Daniel Ayala

Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley: Not much brewing at Boro

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  • Burnley still winless on road
  • Boro takes step toward relegation
  • Clarets should’ve gone down a man

“Middlesbrough couldn’t finish its chances” could be the title of the Northeast club’s season anthology, as Boro played Burnley to a scoreless draw at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

The draw leaves Burnley 12th, eight points clear of the drop zone. Boro is six points back of 17th place Hull City with a match in hand.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The opening moments didn’t have a ton of danger, though Robbie Brady banged a Burnley free kick off the proverbial woodwork.

Daniel Ayala had a chance for Boro off a set piece later in the half, but didn’t get the purchase required to find an opener.

Adama Traore opened up Burnley’s defense with some fancy dribbling later in the half, but his pass to Adam Clayton merely resulted in a shot directly into the hands of Tom Heaton.

Burnley was very fortunate to not be down a man when Patrick Bamford was chopped down en route to goal, but Martin Atkinson didn’t see it that way. It was a yellow card and a free kick, one that was cleared off the line.

Soon after, it looked like Ayala had scored but Atkinson ruled that an injured and face down Joey Barton‘s presence in the middle of the box didn’t warrant the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich City: Comfortable Canaries back in Premier League

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A pair of players which suffered through Norwich City’s relegation a year ago helped the Canaries back into the Premier League with two early goals.

Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond netted twice in three minutes to build a 2-0 lead that would last through the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday morning.

It’s called the richest game in the world, with an estimated $180 million on the line. It didn’t provide a wealth of scoring chances, though.

[ ALSO PROMOTED: Watford | Bournemouth ]

After the clubs exchanged cross bar strikes from City’s Bradley Johnson and Boro’s Jelle Vosson, Norwich got on the board.

Jerome victimized Daniel Ayala and then dribbled toward ‘Boro keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos at a tight angle before firing between the legs to make it 1-0 Canaries in the 12th minute.

source: Getty Images
Norwich City keeper John Ruddy

And it was 2-0 within minutes, as the 15th saw Nathan Redmond bury a low, right-footed shot into the side netting.

Middlesbrough, of course, opened the second half with a desperate attacking idea that lasted the duration. That provided the opportunity for dangerous Norwich counters, but the Canaries took a while to find those chances as ‘Boro worked to narrow the deficit.

In the end, though, there was a class difference between the Canaries and ‘Boro. Norwich rarely seemed troubled by their promotion foes, and Alex Neil’s side are going up.

 

LINEUPS

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Whitehead, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter, Adomah, Vossen (Kike, 68′), Tomlin, Bamford.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson, Redmond (O’Neil, 87′), Howson, Tettey, Johnson, Hoolahan (Dorrans, 75′), Jerome (Grabban, 75′).

Goals: Jerome (12′), Redmond (15′)

Premier League transfer window grade: Norwich City

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Window Shopping: Every single Norwich fan was hoping for more attacking talents to arrive during the January transfer window. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Only one player arrived for the Canaries as Newcastle’s out of favor Argentine winger Jonas Guttierez signed on loan until the end of the 2103-14 campaign. Don’t get me wrong, Gutierrez is a really good player but has been out of fitness and form for quite some time. Norwich’s two big summer signings, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper haven’t been banging in goals this season, with van Wolfswinkel really struggling since his move from Sporting Lisbon.

The Canaries have scored just 19 goals in 24 PL games, the second lowest total in the entire league. That needed to be addressed but they couldn’t get it done.

Players In: Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle, Loan)

Players Out: Daniel Ayala (Middelsbrough, $525,000) Jamar Loza (Leyton Orient, Loan)

RECAP: All the deals on deadline day

Grade: C –

Yeah, it’s a pretty low grade for the Canaries, because Chris Hughton has failed to strengthen in the area he needed to. However that might not be his fault as Norwich’s resources are likely to be limited, especially after splashing out over $20 million on van Wolfswinkel and Hooper this summer, and January didn’t have many bargains.

Last year Norwich brought in the likes of Kei Kamara to bolster the strikeforce late in the season and that worked to help keep them up. I do worry for the Canaries this year though, because I just don’t see where the goals are coming from. That, and they are only two points above the relegation zone.