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All-in-all, you would find it hard to say that much vaunted Middlesbrough’s start this season has been good. A defeat against Wolves was followed up by a narrow win against Sheffield United and that has made it hard to judge them.
There is no shame in losing to Wolves and as for the Blades game – a win is a win. Nothing will be solved after this coming 90 minutes either, with the Brewers fairly weak beforehand, and now without the influential Jackson Irvine through suspension.
Boro, therefore, see a win as an absolute minimum here and a high scoring one would be the desired result, something that Garry Monk may achieve with the following 4-3-3:
Not Monk’s first choice signing for this position over the summer, but a solid enough ‘keeper nonetheless.
Rated as one of the best right-backs in the league, Christie should prove to be crucial as the season wears on.
The 19-year-old local lad is the latest off the conveyor belt at the Riverside and may play again here.
We all await more bids from Premier League clubs, with interest, before the summer transfer window closes. However, for now, he remains a crucial part of this team.
A solid left-back who keeps this defence looking nicely balanced from right to left.
The ex-Leeds and Norwich man is recognised as being one of the better players at this level and may prove crucial to Boro’s chances of promotion.
Quietly had a pretty solid season in the Premier League last year and deserves another crack at promotion.
Another player with more quality than his reputation allows for, though I’m not certain if this formation is right for him.
Starting to look like more of a journeyman than Premier League star now, Bamford needs a big season to cement his reputation.
With the likes of Fletcher in the squad now, Gestede starting last time was perhaps a slight surprise but having scored the winning goal against Sheffield United, it will be no surprise to see him being given another chance in the starting XI.
Carrying the responsibility of scoring goals and a heavy price tag, Assombalonga has a big reputation to keep up and he hasn’t started quite the way he would have wanted to.