Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Big Questions

Si's Insights asks five "Big Questions" before Boro attempt to get their season started - again - against Burnley...

Another central midfielder?

Josh McEachran is a good player, a creative midfielder in the Zidane/Iniesta mould whose top level experience and vision could provide Boro with an invaluable spark. Chelsea's former assistant boss Ray Wilkins even called him the new Liam Brady at one point! The trouble is, our squad is loaded with midfielders, especially left-sided ones like McEachran. I'm still convinced that Mogga's focus should be on improving the right side of midfield and our strike force while he still can.

What's to become of Scott McDonald?

Gordon Strachan's marquee signing was "awarded" the number 27 shirt before the season began, suggesting that either he was being given the best alternative to the number 9 shirt that was available (2+7=9, geddit?) or the more likely possibility, that he would be on his way out the door. While the need to offload the highest earners at the club is understandable, the feeling persists that Mogga is underestimating what Scott McDonald can still offer to the club up front, particularly after such a toothless display on Saturday. Perhaps, as Bryan Robson did with Emerson during our successful promotion campaign of 1997/98, Mogga should feature McDonald while he has the chance.

Can Justin Hoyte and Julio Arca "cut it" at this level any more?

Yes, they've both shone in the top division, and you might think that their wage cuts show their dedication to the cause, but their availability says it all.

Has Mogga lost his marbles?

We all knew that the Moggalution was long over, but at present it feels like our beleaguered boss is feeling the ire of fans more than ever. And not without justification either. Persistently fielding Justin Hoyte over crowd favourite and local lad, Tony McMahon, who was unceremoniously packed off to Sheffield United; Signing players that either aren't up to it, like George Friend, or players who mysteriously vanish when the season starts, like Stuart Parnaby; Baffling tactics, like playing Bailey and Haroun out wide when three natural wingers, Park, Reach and Halliday, are on the bench; The omission of Curtis Main and, of course, Scott McDonald from a squad lacking in forwards; and the inability to provide Marvin Emnes with a strike partner who can restore his confidence. Right now, it appears that only instant results can save him. Or am I wrong?

Is anything consistent about Boro these days?

Well, yes... our programme name. It's now nearly nine years and counting for "Red Square"! And long may it remain...

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