Worrying statistics plus key Middlesbrough man excels in new role: Leeds United debrief

Middlesbrough are teetering on the brink of the Championship relegation zone following Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Leeds United – and there were plenty of talking points following the match.
Middlesbrough's Hayden Coulson impressed against Leeds.Middlesbrough's Hayden Coulson impressed against Leeds.
Middlesbrough's Hayden Coulson impressed against Leeds.

Whites midfielder Mateusz Klich scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time to mount more pressure on Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate.

Here, we look at some of the game’s other talking points worth reflecting on…

Goalscoring woes

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Wigan’s 3-0 win over Reading means Boro are now the standalone lowest scorers in the Championship.

The Teessiders have netted just 34 goals in 37 league games this season and haven’t scored for three consecutive matches.

It will be even more alarming for Woodgate that his side are struggling to create chances.

Boro’s expected goals average in the Championship this season is 1.09, yet against Luton (0.48), Barnsley (0.24) and Leeds (0.58) that figure has decreased significantly.

Woodgate’s tactical switch

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At a key point of the season Boro’s best team and formation remains unclear.

The Teessiders have changed their shape with limited success this season, yet alterations in recent weeks haven’t worked.

Against Leeds, Woodgate reverted to the 4-2-3-1 system which he deployed in December’s 2-0 win over West Brom – a game which marked Boro’s best result of the season.

The system wasn’t quite as effective against Marcelo Biela’s side but the hosts did appear more balanced compared to recent matches.

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Hayden Coulson and Marcus Tavernier provided pace on the flanks, yet Boro’s attacking quality in the final third let them down.

Coulson’s advanced role

Boro’s system allowed Coulson to play in a more advanced role against Leeds, and the 21-year-old impressed once again.

The energetic wideman has enjoyed a breakthrough season this term, but has often been deployed as a full-back or wing-back.

In previous seasons, Coulson has naturally played in a more advanced role where he can express himself further up the pitch.

That was certainly the case against Leeds, when the speedy winger was Boro’s best outfield player and Leeds’ biggest concern.