Things We Sort Of Learned: Middlesbrough (H)

1-0 to the Farkenal. We bested ‘boro’s boys with a TT special on a totes emosh day at FCR. Their fans took over Haymarket the night before the game and were jamming with Puppet Bastard. But yet again, their confidence was misplaced. Zoë Whitford and Rich Jeffery were there to see it all.

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TCF at FCR

When I was a lad, there were only two racing car tracks in town. One was Scalextric, the other was Total Control Racing, or TCR for short. Every parent knew that one of those two were what to buy their kid so they weren’t laughed at at school.

Except mine.

Oh no. For Christmas, and as usual, I was given a cheap shonky brand from Italy which broke as soon as I started playing it. I’m over it now. Honestly. Anyway, I digress.

What I saw today was TCR, but with football, so TCF. Total Control Football. Admittedly, Gestede’s sending off allowed us to take control, but we had started the better and ‘boro hadn’t shown much to that point.

Less than half an hour had gone when Gestede saw red and what we saw from then on was a patient display of passing football which you could say is exactly how to play against ten men. Being top of the EFL stats with both 90% pass accuracy and 21 shots on goal speaks for itself. As does 74% possession with ‘boro getting everyone behind the ball and defending doggedly, which they did well. Relying on the outball to Traoré was their only hope.

At times it was like attack against defence in training with us toying with them, and moving the ball across the pitch to probe for an opening. Credit to them, we didn’t add to Tommy Trybull’s Traction Engine Thriker.

Sure we could have taken off a centre half and added an additional midfielder or forward, but that could have played into their hands. I’m sure we would have done that later in the game if we’d not been ahead too.

Instead we had the most comfortable 1-0 win I’ve possibly ever seen, Gunn didn’t have a save to make, though he did gather a couple of crosses well under pressure from free-kicks and corners.

I’m not one for cliches* so I won’t do the one about German efficiency. Suffice to say the result never looked in doubt.

Was it exciting? Not really, no. Was it clinical? Yes, yes it was. Plus it was enjoyable in its way, and it ensured us the three points and another team doubled. Let’s hope we can say that after the next home game too...

Lovely stuff. RJ

* I really, really am.

Hashtag

It was lovely to wave hello to two of our new signings as they came on as substitutes. Onel Hernandez looks sharp, strong and keen, excellent. But it was the brief cameo of Moritz Leitner that stole the show. Much like with Tommy T, it would seem we’ve lucked out big time. Leitner’s performance could only be described as one of a hashtag BALLER. He pinged it all over with grace and precision, and he also managed some great Andy Hooze-style clapping of his colleagues whenever they did anything positive. I have a feeling we should all look forward to his performance against Ipswich. ZW

Broken Jonny

A broken Jonny is no laughing matter. It can lead to all sorts of upset and regret.

So it was sad to see our Jonny look broken. His hair seemed less Lego. He looked a bit glum. He had the wrong number on the back of the wrong colour shirt. Not a pigeon in sight.

How dare Pulis only use him as a sub?

Jonny only perked up when we gave him a clap as he warmed up on the touch line and then again when he was clapped from the pitch by the Barclay, as he reciprocated.

There was a photo of him out on the town with Wes after the game circulating on Twitter. He looked happier.

I wonder if he has any regrets.

Jonny, won’t you come on home? RJ

Timmbo

How brilliant is Timm Klose? I have always been a fully-paid up member of the Kloseholics, Timm’s entirely fictional fan club, but since we went three at the back I am absolutely obsessed with his new-found ‘freedom’. That cross to Lewis against Chelsea has released his inner midfield maestro and it doesn’t get better than him bursting forward with gay abandon whenever he so wishes. He’s basically the new Martin Peters. See also: Jamal Lewis suddenly playing centre forward every so often. ZW

52

Suffice to say, the applause during the 52nd minute and the resulting rousing rendition of OTBC was both moving and stirring. But special mention should go to Daniel Farke and his entire coaching staff for all standing and applauding with the crowd. They understand what it all means, and we should feel thankful for them.  ZW

Sound of da Pulis

Whinge, whinge. That’s the sound of da Pulis. This has got to cease. Cause we be getting hype to the sound of da Pulis.

Claiming that Gestede shouldn’t have seen red by indulging in top class whataboutery. Bore off cap boy.

Our head coach gave a much better appraisal of the incident. Noting that even if it should have only been a yellow (spoiler alert: It was as clear a red card as you’ll see) it would have been his second after he booted Tettey in the head. So the end result would have been the same.

How galling it must be if you’re a ‘boro fan, that with all your expectation and parachute payments you’ve ended up with that dinosaur in charge of your team. And Ayala in your defence.

Thuggishness, long throws and direct football were all in evidence from ‘boro. All from the Pulis handbook. It may bring them short-term success, but fuck that.

We may have had to be patient, but a style and identity is developing at Norwich. One that is diametrically opposed to Pulisball.

I know who I’d rather have as head coach, and he dresses fly. Not like a PT instructor at a young offenders institute.

Give me Farke in a Parka over Tracksuit Tony any day. RJ