After a hard fought draw at Aston Villa on Tuesday, Middlesbrough are back at home on Saturday facing QPR. They are currently 9th in the Championship table with opponents QPR just one place below. However, a win for Boro could see them move as high as the 4th position.
Here is how Middlesbrough may line up on Saturday.
Garry Monk has played this formation twice this season in Boro’s last two games. The first game Middlesbrough smashed Bolton 3-0. The second game, Boro’s formation was immediately changed when Adama Traore was sent off inside three minutes. So, Monk will likely use it again on Saturday as the two times he has used it Boro have won 3-0 and managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw with 10 men.
Boro are also at home on Saturday and the 4-2-3-1 is just the attacking formation Boro need to beat QPR.
GK: Darren Randolph
Randolph has just been a fantastic signing by Boro. Once again on Tuesday night, he put in another great performance. He made a number of key saves and is a big part of why 10 men Boro were able to hold out for a draw.
He should and probably will start every Championship game for Middlesbrough. Also, here are a few of Randolph’s great saves already this season to show how good he has been for Boro.
RB: Cyrus Christie
Christie has certainly impressed for Boro this season going forward. He is an excellent dribbler of the ball and knows how to whip in a good cross.
However, it was his defensive ability that shone against Aston Villa. Due to Boro having 10 men from the 3rd minute Villa dominated most of the game. Thus Boro had to do a lot of defending.
Cyrus coped with this very well showing that he is not just an attacking right back. But also one who can get back and be excellent defensively. He will almost certainly start against QPR.
RCB: Dael Fry
Fry and Gibson were partnered together on Tuesday again and once again they kept another clean sheet. The pair of Gibson and Fry have now been partnered together for six Championship games. In those six games, they have kept five clean sheets.
A ridiculous record for such a young centre back pairing. But one that should not be disturbed. Fry and Gibson should start every game together unless one is injured or suspended.
LCB: Ben Gibson
Gibson much the same as Fry has been superb this season. Gibson did well to help hold the back line together on Tuesday when Boro were down to 10 all game. Villa caused Boro’s defence huge pressure. But Gibson helped to make sure Villa went home without scoring a goal.
Fabio now looks to be Middlesbrough’s main left back for the season after George Friend was dropped for some poor performances.
This decision will be one Boro fans are quite happy with. Especially when in Fabio’s two league games for Boro they have kept clean sheets. Fabio was also part of the excellent defensive display that Boro put in on Tuesday. So, expect him to retain his place against QPR.
CDM: Adam Clayton
Clayton was also superb on Tuesday night, as he has been every game for Boro this season. He is a great CDM he put in some key blocks and tackles on Tuesday and will no doubt do the same on Saturday.
Clayton didn’t control the game like he normally does against Villa. However, that was not his fault as Boro couldn’t dominate the game due to Traore being sent off.
CDM: Grant Leadbitter
Leadbitter is Boro’s actual captain despite not starting their first five games. But after the performance he put in on Tuesday you can see exactly why Monk kept Leadbitter as captain even while he wasn’t playing.
Leadbitter was a true leader against Villa and like Clayton put on an excellent defensive display to keep the game 0-0.
RM: Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford will be the likely replacement for Adama Traore at right mid after his red card at Villa did not get overturned. Despite the fact, Henry Lansbury picked up a red for Villa in that game in a much more blatant red and his card was overturned.
Regardless, Bamford was one of Boro’s brighter players at the start of the season and he will no doubt do a good job on Saturday.
CAM: Lewis Baker
Lewis Baker did start out Boro’s last game to Villa as a CAM. However, the red card caused him to drop deeper in order to help out Middlesbrough defensively. This meant we did not really get to see Baker as a CAM last game.
The game before at Bolton he did ok in the CAM role but not spectacular. If he starts there again on Saturday, which is likely, Boro will want to see a bit more from the Chelsea player.
LM: Marvin Johnson
Marvin Johnson has been Middlesbrough’s most impactful sub in his first two appearances for Boro. In his first game, he came off the bench at Bolton and scored. Then in his second game, he came off the bench at Villa and used his pace to get through on goal causing Henry Lansbury to bring him down and get sent off.
Martin Braithwaite may be fit in time to start out on the left for Boro but Monk may want to go with Johnson due to him being more match fit.
ST: Britt Assombalonga
Assombalonga had a quiet game against Aston Villa which is hardly surprising given Boro’s 10 men. Regardless, Assombalonga has goals in him, four already this season in seven league games. So, he will almost certainly start against QPR and should cause them some problems.
This is how they might line up: