Middlesbrough fell to their first home defeat of the season after a stunning James Maddison strike gave Norwich all three points on Tuesday.
It ended a five game unbeaten run for Garry Monk’s men who started the season as favourites for promotion.
The club spent big in the summer in the hope of a quick return to the top flight, but it’s one of the old boys who could be having a big influence at the club.
This stat below from @Boroform shows the impact Stewart Downing has had on the side this season.
Boro with and without Downing this season… pic.twitter.com/le8MgDby4j
— ???? BoroStats™ (@boroform) September 28, 2017
As you can see, Boro are yet to lose when he plays and boast a much bigger win percentage too.
Downing was out of favour with Monk throughout the summer months, with constant sepculation linking him with a move to Birmingham City.
However, that didn’t materialise and Downing got his chance and played a big part when Boro took seven points against Bolton, Aston Villa and QPR.
Yet, the signing of Marvin Johnson and return from injury for Martin Braithwaite was clearly going to make it hard for the 33-year old to keep a place in the side and he was not involved in the 18 for the Fulham match.
Even though Downing hasn’t made a key contribution in terms of goals and assists it would be unfair to just dismiss this as a coincidence. He clearly brings a balance to the team when he plays and may benefit others.
However, Monk clearly has to go with the younger players and big-money signings he’s made and it’s far too soon to dismiss them.
Although, if results don’t pick up he may end up calling on his experienced midfielder to play a part.
What do you think Boro fans? Is there anything to that stat? Let us know in the comments below.