Thursday, November 15, 2007

Season Summaries--17. Middlesbrough

17. Middlesbrough (My preseason prediction: 16th)

Aside from poor play on the field, the one thing that the bottom four clubs at this point in the Premiership table have in common is uncertainty at the manager's post. Wigan and Bolton have already replaced managers, Derby are probably a few more embarrassing results away from doing so, and Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate seems to be the odds-on leader in the sack race. With just 10 points in their first 13 games, Middlesbrough are actually tied with Sunderland for 16th but anyone who's been watching the Premiership this season will tell you that Sunderland has been a far more competitive team.

Boro haven't won a league game in their last nine played and with their next three games coming against Aston Villa, Reading, and Arsenal, that streak figures to continue. They lost in the 3rd Round of the Carling Cup at Tottenham 2-0, which normally would have been a respectable result, but with the way Spurs were playing back in late September one really would've thought Middlesbrough could come away with a victory, or at least push the game into extra time and/or penalties. Winger Stewart Downing is Boro's leading goalscorer (3 in the Premiership), and though he's a good player in his own right, it shows just how much they're missing Yakubu and Mark Viduka up front. I can't see it getting much better for Middlesbrough and if it doesn't, I fully expect Gareth Southgate to be gone before Christmas.

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