Middlesbrough vs. Stoke City Review

In one of the most entertaining encounters of the round, newly promoted side Middlesbrough and three-time 9th place finishers, Stoke City cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw.

Middlesbrough dominated the majority of the match. In fact they were brilliant in the opening 45, playing tiki-taka like football with fullbacks bombing forward and Gaston Ramirez absolutely running the show in attack. It was Alvaro Negredo who put Boro in front as he got on the end of a Gaston Ramirez header back across goal from an Albert Adomah cross. But as the game went on, Stoke City grew more and more into the match and despite Middlesbrough’s efforts to win the match, you could just feel that one moment of Shaqiri or Arnautovic magic could change everything in the match and that’s exactly what happened when Xherdan Shaqiri took a beautiful left-footed free kick from outside the area. The ball floated in the air brilliantly before landing to the goalkeeper’s left and striking off the post and in. It was a brilliant goal that no keeper in the world would have saved. Stoke’s goal allowed them to grow in confidence more and more throughout the remainder of the match and eventually as Boro took their foot off the gas, the Potters started to look the likelier side to score a second goal and grab a winner. However, the newly promoted side managed to fight back and hold Stoke to a well deserved draw. Eventually once Boro took their foot off the gas, it just looked inevitable that Stoke were going to score.

Player Ratings – Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke City

GK Valdes – 5.5
RB Nsue – 6.5
CB Barragan – 7
CB Gibson – 7.5
LB Friend – 8
DM Clayton – 7
DM de Roon – 6.5
RAM Adomah – 7
AM Ramirez – 8.5
LAM Downing – 6.5
CF Negredo – 7.5CM Forshaw – 6.5
ST Nugent – 5
GK Given – 5
RB Bardsley – 6
CB Shawcross – 6.5
CB Wollscheid – 6.5
LB Pieters – 7
DM Whelan – 6.5
DM Imbula – 7.5
RAM Shaqiri – 7.5
AM Bojan – 6
LAM Arnautovic – 6.5
CF Diouf – 5.5CM Allen – 6
ST Walters – 5

Man of the Match: Gaston Ramirez

Gaston Ramirez ran the show for Middlesbrough against Stoke and earned himself a crucial opening day assist for Alvaro Negredo’s early goal. He also hit the woodwork twice, created 3 chances and was only dispossessed 1 time the entire match. Without Gaston Ramirez Middlesbrough surely would not have been as dominant as they were.

After 65 minutes of action, Middlesbrough probably deserved the win, but after Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri equalized from a free kick, the game was pretty much even from then on and a draw was a very fair result in the end for this incredibly entertaining match.

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