Middlesbrough v Sunderland Betting Tips: Lack of goals expected at Riverside
Football writer Thomas Giles previews the upcoming Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
This North East derby is a must-win for both sides as they look to try and secure survival in the Premier League. Having said that, even if one of these teams wins on Wednesday, they both seem destined for relegation.
Steve Agnew’s Middlesbrough side put in a shocking performance against Bournemouth last time out as they went down to a 4-0 scoreline, extending their win-less run in the league to 16. They last tasted victory on 17th December 2016.
Boro have been relatively solid at the back for most of the season but their drubbing down in Bournemouth on Saturday showed just how low confidence is at the moment. The simple fact is that Middlesbrough have been woeful in the final third all season and their lack of goals means they are pretty much set for an immediate return to the Championship. It is no wonder they are the league’s lowest scorers with just 23 in 33 with little sign of improvement.
Middlesbrough have been terrible at home all season with just 14 points taken from 16 matches. They may have lost just twice in their last five at the Riverside but, having not won in the league on home soil since 17th December, there is little sign of a revival. Having said that, if you are going to win one home game, surely it would be against the side bottom of the table?
Sunderland will have had an 11-day break coming into this match after not playing last weekend. Their last match saw them take a point against West Ham United in a 2-2 draw. This was a relatively good result for the league’s bottom side and perhaps this break could have actually broken good momentum rather than having any benefits.
The Black Cats scored their first goal in seven matches in that aforementioned draw with West Ham and it was also the first time that Sunderland found the back of the net without Jermain Defoe being on the score-sheet since Boxing Day. This of course gives hope, however, defensively, Sunderland are still having big problems with just one clean sheet in their last eight and an average of two conceded per game in their last four.
Life on the road has been grim for David Moyes’ men with nine losses from their last ten away matches in all competitions. That 4-0 win at Crystal Palace at the beginning of February was certainly a freak result. As mentioned earlier, this match is a must-win for Sunderland so now is the time for them to claim another freak result!
This is a huge game for both sides and so it could be incredibly tense. Add in the fact that neither of these teams are particularly good going forward and we could be in for a rather tentative affair. ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ is the way to play this one.
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