Sunday, October 2, 2022

4-2-3-1 Middlesbrough Predicted Line-up To Face Aston Villa: Johnson And Traore To Start?

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Josh Barker
Middlesbrough FC correspondent for The 4th Official.

Middlesbrough travel to Aston Villa on Tuesday night and will be hoping to continue the form they found themselves in at Bolton. Boro had not won away from home in over a year before their trip to Bolton. But some excellent link up play from Adam Traore and Britt Assombalonga meant that Middlesbrough smashed Bolton 3-0. Giving them their first away win of the season.

Boro will now be full of confidence ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Villa Park. Aston Villa have won just once this season and despite having John Terry in their defence, they have only kept one clean sheet in six league games this season.

So, a new look Boro attack could cause Villa some real problems and earn Boro their second away win in a row. A win for Monk’s men could also see them move up to 3rd in the Championship. Here is the predicted lineup for that game.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Middlesbrough have tried several formations already this season. Including a three at the back, 4-4-2, 4-1-2-1-2 and 4-1-2-3, the latter having the most success. However, it was a 4-2-3-1 that Boro used against Bolton and it was very effective. The formation allowed Boro’s wingers, especially Traore loads of freedom and made him a handful for Bolton. Aston Villa have a similarly bad defensive record. So, a 4-2-3-1 could cause them problems just as it did to Bolton.

GK: Darren Randolph

Randolph was once again in great form at Bolton. He earned himself another clean sheet making that four out of six in the league this season.

Randolph also pulled off a few good saves including one early in the game from Bolton’s Madine. The Irish international has not put a foot wrong this season and should continue to start as Boro’s number one.

RB: Cyrus Christie

Cyrus Christie is perhaps Middlesbrough’s most attacking full back. Despite this, he took a bit of a back seat on Saturday down the right-hand side to Adama Traore who was in excellent form.

However, Christie still did a good job defensively and linked up well with Adama. Aston Villa does not have a great defence and Christie could cause them some real problems if he gets in and around their box.

RCB: Dael Fry

Once again Dael Fry had a great game against Bolton and he should not be dropped from the team anytime soon. He made a number of good clearances and tackles against Bolton and once again earned another clean sheet.

LCB: Ben Gibson

Ben Gibson’s situation is very much similar to Fry’s. Both Fry and Gibson are in great form, they look like a fantastic defensive unit and if the pair works this well all season, it will be hard for Middlesbrough to not get promoted.

LB: Fabio

Fabio was one of the several changes made to Boro’s starting eleven at Bolton. The Brazilian came in for George Friend due to his good performance he put in against Scunthorpe.

Fabio rewarded Monk’s decision as he did not put a foot wrong against Bolton. So, expect him to start again at Villa.

CDM: Adam Clayton

Clayton was back to his previous position against Bolton when he was partnered alongside Grant Leadbitter. Unsurprisingly he was brilliant again. He controlled the game and managed a staggering 94% pass accuracy.

Regardless of how many changes Monk makes to his teams this season, Clayton should be starting every game.

CDM: Grant Leadbitter

Leadbitter came in for his first Championship start of the season at Bolton and he also impressed. As mentioned above he and Clayton worked great together and between them, they made 36% of Middlesbrough’s passes against Bolton which shows you how key they were to Boro on Saturday.

Leadbitter also got the assist for Middlesbrough’s third goal. After such a good performance at Bolton, he is very likely to retain his place at Villa.

RM: Adama Traore

Adama Traore was very much a topic of debate last season. Due to the fact he would take on five players then put his shot/cross into the stands. However, after he did not move in the transfer window, Adama seems to have a point to prove.

The Spaniard was certainly Middlesbrough’s man of the match at Bolton. Bolton’s defence could not handle him. He also assisted Boro’s first two goals with two excellent crosses. Showing critics that he actually can cross the ball.

Traore also had an 89% dribble success rate and 91% pass accuracy which further demonstrates how good he was. If he continues in this form, Boro will almost certainly be going up this season.

CAM: Lewis Baker

Given that Monk did not sign a true CAM in the transfer window Lewis Baker was the man tasked with filling that role on Saturday. He did so with some success. But he wasn’t exactly outstanding.

Baker will likely start there again because Boro have so few options for that position. However, Boro will be hoping he can start to add some goals and assists to his game if he is going to be Boro’s main CAM this season.

LM: Marvin Johnson

Martin Braithwaite is likely to be Middlesbrough’s main left sided player this season. But he is still only in light training after suffering a hamstring injury early in the season. So, the trip to Villa will likely come too soon.

This means Johnson should be the man to take his place. Downing did start on the left at Bolton but he didn’t do too much. Johnson made his debut at Bolton though coming on in the 68th minute. He looked very fast and sharp and he even managed to score a goal on his debut. With a bit of help from Bolton’s keeper.

Either way, Johnson looked a real threat during his debut and he should start at Villa.

ST: Britt Assombalonga

After a dip in form before the international break, Britt Assombalonga has certainly found his goal scoring boots again.

Assombalonga scored two at Bolton and he came very close to getting his hat-trick. He and Traore seem to work really well and Monk will want to capitalise on that against Villa.

His two goals at Bolton put Britt on to four Championship goals for the season in six games. This makes him the joint top scorer in the Championship which shows how good he is. Also, last time Boro were promoted their top scorer David Nugent only managed eight goals all season. Assombalonga has already managed half of that in six games showing that Middlesbrough look to have finally found their goal scorer.

This is how they might line up:


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