Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion played out a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium on the 30th of July in their first game of the 2022-23 EFL Championship season. Isiah Jones put the hosts in front in the 10th minute before John Swift equalized in the 51st minute.

Middlesbrough lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with a back-three of Anfernee Dijksteel, debutant Darragh Lenihan and Marc Bola. Zack Steffen was the goalkeeper. The midfield three consisted of Matt Crooks, Jonathan Howson and Riley McGree. Isiah Jones and Ryan Giles were the wing-backs and upfront were Duncan Watmore and Chuba Akpom.

West Brom opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation. In between the sticks was David Button, and he was supported by Darnell Furlong, Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea and Conor Townsend. Jake Livermore and Jayson Molumby formed a double pivot in midfield. The front four consisted of Jed Wallace, John Swift, Matt Phillips and Karlan Grant.

Middlesbrough had the majority of the possession at 60%. Both teams generated an xG of less than 1.0. Hence, both teams overperformed on their xG.

Middlesbrough used the 3-5-2 formation throughout the match.

Similarly, West Brom also did not deviate from their 4-2-3-1 formation which they started with.

Boro drew first blood when Isiah Jones struck one in the bottom-right corner of the goal.

John Swift levelled the scores for West Brom after he slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Middlesbrough’s positional attacks were more threatening from the left and through the centre.

West Brom produced the majority of the threat from the right wing in their positional attacks, both in terms of quantity (number of attacks) and quality (xG).

Middlesbrough completed five successful crosses, four of which came from Ryan Giles, and the other came from Chuba Akpom. All of these came from the left wing

West Brom made six successful crosses, half of which came from Jed Wallace. The other three were from Darnell Furlong and Matt Phillips. Only Phillips’ cross came from the left flank.

Middlesbrough won 29 defensive duels in this game. Dijksteel won six, Crooks won five, and Bola and Giles won four each.

West Brom had 32 successful defensive duels. Ajayi won the most, with nine, followed by O’Shea and Swift, with five and four, respectively.

Debutant Darragh Lenihan won nine aerial duels in this game for Middlesbrough. The team as a whole won 17, which meant that he accounted for more than half the number of aerial duels won.

West Brom were victorious in 12 aerial duels. O’Shea won four; Townsend and Furlong won two each.

Both Middlesbrough and West Brom would have hoped for a better start to their season, but this draw is still better than a loss. Boro’s next match is a trip to Loftus Road to take on QPR on 6th August and WBA will be hosting Watford on 8th August.

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