For a team placed 15th on the Premier League table, the score readings below of previous five matches featuring Middlesbrough FC is impressive.
West Ham United 1 – 1 Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough 0 – 1 Watford
Arsenal 0 – 0 Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough 2 – 0 AFC Bournemouth
Manchester City 1 – 1 Middlesbrough
While the Boros did brilliant work in containing the formidable Gunners at Emirates to a 0-0 draw and following it up with an emphatic 2-0 win over Bournemouth at Riverside, they were fortunate to have survived with a 1-1 draw at the Etidad against Manchester City last week. There were as many as 19 attempts on the goal by the Citizens in the first 30 minutes of a match in which they hogged 70 per cent of the possession. The Boros were able to get away with some very sloppy defensive work in the face of some very poor marksmanship on the part of the hosts.
Aitor Karanka would be lucky to get away with such callousness, when they run into Chelsea at home at the Liberty stadium on November 20, Sunday. Chelsea served a dire warning to all Premier League sides when they whitewashed Everton 5-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier this month. Any slipshod work at back by the Boros is likely to be ruthlessly punished by Diego Costa, Hazard & co. The Blues defense is also working like a dream as clean sheets in all previous 4 EPL games indicate. Antonio Conte’s men would very much like to keep the scoring momentum going (15 goals from the last five games)and it would be fortuitous of the hosts not to concede a few come Saturday night. Given the kind of form Chelsea have been in recently, bookmakers have had no trouble in betting overwhelmingly for a Chelsea win at the Riverside clash. Middlesbroughs’ grittiness of the last 5 games will be put under the severest of tests on Sunday in face of a Chelsea onslaught. The Boros obviously will look to hit on the breaks in order to make something of the encounter.
The two teams haven’t faced each other in a EPL clash since 2008, after which the Boros gained entry into the Premier League just this season. The only recent meeting between them was in a FA Cup tie in 2013 at Stamford Bridge which Chelsea won 2-0.
Diego Costa to Score Anytime, best odds 1/1