Middlesbrough registered a commendable 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Riverside Stadium in the mid-week Championship fixture and the Smoggies are in a fine run of form as they push for promotion.
After 8 league games, Boro find themselves second in the Championship standings with 17 points. Tony Pulis’ side next take on Swansea City in what could be a tricky game at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough Team News
Tony Pulis has no suspensions or injury concerns to worry about and he can choose his strongest line-up when his side lock horns with the Welsh outfit.
Predicted Middlesbrough Lineup (4-3-3)
Darren Randolph has been Middlesbrough’s first-choice custodian and he is expected to start in goal once again. Aden Flint and Daniel Ayala have been immense at the back and should start at the heart of the defence.
Flint has mustered 5.1 clearances per game on an average while Ayala has 1.3 interceptions a game. The duo doesn’t have impressive tackling stats and that is a testament to the work the holding midfielders have done in front of the defence.
George Friend and Ryan Shotton are expected to start as the two fullbacks. With 2.4 tackles and 1.8 interceptions a game, Shotton has been a rock in the right-back position and Pulis will hope the 29-year old can deliver again.
George Saville, Adam Clayton and Jonathan Howson will make up the midfield three. In 8 starts, Clayton has averaged 2.8 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1.9 clearances per game on an average.
Saville likes making the odd dash in attack and has averaged at least one shot a game so far in the Championship, so he will be a threat when Boro break forward on the counter. Howson, on the other hand, has managed at least one key pass a game, so Pulis will hope he can offer the creativity from midfield.
We expect Britt Assombalonga to replace Jordan Hugill this time around. Assombalonga found the back of the net in the dying minutes of Middlesbrough’s last league game and will be aiming to improve goals tally.
Martin Braithwaite, who has found the back on the net 3 times in 7 appearances, is expected to start on the left wing. Stewart Downing should start on the opposite flank.
Braithwaite is often the player who offers that bit of spark in attack with his ability to dribble past players and that could come in handy against Swansea.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored