Middlesbrough and West Brom opened their Championship campaigns at the Riverside on Saturday evening, with the two sides playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw.
It was a game with plenty of chances for both sides and so it only seems fair that the points were shared.
Middlesbrough dominated possession, having 62% of the ball, but scored with one of their two shots on target. The visitors saw far less possession but had more shots on target during the 90 minutes.
Boro took the lead through Isaiah Jones (10′), who ran on to Chuba Akpom’s cutback at the far post to slam home.
Zack Steffen was called into action a few times in the Boro goal before the Baggies scored their leveller just after the break. Jed Wallace worked space on the right-hand side and pulled the ball back to the centre of the box for fellow debutant John Swift (51′) to score.
Middlesbrough started slowly in the second half, with West Brom dominating proceedings. Yet they did begin to take hold of the game again in the latter stages, but either side couldn’t do enough to take home all three points.
The 1-1 scoreline aside, here are the top five performers from the game as per WhoScored‘s match data.
Darragh Lenihan (Middlesbrough) – WhoScored rating 7.4
Making his debut in a Boro shirt, Lenihan commanded his backline well and showed off his leadership qualities alongside Anfernee Dijksteel and Marc Bola in the back three.
Not only did he make four clearances, an interception and an important tackle during the game, but he boasted the most passes out of anyone on the pitch along with an impressive 81% pass accuracy.
Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough) – WhoScored rating 7.3
Made a total of four saves and made sure his new loan club got a share of the points.
His distribution was particularly strong and he brought order to the defence which was missing two of their regular first choices in Paddy McNair and Dael Fry.
The goalkeeping position was a problem for Middlesbrough last season and Steffen’s addition looks to be a huge plus for the Teessiders, especially after his performance against West Brom.
Dara O’Shea (West Brom) – WhoScored rating 7.3
O’Shea impressed in the Baggies backline and marshalled the defence well to nullify the threat of Boro’s strikers. He kept each of them relatively quiet throughout the 90 minutes, making a match-high of three blocks and a whopping 10 clearances, more than double the amount of second-highest in the standings.
His distribution was also impressive, making the second-most amount of passes for Bruce’s side, with an 80% completion rate, the highest of any West Brom starter.
Jed Wallace (West Brom) – WhoScored rating 7.2
Grabbed the assist for Swift’s equaliser and was a constant threat down the Baggies right.
Although Boro left wing-back Ryan Giles had success going forwards, Wallace had the better of his opposition for the majority of the game. The winger had two shots, both of which were on target, and recorded a joint match-high number of key passes with three.
Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough) – WhoScored rating 7.2
Scored the opener and was always an outlet for Boro down the right side. Jones also made the joint highest amount of dribbles, drew the most fouls, and attempted four crosses, the third most of the afternoon behind Giles and Wallace.
The 23-year-old was one of the club’s standout players last season and he already looks to be important to how manager Chris Wilder wants to operate again this time around.