Manager: Gareth Southgate
Ground: The Riverside Stadium
Pitch size: 115 x 75 meters
Year formed: 1903
Goal Keeping: B
Gareth Southgate’s boys are going to have to be stiff at the back in the coming season. They have strength and depth at the back line. Is that the way to go into a Premiership campaign? After all this isn’t Italy and playing for the occasional counter attack is not going to prove for anything more then a middle of the table finish. In fairness Southgate looks to be building a team. I love Woodgate and he was the first addition to my fantasy team. Time will tell who will be called upon to bag goals for the squad. I don’t like the speculation that Mido might be added. True they need someone else to help out up top but Mido is more of a cancer then an addition in my opinion. Who knows maybe he’ll catch fire right off the bat and then not pout too much?
Mark Schwarzer assuredly could hunt down an alligator if he so chose, probably bare handed at that. Schwarzer is the starter unless he decides to leave for a better club, which is always in the cards. Schwarzer wants to win and win now he knows he doesn’t have forever to bring home silverware and he’d like to claim some in the coming season. Sadly for Mark and the rest of this squad I don’t see any headed their direction in the coming term. Bradley Jones is Schwarzer’s understudy at the club and national level. If given a chance I think Jones could prove his worth. Jones helped Sheffield Wednesday this past season and I think he’s finally gathered the experience needed for a run in the Premiership.
Luke Young, Jonathan Woodgate and Robert Huth are a solid core to build a back line from. Pogatetz proved strong last season and Riggott should show strong again this season. Due to injury I don’t think Woodgate will be playing in the coming weeks. Southgate will just have to make due and piece together his back line while he waits for his top dog to get off the trainers table. In the long run of the Premiership season this unit should prove itself out right. I’d really like to see Ruth get some time but he just might not be ready yet.
Boateng and Downing will team well in the middle. Time will tell/show who else teams up in the middle. Southgate will have room to try out more players due to his strong center pair. Arca is a crafty attacker and at 26 years of age this is his season to prove himself as a real talent. I’d look for a possible addition to the midfield.
Yakubu Ayegbini is the main focus of the attack. Can he hold up for the entire season and will he be enough? The loss of Mark Viduka is huge. Can spare change from Arsenal fill the gaps? Jeremie Aliadiere was rough at best this past year at Arsenal. Jeremie has talent but he needs to put his finishing together. Pace alone can’t score goals. Extra time on the training pitch working on his touch won’t be a bad idea. Still this isn’t a horrible move by Southgate. Jeremie but have some talent for Wenger to take a chance on him in the first place. Maybe Jeremie puts it all together this season, but I’m not holding my breath. Mido would add a talent to the front that is undoubted. Mido also will add trouble in the locker room and he’s not a sure thing. Please add someone to the front on this team. It was rough to watch them last season at times and to see Viduka leave and no one replace him signals a long season too come. Just like Manchester City was short on goals last season but stout at the back, Middlesbrough looks like that this season.
If they can keep enough people out of their net and possibly find a few nets themselves Middlesbrough should find themselves safe in the season to come. I’d love to see a few more additions, but I don’t know if they have the resources to bring in a big name. I’m still excited to watch Woody drop some fools on the back line.