Middlesbrough v Everton
15:00 - 11/2/2016 - Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Everton’s victory in a madcap, nine-goal game against Bournemouth last weekend demonstrated once more the formidable prowess of Romelu Lukaku, but the three cheap goals they conceded will have given Ronald Koeman cause for concern. Middlesbrough’s defensive courage meant that they conceded only one against Spurs at White Hart Lane, but they could not get on the scoresheet themselves, and they are now just a point above the drop zone.
Middlesbrough remain one of the best defensive teams in the league, especially relative to their lowly position. They’ve conceded 27 goals this season (as have Everton, putting these two as joint-fourth best defensive teams in the league), but they’ve struggled to beat middle-third sides, and they have gone W1-D4-L3 in their eight matches against such teams at all venues this season. Everton have not beaten a promoted side on the road at any stage over the past season and a half, and although they beat Middlesbrough 3-1 in this fixture earlier in the season, they’ll face a much tougher task at the Riverside.
Everton haven’t been strong enough away against weak teams for us to justify backing them here – they’ve drawn four of their last five away against promoted side. Since Boro have drawn three of their last five against middle-third sides, we think a Draw could be on the cards here.
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