July 12, 2024

Middlesbrough could not replicate their significant victory over Leicester City before the international break, succumbing to a defeat against Bristol City upon their return to action. Despite the 3-2 scoreline suggesting an exciting match, the game lacked overall quality, with goals coming in bursts. Boro managed to level the score with a Zak Vyner own goal and a Matt Crooks strike within two minutes after Bristol City scored twice in the final eight minutes of the first half.

However, Boro’s efforts to recover from a two-goal deficit were thwarted as they failed to defend a crucial corner, leading to Mark Sykes’ decisive goal. The main talking points and conclusions from the game are outlined below.

Isolated incidents' at Bristol City but familiar problems overall for Middlesbrough - Craig Johns - Teesside Live

Michael Carrick’s team has conceded six goals in their last two away games, highlighting a broader issue in their away performances this season. With 19 goals conceded in just seven away games, Boro holds the second-worst defensive record in the Championship. Although they have scored 18 goals on the road, teams seem to approach games against Boro differently, posing a challenge that the team needs to address.

Compared to last season, where Boro often thrived playing away with more open opposition, their defensive vulnerabilities are more evident this season. The team’s ball retention and ability to reorganize after losing possession contribute to their defensive struggles.

While maintaining attacking ambition is crucial, finding a better balance, perhaps adopting a more measured approach on the road, as seen in the win against Sunderland, could benefit Boro in their away performances.

The article emphasizes the January priority for Boro, especially after Darragh Lenihan joined Tommy Smith on the season-long injury list, leaving the defense in need of reinforcement. The Bristol City game highlighted defensive lapses, indicating the urgency for a defensive signing, possibly targeting the right-back position.

Rav van den Berg, who has been playing at right-back, struggled defensively and lacked comfort on the ball in that position. The article suggests that moving him back to his preferred center-back role and signing a new full-back in January could address this issue.


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