Buidling Dreams Together


Inconsistent Boro do the Double over Table-topping Foxes

Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough beat Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday the 17th of February, to become the first team this season to do the double over Enzo Maresca’s title favourites.

Michael Carrick celebrates with his players after a much needed win.

Middlesbrough came into the game on the back of a four game unbeaten run in the league and with a much changed side, not many pundits would have thought they’d travel back to Teesside with all three points. However, Carrick’s team selection and switch to a back three came to fruition after two first half goals from Finn Azaz and Sammy Silvera allowed Boro to claim all three points and keep their play-off hopes alive despite a late Leicester rally and Jamie Vardy consolation goal.

Azaz and O’Brien celebrate after combining for the first goal.

As expected, Leicester dominated possession and pushed heavily in the first half try to and get the opening goal, unfortunately for the hosts they couldn’t break through the dogged Boro defence. Middlesbrough managed to soak up the pressure and and tried to counter the home team quickly whenever they regained possession. Azaz’s goal in the 24th minute and Silvera’s goal in the 37th minute both came from quick forward play and were set up brilliantly by Lewis O’Brien and Riley McGree equally. Leicester’s lack of a clinical touch and Middlesbrough’s ruthless finishing meant that despite the home side having 66% possession and 11 attempts they went down the tunnel at half time trailing by two goals to nil.

The second half carried on with much of the same, Leicester dominated but couldn’t find a way through. As the game went on Boro sat deeper and deeper and the threat from a counter looked almost non-existent. Maresca turned to his bench and the ever willing Jamie Vardy came on for his 23rd championship appearance of the season and his pace and runs in behind looked to trouble to Middlesbrough. Fellow sub Tom Cannon spotted one such run and picked Vardy out with a defence splitting past and the veteran striker did the rest. Vardy’s 10th league goal of the season came in the 85th minute but it was too little to late for Leicester as they succumbed to just their third loss at home this season.

The result and subsequent championship matches mean that Leicester are now 9 points clear at the top of the Championship, and face some very important fixtures coming up including Leeds and Hull away and Southampton at home. As for Boro, they now sit ten points off the play-offs (albeit with a game in hand) and have their own important games coming such as Plymouth and Norwich at home and Southampton away where positive results will be crucial to maintain their play-off hopes.