Pre-Match View From Middlesbrough

“Is Sheff Utd a must win for top 2? Im thinking it is. 7 points off Leeds with a game in hand but fail to beat Sheff Utd…..”

“I’d be more worried that we might not make a play off spot, we won’t trouble the top two again this season.”

“Try again in April with the “must win” rubbish. After Wednesday we have 45 points to play for. I doubt that we will be 46 points off second place, so the answer is ……..
No!”

“A win would be great on Wednesday, but remember a draw takes points off SU. It will be a very tough game.”

“As much as a draw was still a decent result, I think it’s hamstrung us if we’re hoping to catch Leeds or Norwich.”

“WBA, Sheff U and Bristol City are more likely than us to get that second spot.”

“Well I thought we would beat Leeds and should have and I am going for a BORO win. Why over the last three games have I thought positively about BORO? Well I really can’t get my head around it other than we have what we have and we need to get behind them and support the team. Perhaps it’s simply wishful and desperation. Regardless of formation, Pulis, the players put in a performance which I hope holds good for remaining of the season.”

“Don’t know why but I think we will win this one. For some odd reason and I can’t quite say why. Think the squad might have got some belief back from 4 points against WBA and Leeds and looking at the table we can ill afford to drop points. Leeds and WBa have semi tough home games and while I expect WBA to beat Forest I reckon Swansea cuold trouble Leeds. Norwich will beat PNE though and there is a good chance that Derby and Bristol will win too. A loss against Sheffield could see us drop out of the Play Offs and we really don’t want that. Boro to win”

“they played 3-5-2 last game, with an inverted central pyramid.
So 3-5-2 would match up. exactly. It then becomes about winning individual battles.
Ayala/Flint/Fry vs Madine & Sharp. I would think we will do OK there.
Mikel vs Dowell their number 10 – we know which way that should go.
Howson & Saville vs Norwood & Fleck – would be a good battle
Shotton vs Enda Stevens who has had a great season. This will be a key battle
Friend vs Baldock again a tough battle to call
Britt & Hugill vs Basham, Egan & O’Connell. I think we would be looking to get Britt in behind Basham who isn’t quick.
Man for man we are a better team, if we are setup right we should be able to stiffle their attacks, because they play a pretty basic get it forward early and try to bully you type of game, that should be tailor made for us. “

“Basham is out. He will be a big miss for them, his overlapping runs cause all sorts of problems.”

“The only thing that makes there formation interesting is there wider centrebacks overlap there wingbacks. That’s why I would be tempted to go with VLP as we may be able to catch them on the break with a bit of pace.”

“Living in Sheffield a lot of Blades fans I speak don’t rate Stevens. I think he’s improved this season but if Shotton gets into him a couple of times early doors could win the psychological battle there.
United’s play tends to focus on getting the ball forward early (from CB, often big diagonals) but once in the opposition defensive third they play some very nice football and I think they’ll be able to move us around quite easily.
Wouldn’t be surprised to see similar to Saturday (central striker with two midfielders pushed up) to try and close the CBs, stop the balls coming over in the first place.
Sheffield United do a lot of good work centrally round the edge of the box – don’t be surprised to see Mikel and Clayton deployed.”

“I can’t see how we can compete for top 2 anyways, as our home form is simply disgraceful for a side in the top 6.
Our away form is sublime mind so I wouldn’t put us past us putting in a performance on Wednesday.
Looking at Villa’s goals on Friday, Sheff Utd are weak as pi$$ from crosses into the box. Their keeper and defenders didn’t know how to deal with them so I’m hoping we exploit that weakness of theirs….especially given how tall, strong and powerful we can line up.”

“I think he will go for the same lineup injuries permitting and I fancy us to at least take a point in this game. Throwing away a 3-0 lead is a lot more deflating than a 1-0 lead. Even if it is against dirty Leeds…”

“that’s gonna hurt Sheffield for Wednesday. The players were pointing and arguing with each other at the end”

“It will hurt Sheffield for Wednesday as they weren’t United.”

“They play wingbacks like us. They just play 20 yards higher up the pitch.”

“Blades ship goals an like every team in this league can be nudged off the pace.“

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