Monday, October 3, 2022

4-2-3-1 Middlesbrough Predicted Line-up To Face Norwich City: Traore To Return?

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Josh Barker
Middlesbrough FC correspondent for The 4th Official.

Middlesbrough host Norwich this Tuesday as they look to continue their unbeaten home record this season.

Boro drew 1-1 away to Fulham last time out. But they did come from behind again. Something they barely did under Aitor Karanka which suggests this team is much more up for it under Garry Monk.

Middlesbrough are currently 5th in the Championship, a win against Norwich could see them move up to 4th.

Here is how they might line up.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Middlesbrough have been using 4-2-3-1 for their past five games in all competitions. In those five games, they have won three and drew two. Both of those draws coming away from home and one of them was with 10 men. So, as Monk is getting such positive results from this system, he is likely to stick with it for a while.

GK: Darren Randolph

Randolph was excellent once again this weekend. Despite conceding the goal he pulled off a number of great saves. He is perhaps Boro’s most underrated player this season in terms of importance to the team and he should be starting every league game for Middlesbrough.

RB: Cyrus Christie

Christie put in yet another solid performance on Saturday. He was solid offensively and defensively. Most importantly though, he got his first goal for Boro which also happened to be the equaliser.

RCB: Dael Fry

Fry may have been worried in midweek when he saw Ayala and Gibson lineup in the cup to face Villa and then keep a clean sheet. However, Fry was back alongside Gibson once again on Saturday.

Fry very much rewarded Monk’s decision to pick him. He was excellent all game and the goal was not his fault. He should start again on Tuesday.

LCB: Ben Gibson

Gibson captained Boro once again this week due to Grant Leadbitter being dropped. He had a decent game at the back. But Fry is starting to look like the better centre back for Middlesbrough.

Gibson will likely captain again on Tuesday and will be hoping to keep a clean sheet this time around.

LB: George Friend

Friend’s inclusion in this line-up is due to injury problems rather than him earning it.

Fabio was subbed off at Fulham in the 76th minute. Friend replaced him and was then man marking Kamara when he scored for Fulham. Friend will likely feature again on Tuesday due to Fabio being unfit. However, Boro fans will be hoping for a much better performance this game.

CDM: Adam Clayton

Clayton had another decent game away to Fulham. He worked very well defensively and helped absorb a lot of the Fulham pressure. He will start again on Tuesday.

CDM: Jonny Howson

Howson earned a space in the starting eleven on Saturday due to his good performance in the cup midweek.

It would seem Monk made the right call with this one. Howson almost ran the show for Boro in midfield. He put in maybe his best display in a Boro shirt so far and that will surely earn him the nod over Grant Leadbitter on Tuesday.

RM: Adama Traore

Adama Traore will return from suspension on Tuesday night after being sent off in the league vs Aston Villa.

It is very likely that Monk will put him straight into the starting eleven. He is so fast and skilful he will undoubtedly cause Norwich huge problems. Patrick Bamford started RM on Saturday. He put in a decent shift but given how well Traore was playing before his suspension, Monk will likely pick him over Bamford.

CAM: Lewis Baker

Lewis Baker looked very bright once again vs Fulham as he grows into this Boro side. He created a good few chances on Saturday. The biggest being Boro’s equaliser. It was his corner that Ashley Fletcher headed down for Christie to smash home.

Baker is now looking very comfortable as a CAM for Boro and he should continue there on Tuesday.

LM: Marvin Johnson

Marvin Johnson did not have the best game for Middlesbrough on Saturday. However, Boro are very aware of what he is capable of. Also, if Boro start with Johnson and Traore on the wings, Norwich will struggle a lot to deal with their pace and skill.

Boro’s other left winger Martin Braithwaite is still recovering from injury and Tuesday’s game will likely come too soon.

ST: Britt Assombalonga

Assombalonga is likely to start on Tuesday, just as he is likely to start every Boro league game this season. He is a natural goal scorer and always gets chances in the game. He didn’t score on Saturday. But he is still Middlesbrough’s top scorer with five and he is very likely to get one or two at home to Norwich

This is how they might line up:

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