Middlesbrough ended their luckless run with a win over Sunderland, a result that almost certainly condemns the Black Cats to relegation but still leaves Middlesbrough with a lot to do to guarantee themselves Premier League football next season. Their efforts to do so do not get any easier this weekend as they face Man City, who played out a bad-tempered stalemate in the Manchester Derby on Thursday evening.
Middlesbrough’s midweek win was just their first home win in eight, and they’ve been very weak in front of goal at the Riverside, recording the lowest home goals total in the division with 14 in 17 games. Their dogged defence has kept them in a few games (they’ve conceded the fewest goals of any bottom-half team), but Man City have the best away scoring record in the league, and they’ve won four straight games against bottom-six sides, scoring at least two on each occasion. By contrast, Middlesbrough have lost four straight games as part of a winless run of eight against top-six sides this season, scoring only once in the recent four-game losing streak. With all this in mind, it’s hard to see how Middlesbrough can better their result from the reverse fixture, which was a 1-1 draw at the Etihad.
City have scored exactly two in three of their last five away league matches, and an average of two goals across these games, and they beat Middlesbrough 2-0 when the two clashed at the Riverside in the FA Cup. Given Boro’s woeful scoring record, we think a 2-0 win for City could be on the cards again.
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