As a Boro fan, a point from the opening game against Stoke City feels a fair result and the team will be going into the Tees-Wear Derby with confidence.
We saw five competitive debutants in the Boro starting XI, with Barragan looked solid at the heart of the defence. With Daniel Ayala returning to match fitness, Aitor Karanka will be making a big call as to who partners Ben Gibson.
Alvaro Negredo opened his Boro account against Stoke, with Gaston Ramirez stealing the show. Many Boro fans, including myself, felt it was important to get Ramirez back at the club permanently, after his performances last season. The Uruguayan linked up well with Negredo and clearly has that little something extra, which almost sealed maximum points for Boro.
A downside from the game was losing new signing Marten De Roon to a hamstring injury. The Boro news around his injury has been fairly quiet this week, hopefully no news is good news!
From a Boro perspective it feels that Sunderland are a team who are still coming to terms with the departure of Sam Allardyce and Moyes has admitted it will take some time before they are at the level he wants them to be. Having said that, Sunderland looked decent against City and will be looking to take 3 points in their first home game of the season.
There will be a great atmosphere this weekend with the last meeting between the teams back in 2012, when Boro won 1-0 in the League Cup.
It’s still early days in the Premier League and it’s difficult to predict exactly how games are going to go. If Boro can defend well, as we’d expect from an Aitor Karanka team, then there is a good base from which to build a winning team.
Boro have to keep Defoe’s chances down to a minimum and using the creativity of Ramirez and the power of Negredo up-front, especially as the match goes on, could see the first win of the season for Boro.
Thanks to Rob from oneBoro for the opposition view