This week’s regular View From The Enemy slot comes from the Northern Echo, and carries an interesting interview from Middlesbrough’s new under-fire manager Aitor Karanka. He has been under heavy criticism for his negative tactics up ’til now which has resulted in his team gaining just one point from their last six games, but seems to insist that he is going to the Emirates to get all three points. He certainly is brave! Well here is the article in full…..
Middlesbrough boss spells out his tactical approach against Arsenal
AITOR KARANKA insists he will not be “parking the bus” at the Emirates this afternoon, and concedes attack could be the best form of defence as Middlesbrough look to spring a surprise against Arsenal.
Boro will attempt to end a run of six games without a victory as they travel to North London, but their task could hardly be tougher as they prepare to take on an Arsenal side who are joint-top of the Premier League after winning their last seven matches in all competitions.
Wednesday’s resounding 6-0 win over Champions League opponents Ludogorets showcased Arsene Wenger’s side at their free-flowing best, and given his tendency to set up his side up conservatively anyway, there must be a temptation for Karanka to adopt an extremely defensive approach in an attempt to prevent Arsenal running riot.
Boro only mustered one shot on target as they lost at home to Watford in their last outing, but Karanka will be urging his players not to retreat into their shells this afternoon.
Having watched Swansea cause a succession of problems on the counter-attack as they went down 3-2 at the Emirates seven days ago, the Boro head coach wants his players to carry the fight to their opponents, and cites his side’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal two seasons ago as an example of how they should approach today’s game.
“We didn’t park the bus when we played them in the cup,” said Karanka, who will restore Daniel Ayala to the heart of the back four today in place of Calum Chambers, who is ineligible because of the terms of his loan move from Arsenal. “We didn’t park the bus when we played against Man United and Liverpool, or Man City. If we didn’t in the past, why now?
“I will try to do the best thing to win the game. I don’t want to go to the Emirates just thinking a draw is good. If we think that, we are going to lose one, two, three or 5-0. I am going to prepare thinking we can win the game, and I am confident we can win the game.”
Boro have not won at Arsenal since Juninho scored the only goal of a Carling Cup tie that formed part of the run that eventually culminated in Steve McClaren’s side’s lifting the trophy in 2004.
Their last away win at Arsenal in the league came in 2001, with Edu and Sylvinho both scoring own goals before Hamilton Ricard sealed a notable triumph.
A repeat of that result today is unlikely, with the bookmakers making Boro 11-1 outsiders, but Karanka remains confident his side can threaten the Arsenal defence.
Last weekend’s failure to find the target means the Teessiders have managed just seven goals in their eight league games this season, but while Karanka concedes the attacking display against Watford was disappointing, he disputes the suggestion that his side lacks a cutting edge.
“I am expecting more from the attacking players, but then I am expecting more from everyone,” he said. “We are working hard on the pitch, and I am working hard in my office.
“It (the Watford display) is a concern. But my only concern now is to play against Arsenal. Watford is past – I have analysed, and I have nothing more to say about it. We have players with quality, and one day they will score.”
Much of the attacking attention has been focused on Alvaro Negredo, with the Spaniard having gone seven games without a goal since opening the scoring against Stoke City on the opening weekend of the season.
In fairness to Negredo, a lack of service is clearly an issue, as the former Manchester City striker often finds himself isolated as he ploughs a lone furrow in attack.
That said, however, Negredo’s lack of mobility and work rate is an issue, with Jordan Rhodes having linked play more effectively when he made his only start of the season at West Ham.
Karanka could be tempted to go with Rhodes again this afternoon, although he made a point of underlining Negredo’s status as his squad’s senior striker.
“He (Negredo) didn’t play well against Tottenham and was subbed, and didn’t play against West Ham,” said Karanka. “But after that, his reaction has been really good. I do not have any doubt – and no one has doubts – that Alvaro Negredo is the best striker we have.”
Well he sounds like he is under a bit of pressure after 5 defeats in a row, but considering his only target is to finish out of the bottom three at the end of the season he still has time to turn things around.
But I don’t believe for one minute that he will come and attackArsenal today. Surely that would be suicidal?