After somewhat bouncing back against Ipswich Town, Middlesbrough then went to 17th place Millwall and put in a woeful display. Their defending was some of the worst this season. Which resulted in Boro losing 2-1 to a side they really should have walked over.
This now leaves Middlesbrough in 10th place in the Championship and 19 points behind league leaders Wolves. It has also made many Boro fans ask why on earth is Garry Monk still on the job.
Regardless of the manager though, Middlesbrough need to turn things around this weekend if they are to stand any chance of making the playoffs. Their opponents this weekend are Sheffield Wednesday, away. Sheffield are 15th in the league. So, Middlesbrough should be able to at least attempt to pick up a win. A win for Boro could see them move up to 8th and a loss as low as 12th.
Here is how they might line up.
Middlesbrough used a similar system to this earlier in the season with varying degrees of success. But given that Boro’s defence is extremely poor lately, Monk may wish to switch back to this system as the extra CDM will provide Boro’s defence with some much-needed cover.
GK: Darren Randolph
Randolph has started every league game for Boro this season and he is excepted to carry that on this weekend. He will want to improve on his last match though. In which he let in two.
RB: Cyrus Christie
Christie has been one of Boro’s better players this season. He is also their top assister in the league with three. So, he will start vs Sheffield Wednesday.
RCB: Dael Fry
Given the poor display Daniel Ayala once again put in vs Millwall, Monk will surely want to make a change in the centre of defence. That change will probably be Fry for Ayala as Fry is Boro’s only other real CB option due to Monk shunning Ryan Shotton.
LCB: Ben Gibson
Gibson will start vs Wednesday just because he has started every league game this season. However, his displays also need to improve if Boro are to tighten up their poor defence.
Fabio also hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks. But given the only other left back option is George Friend, who seems to have lost a step, Fabio will start on Saturday.
CDM: Adam Clayton
Adam Clayton has seemingly fallen out with Monk this season as he doesn’t even make the matchday squad anymore. But given he has been one of Boro’s best players in recent season and the fact he is a great CDM, he should return to provide some cover for a poor defence.
CM: Lewis Baker
Baker is another player who seems to be out in the cold with Monk. However, given Middlesbrough’s poor form, a change in personal seems needed. Plus, if Boro do switch to a 4-1-2-3, the defensive-minded Clayton would allow the likes of Baker to push forward into the box.
CM: Grant Leadbitter
Leadbitter has been lauded for his leadership qualities this season. But in Middlesbrough’s last game those seemingly disappeared. Middlesbrough will be hoping they can return this weekend.
RW: Patrick Bamford
It was in this system earlier in the season that Bamford was doing his best work. His versatility meant that Boro could either player with wingers with him out on the right. Or with a CAM as he dropped down behind two strikers, both positions he excelled in.
ST: Britt Assombalonga
Assombalonga has been quiet in front of goal lately for Boro. Given the huge price tag Boro paid for him, they will be hoping he ends his goal drought this weekend.
LW: Martin Braithwaite
Braithwaite is another player who is perfect for Boro’s 4-1-2-3 system. Because he can either play as a left winger when Boro want to play wide. Or when Bamford drops to CAM, he can go up top with Assombalonga as those are his two best positions.