Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wenger Gonna Learn? Boro 2 - The Arse 1 & other stories

After a cowering Boro spent the first 20 minutes or so running scared and bottling challenges, with Reyes threatening to give us another (expected) routing, things turned around and Boro managed to pull off the unexpected.

Yakubu opened his goal scoring account shortly before the half time break with a bit of nifty turning and a beautiful shot (the only first half chance), giving Boro the half-time lead and the confidence and self-belief that they had been sorely lacking. Yes, you're 1-0 up, yes you can beat teams and yes you can at least give it a try - come on!

As a long-time Boro fan though nothing is ever taken for granted, least of all a 1-0 lead against a team that, to give them their dues, does normally absolutely batter the occasionally mighty Boro. But Arsenal didn't seem to get started again and an enlivened Boro team kept them out with solid defending as ever from Gareth Southgate and a revitalised whippet-like Maccarone keeping the box under attack, narrowly missing feeding Yakubu a second and then scoring a goal almost identical to Yak's opener, provided by the man himself. With his first goal since May 2004, it seems the bald Italian may be out of the wilderness and may have at last settled in. He's out to prove himself and he's doing a good job.

18 year old Wearsider Adam Johnson, in for injured Downing, had a great game on the wing once he got over the Arsenal-phobia that seemed to grip everyone in the first half. Xavier also had a commendable debut, the 32 year old appearing to have brough heaps of experience with age, rather than attitude, injury and an inflated wage, but it was Rochemback who really made an impact. McClaren proclaimed he "...had the best debut I have seen from a player and he can get even better" - high praise indeed and well deserved. Providing creativity in midfield and a perfect partner to workhorse Boateng, the 23 year old Brazilian fielded passes with great skill and accuracy throughtout and looks to only get better as he gets used to his new side.

Reyes managed to pop in a consolation goal 3 minutes into injury time ("Looks like we've won this", says my mate just as the ball hits the net ) but the whistle went and the game was won. A 3-0 away pasting of Birmingham, a 3-0 home pasting by Charlton and then a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal - inconsistent?! Well, such is the weird world of the mighty Boro. God knows what's going to happen at Wigan.

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