Team news: Boro v Arsenal

Last updated : 09 September 2005 By Reggie Holdsworth
Boro will give debuts to Abel Xavier and Fabio Rochemback against Arsenal at the Riverside.

Xavier will replace the departed Michael Reiziger, while Fabio will play in the centre of midfield alongside George Boateng, probably at the expense of Ray Parlour.

With Stewart Downing and Gaizka Mendieta missing through injury Boro boss Steve McClaren has a dilema in the wide areas. Ray Parlour could move over to the right but I would expect young James Morrison to keep his place.

On the left McClaren could promote Adam Johnson, who starred for England U-19's during the week, or he could play Emanuel Pogatetz at left-back and push Franck Queudrue into midfield.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is out, while there is also a doubt over Mark Viduka, who was complaining of stiffness and jetlag. The Aussie will be assessed on Saturday morning.

If he fails to make it Yakubu and Massimo Maccarone will lead the line. The only other fit forward available is Danny Graham, who has just returned from injury after four months out.

Thierry Henry will have to wait to beat Ian Wrights scoring record for Arsenal after he returned from international duty with a groin strain.

Sol Campbell is not ready to return after injury, while Freddie Ljungberg will be rested after international duty.

Boro possible:
Schwarzer, Xavier, Southgate, Ehiogu, Pogatetz, Morrisson, Boateng, Rochemback, Queudrue, Viduka, Yakubu

Arsenal possible:
Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Cole, Hleb, Gilberto, Febregas, Pires, Reyes, Bergkamp