West Brom v Middlesbrough - Sunday 13:30, Sky Sports 1
Life as a West Brom fan must be pretty tough at the moment. Having only won once in their last 11 league fixtures, they’ve also lost four of their last five home matches too, not to mention a mid-week defeat at League One Northampton on penalties. Too add insult to injury, they’ve signed just one player whilst losing several others, and the entertainment on offer is dire. Eight of their last 10 matches in the Premier League have seen fewer than three goals, while eight of their last 11 victories all won 1-0.
Middlesbrough also lost a mid-week cup tie against an impressive Fulham this week, but it will be injuries at left-back that will trouble Aitor Karanka for this game. Fabio only lasted 10 minutes on his debut whilst George Friend had to limp on for the last 15 minutes with Middlesbrough having used all their substitutes.
However, Middlesbrough will be looking to make it to the first international break of the season unbeaten in the league, and will be given plenty of encouragement by Tony Pulis’ record with West Brom against promoted teams. In his nine such matches, the Baggies have won only once and lost five times.
With West Brom in real trouble, backing Middlesbrough/Under 2.5 goals at 5.5 looks astute. Furthermore, Karanka was a fine defender in his playing days and has made Boro a well organised defensive unit. So against a limited attacking side like West Brom they shouldn’t be unduly influenced by a couple of injuries at the back.