As automatic promotion to one of the best leagues in the world beckons, this Middlesbrough team continue to impress in what has proved to be a season where records have been broken, new players have been taken to the clubs heart, hoodoos have been obliterated and a team has been galvanised by their one ultimate aim.
Here is a look at the best performers for Middlesbrough this season and who has made the biggest contribution to the team’s drive for a return to the Premier League after a seven year absence. (all stats refer to league games)
Total-Nugent 8, Stuani 6, Ramirez 6, Adomah 6
Right foot-Leadbitter 4, Nugent 3, Stuani 3
Left foot-Ramirez 3, Nugent 3, Downing 3
Headed-Rhodes 2, Ramirez 2, Stuani 2, Ayala 2, Adomah 2
Inside area-Nugent 7, Stuani 6, Ramirez 5, Adomah 5, Rhodes 5
Outside area-Ramirez 1, Downing 1, Adomah 1, Forshaw 1
As far as goals go, Middlesbrough have scored less than their rivals in the top 6 but they have managed to spread the amount throughout the team quite well. Nugent has scored vital goals with the injury time winner against Hull as important as any and Rhodes is in good form of late.
Some of the other promotion hopefuls are heavily reliant on their main striker and although Boro only play with one striker they have had notable contributions from midfielders Adomah, Ramirez and Stuani, with important goals also coming from the likes of Forshaw off the bench.
Total-Adomah 76, Downing 72, Nugent 57
Inside area-Adomah 52, Nugent 44, Rhodes 41
Outside area-Downing 48, Leadbitter 33, Clayton 26
Shot accuracy-Fry 67%, Rhodes 59%, Ramirez 57%
Unsurprising that Boro’s two main forwards Nugent and Rhodes have the most shots in the area aside from Adomah who has had another good season breaking from the wing to get in the box as often as possible.
Maybe the slight surprise comes from Downing’s stats. The Teesider-having his second spell at Boro- has had the second highest amount of shots in total and the most amount of shots in the squad outside the area and has only registered three goals for the season, something I’m sure he would want to improve upon.
Most passes-Clayton 2451, Leadbitter 1952, Downing 1827
Pass accuracy-Forshaw 88%, Clayton 86%, Downing 85%
Key Passes-Downing 67, Adomah 53, Leadbitter 52
Assists-Nugent 6, Downing 5, Adomah 4
A department where Downing is very prominent. Another facet to his game which occasionally goes unnoticed. Downing is very accomplished and assured on the ball with a very respectable accuracy rating and having the most key passes and 5 assists this season.
Adam Clayton way out in front with passes played (2451) and a very high 86% of them successful. Leadbitter not as accurate as his midfield partner, however he has played more key passes which might be as a result of being a slightly different style of passer as most Boro fans will tell you, he will more often play a cross-field ball or attempt more through balls as opposed to Clayton who keeps it ticking with more frequent short passes.
A mention must go to Nugent who has the most assists, he runs the channels tirelessly and works hard for the team.
Most Duels won
Aerial duels-Ayala 114, Friend 93, Nugent 69
Tackles-Clayton 76, Friend 72, Adomah 68
Take-ons-Adomah 55, Friend 54, Ramirez 21
Total Duels won-Friend 256, Ayala 185, Adomah 178
Dani Ayala comes out on top with the aerial duels despite missing some of the season through injury Ayala is a fierce competitor in the air and is rarely beaten. He has also proved a threat at the opposite end chipping in with goals.
George Friend dominates these stats with the second highest amount of aerial duels (despite being a full back) the second highest amount of take-ons as he loves to bomb forward down the left, the second highest of tackles, second only to the midfield destroyer Clayton and Friend also has won the most amount of duels (256).
Most defensive actions:
Interceptions-Clayton 119, Ayala, 114, Friend 95
Blocks-Gibson 27, Ayala 24, Leadbitter 14
Clearances-Ayala 211, Gibson 174, Friend 122
Total Defensive actions-Ayala 349, Gibson 277, Friend 230
Again Adam Clayton has the most interceptions (119) proving how effective he is at stopping the opposition team play and how vital he is in Boro’s system. Dani Ayala also making a massive contribution with 349 defensive actions. Ben Gibson has also showed he is more than happy to put his body on the line with 27 blocks.
So having read the stats have you still arrived at the same conclusion as to who is Boro’s most impressive player this season?