after the International break. And why not? Back in the Premier League after a gap of 7 years. An eventful transfer window with a host of big-name signings and a solid start to the season where they are still unbeaten after 3 games. A derby win already in the pocket and a clean-sheet in the final match. Alvaro Negredo looking like the player City shelled out big bucks for. Ramirez starting off from where left. And guys like Calum Chambers and Adama Traore joining the Boro bandwagon, good days are here at the Riverside again.
Aitor Karanka’s priority will be obviously to cement their Premier League status and then to build on from there. And with a look at the crazy spending all over the League and not just from the top clubs and it has become apparent Boro needed to shell out the big bucks. With no room for experimentation, proven names were required and they got experience and potential both from this window. While they have had a fairly settled starting eleven till now, a couple of changes are expected with further signings towards the end. Boro will have to rotate and all their players will have to be utilised unlike the Championship campaign.
STARTING LINE-UP WITH NEW SIGNINGS (4-2-3-1)
Victor Valdes will be the long-term option in goal after recovering from the setback. The setback is expected to shift back to a conventional right-back spot. Chambers might take up a spot at centre-back and partner Gibson initially. Espinosa and Ayala are further options. George Friend will be the long-term fixture at left-back.
The double pivot currently has Adam Forshaw and Adam Clayton as the two options in midfield but Marten de Roon will be their first choice with one of the above two as a partner. Most likely Clayton. Gaston Ramirez will be their undisputed No.10 and after an enterprising start is looking good. His budding partnership with Negredo already looks promising.
Karanka has various options at his disposal now. Stewart Downing looks assured of a berth right now but a couple of indifferent performances will certainly make him look over his shoulders. And Stuani has likely cemented his starting spot with a brace against Sunderland. But Traore will fancy his chances in the long run while Viktor Fischer is also in the mix. Alvaro Negredo is the undisputed selection up top.