Sunday 18 February 2018

Swansea v Middlesbrough - Story of the match

Middlesbrough captain Ben Gibson was in commanding form in their 0-0 draw at Swansea
Middlesbrough captain Ben Gibson was in commanding form in their 0-0 draw at Swansea

Swansea and Middlesbrough shared a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium which does little to alleviate their respective Premier League relegation worries.

Hull's victory over West Ham on Saturday had left Swansea outside the drop zone only by virtue of them having a superior goal difference to the Tigers.

Middlesbrough's position is ever more precarious - five points adrift of Swansea, albeit with a game in hand - and they might come to rue substitute Rudy Gestede failing to accept the best chance of the match in stoppage time.


"This game is as big as the moon #boro" - Comedian and celebrity Middlesbrough fan Bob Mortimer (@RealBobMortimer) sums up what the fixture meant to him.


Ben Gibson. Called into the England squad last week for the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania and easy to see why on this evidence. Stayed calm and strong whenever Swansea applied pressure and good distribution from the back. Certain to be in the Premier League next season, even if Middlesbrough are not.


Swansea boss Paul Clement refused to accept before the game that this was a 'must-win' match. But he will be disappointed not to have claimed a fourth successive home win and ease Swansea's relegation anxieties, because this was a real opportunity lost. Boro's interim boss Steve Agnew has overseen an upturn in performances in his two games in charge. B ut they remain toothless in attack and a testing run-in makes an instant return to the Championship likely.


Middlesbrough's impotency in front of goal makes them real candidates for relegation. Boro are the division's lowest scorers with 20 goals and drew another blank here. Agnew showed attacking intent by starting the speedy Adama Traore alongside Gaston Ramirez, Stewart Downing and Alvaro Negredo. He also went for the bold option of sending on targetman Rudy Gestede when Ramirez was injured in the first half. But Gestede missed a sitter at the death and Boro are running out of games.



Lukasz Fabianski 7 (out of 10)

Kyle Naughton 7

Federico Fernandez 6

Alfie Mawson 6

Martin Olsson 8

Jack Cork 7

Tom Carroll 7

Leroy Fer 7

Luciano Narsingh 6

Gylfi Sigurdsson 7

Jordan Ayew 5


Victor Valdes 6

Antonio Barragan 6

Bernardo Espinosa 7

Ben Gibson 8

Fabio 6

Adam Clayton 7

Marten de Roon 6

Stewart Downing 7

Gaston Ramirez 6

Adama Traore 7

Alvaro Negredo 7


Rudy Gestede (for Ramirez, 38mins) 6

Adam Forshaw (for Fabio, 64mins) 6


Hull v Middlesbrough (Premier League, April 5)

Swansea v Tottenham (Premier League, April 5)

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