Middlesbrough’s current league position doesn’t really paint a good picture of how their season has gone.
To really understand how Middlesbrough are holding onto 5th spot even now, a closer inspection is certainly required.
While the table position could change in the course of a single week, there is a certain assuredness about Boro’s play.
While the word ‘assuredness’ could be overstating their season, a closer look at their in-game statistics this season paint a very clear picture.
The lack of goals is one of the main reasons why they aren’t currently running away with the title and this might make one wonder how exactly they’ve kept themselves in the playoff spots despite having scored a lot fewer goals than the others.
The answer lies in the defensive numbers and having conceded just 28 goals all campaign, this Boro side are extremely stubborn when it comes to letting opposing attackers pass through.
With some excellent positioning and awareness, they’ve been able to neutralise most Championship opposition.
This proves that their defence needs no work at all but in the attack, there is a need for some added injection of creativity. For a side challenging for promotion to the Premier League, having just two recognised wingers could mean horror.
Rajiv Van La Parra and Stewart Downing remain their only options on the wing and this has hurt them drastically this season.
With Premier League football on the cards at Boro next season, going into it without backup could prove fatal.
They should look to target a pacy winger who preferably has prior experience of playing the English style. They needn’t look any further than Heracles Almelo winger Kristoffer Peterson, who is a product of the Liverpool academy.
The youngster is a versatile winger who is comfortable playing anywhere across the midfield. He offers excellent width and is a very good crosser of the ball, which should be one of Boro’s main criteria.
His pace and attacking work rate will come as a massive boost to this side.
He has scored 11 goals from his 24 games in the Dutch Eredivisie this season and has even managed to notch up a couple of assists.
He even made his debut for Sweden in October 2018 and has since improved drastically as well. This move makes sense for both parties and Boro must go ahead and finalise a deal for him.