Middlesbrough player ratings v Stoke City

Gaston Ramirez and Alvaro Negredo were the stand out performers for Aitor Karanka's side

Middlesbrough player ratings v Stoke City
Boro's Alvaro Negredo (Picture from football365.com)

Middlesbrough began the new Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke on Saturday.

Alvaro Negredo opened the scoring after nine minutes before Xherdan Shaqiri equalised with a spectacular free kick in the second half.

But how did Aitor Karanka’s men perform in the first game of the season?

Player Ratings

Victor Valdes   6- The ex-Barcelona keeper was rarely tested on his debut. He made one punch to repel one of Shaqiri’s crosses mid-way through the first half but he couldn’t keep out the Swiss international’s wicked free kick moments later.

Emilio Nsue   6.5- Boro’s popular right back was forced to his fair share of defending, especially in the second half when Marko Arnautovic and Erik Pieters doubled up on him. Nsue stuck to his task though and his pace helped him out at times.

Antonio Barragan   7- The Spaniard was signed as a right back but made an impressive debut a centre half. He regularly positioned himself well to keep Stoke out.

Ben Gibson   7- Boro’s local lad was shielded well by his teammates but barely put a foot wrong at the back. Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf never got a sniff for the visitors and the forward was replaced in the second half after a low key opener.

George Friend   7.5- Didn’t look out of place on his Premier League debut. The energetic full back made some strong challenges and was keen to charge forward on the left flack. He will be a key player this season.

Adam Clayton  7- The gritty midfielder was the heartbeat of Boro’s well organised defensive unit and helped keep Stoke’s creative players on the fringes in the first half.   

Marten De Roon – The new signing had a debut to forget as he limped off injured after just 17 minutes. The Dutch midfielder appeared to injury his hamstring when he chased Bojan on a Stoke counter attack. He will hope it’s not too serious. Not enough time to give a fair rating.

Albert Adomah   6.5- He started lively and was the catalyst for Boro’s goal, when his cross was nodded back across the box by Ramirez for Negredo to convert. However, the Ghanaian winger faded as the match went on and his decision making was questionable at times.

Stewart Downing   6.5- Did a lot of running on the left flank and saw out his defensive duties admirably. However, he didn’t create much going forward and headed a late chance straight at Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given when he was found by Adomah’s cross.

Gaston Ramirez   7.5- The Uruguayan was influential both on and off the ball for the hosts. It was his clever header across goal which set up Negredo to score, and the tricky playmaker was also on the end of some vital clearances in his own penalty area.

Gaston Ramirez in action v Stoke (Picture from Getty Images)
Gaston Ramirez in action v Stoke (Picture from Getty Images)

Alvaro Negredo   7.5- Made the perfect start to his Boro career when he registered on the score sheet after just nine minutes. The imposing forward won numerous headers and made himself nuisance for the Stoke defence.

Substitutes

Adam Forshaw   6.5- The midfielder was forced into action after 17 minutes when De Roon hobbled off injured. He was tidy in possession and made some decent interceptions but couldn’t stop the team retreating in the second half.

David Nugent – The striker replaced Ramirez with five minutes to go. Not enough time to give a fair rating.