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Queens Park Rangers 1 v 1 Middlesbrough
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 26th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Chuba Akpom scout report: Debut vs QPR hints at bright Middlesbrough future
Monday, 28th Sep 2020 21:19 by Phil Spencer

It's every striker's dream to get themselves a goal on their debut.

Thankfully for Chuba Akpom, that dream became a reality as he really announced himself to the Middlesbrough supporters.

The 24-year-old had only arrived at the Riverside Stadium seven days previous to his bow for a fee thought to be worth around £2.75million.

But the former Arsenal man has already started repaying that transfer fee.

With Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher leading the line so far this season it was expected that Akpom may have to be a bit patient in waiting for his opportunity under Neil Warnock.

However with Fletcher struggling with a hamstring injury Akpom was thrust into the cauldron that is Loftus Road for his first taste of action for his new side.

To say that he relished the challenge is an understatement.

Chuba Akpom's debut in numbers, via WhoScored.com

Minutes played – 90

Goals 1

Shots per game – 3

Aerial duels won – 5

Passes attempted - 10

Pass success rate – 50%

Key passes – 1

Dribbles 1

Fouls won - 2


As far as debuts go, Chuba Akpom's performance against Queens Park Rangers couldn't have gone much better.

To get a goal on his first appearance for the club will be a massive boost to his confidence, but if you look at his other statistics then you can see that his headed effort was far from good luck.

Akpom played the full 90 minutes in west London - a decision which, in truth, was probably more down to the lack of attacking options at the disposal of Warnock's assistant, Kevin Blackwell.

That said, he used his opportunity to its full potential.

It took just three shots for Akpom to get himself on the scoresheet - a statistics that is even more impressive with his headed goal being the only chance that fell to him inside the penalty area.

Middlesbrough's approach under Warnock is fairly direct, with balls being played into the box from deep, wide positions and from balls into the channels from central midfield.

Warnock needs his strikers to be a strong physical presence who can hold up play and win aerial battles.

Akpom certainly showed why he was the gaffer's number one striking target after winning an impressive five aerial duels against QPR.

His ability to hold up play also led to Middlesbrough being awarded two free-kicks in dangerous positions - something that is a big part of the club's gameplan to dominate from set pieces and crosses into the box.

Unlike many centre-forwards, Akpom appears to be much more that just a target man.

The 24-year-old completed one successful dribble against the Hoops and showed that a quick burst of pace can see him be a genuine all-round threat for Middlesbrough.

While he did only manage to complete five of the 10 passes which he attempted, one of those was classified as a key pass which led to a goalscoring opportunity.

Akpom's cohesion with his Middlesbrough teammates will improve as he settles into live in Teesside and the hope is that this will help him to become more in tune with their movements as a result.


As far as debuts go, Chuba Akpom's performance against Queens Park Rangers couldn't have gone much better.

Mark Warburton's side may be among the least effective defensive units in the Championship, but you can't take anything away from the impact that the striker had in west London.

Akpom will face much sterner defensive tests as the season unfolds, but that performance has already showed supporters exactly what they want to see.

Fast, strong and with a clinical eye for goal - the hope is that Middlesbrough's new striker can prove himself to be a reliable performer in attack during the rest of this season and beyond.

Who knows, Chuba Akpom could be the man to break the myth of 'Middlesbrough FC: The striker's graveyard'.

Photo: Action Images

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