Michael Carrick’s high-flying Middlesbrough from last season has witnessed a sudden downfall. After the former Manchester United player took over last season, Boro were one of the best clubs in the EFL Championship in 2022–23. The Englishman even led his side to the promotion playoffs.
A lot of changes in the squad and the departure of some key players changed everything for Carrick and his men. The team sits at the bottom of the table with just one point in the first five matches. Let’s take a look at what has gone wrong with Middlesbrough in the 2023–24 campaign.
Struggles to find the back of the net
Middlesbrough started their new season at home against Millwall and lost 1-0. Their second outing was away at Coventry City, and Boro suffered a 3-0 defeat. In the opening two matches, Boro players attempted 27 shots, but only three were on target. They were unable to take shots from dangerous areas and had a low xG per shot.
In the first five matches combined, the team has attempted 70 shots at an average of 14 shots per match. The accuracy rate is 31.4%, but the goals per match average is just 0.6. This is a massive downfall for a team that averaged 1.75 goals per match in the 2022–23 season.
Chuba Akpom scored 28 goals for them, and he was picked by Ajax in the summer.
Middlesbrough have struggled not only on the attack but in their defence as well. In the first five games, the team has conceded 11 goals at an average of 2.2 goals per game. Last season, the defence only conceded 1.19 goals per game. They nearly conceded one more goal per match than last season.
The opposition players have been allowed to take 10.5 shots per match. The defence has blocked some of the shots around the six-yard box but has given space around the penalty spot to the opposition attackers. Most of the dangerous shots have been taken from the left side. Ryan Giles was commanding the defence on the left side in the 2022–23 season, but he was on loan from Wolves.
Even though the duel win rate is better than last season, Boro have struggled to keep a clean sheet. Michael Carrick has to sign some new players to fill in the gaps, and they are yet to find their chemistry with each other.
The Englishman will demand some better results after the September international break. Boro were one of the best teams in the 2022–23 EFL Championship and will be eyeing another place in the top six this season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine