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The Chalkboard: Middlesbrough flying high despite striker problems

Middlesbrough sit second in the Championship table on 34 points, despite scoring the fewest goals of any of the teams in the top eight.

It remains to be seen whether the lack of a regular goalscorer harms the team this season, particularly during the busy festive period.

The Chalkboard

Boro’s 2-1 win over Brentford at the weekend moved them onto 34 points, and they are two points off Championship leaders Norwich City after 18 matches.

Boro are four points clear of seventh-placed Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, and will fancy their chances of staying in and around the top six come the end of the season.

Tony Pulis’ side have comfortably the best defensive record in the Championship this season with just nine goals conceded, but the fact that they have only managed 21 down the other end of the field is a concern.

To put those numbers into context, Norwich have 32 goals this season, while the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United have 39 and 31 respectively.

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Boro will be tough to score against this season, but there is a problem in the final third as they lack a player capable of hitting the goal trail.

Who is struggling this season?

Jordan Hugill led Boro’s line against Brentford at the weekend, and the on-loan West Ham United forward scored to make it three goals in his last two matches.

It is difficult to rely on the 26-year-old for the remainder of the season, however, and the supporting cast of Britt Assombalonga and Rudy Gestede have both struggled.

Assombalonga does have five Championship goals to his name this term and is the team’s leading scorer, but his overall game has been criticised, whilst Gestede – only just back from injury – is yet to register.

Boro’s success this term has been built on a strong defence, and they also have a number of talented midfielders who have contributed this season.

Bringing a new striker to the club in January will surely be high on Pulis’ list of priorities, however, as there will be a big problem if gaps start to open down the other end of the field.

Article title: The Chalkboard: Middlesbrough flying high despite striker problems

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