Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace - Saturday 15:00
Middlesbrough had plenty of possession last time out against West Brom, but were frustrated in a dire goalless stalemate where they lacked the creativity to carve out chances. Given both Gaston Ramirez and Cristhian Stuani are unlikely to feature following the travelling of World Cup duty with Uruguay, this problem could well be amplified. The duo have been key players for Boro this season and the team will be heavily reliant on Stewart Downing for inspiration in their absence.
Crystal Palace moved out of the bottom three with their last gasp equaliser against Bournemouth, a game in which they dominated the second half, especially after the introduction of Wilfried Zaha from the bench. Not only have they managed to keep the tricky wide man, Palace will feel more optimistic following the international break with Pardew having had time to work on his team’s attacking play and relationships between key players.
Both sides have had low scoring games of late and another tight encounter should be expected here. However, whilst Palace are winless this season they haven’t played terribly either. Furthermore, they’ve won four of their five away matches against promoted teams under Pardew and we’re backing them to continue that fine record and collect their third win of 2016, with Palace/Under 2.5 goals at 6.5.
Additionally, with a fantastic minutes-per-goal ratio at both Aston Villa and Liverpool, new signing Christian Benteke looks a decent shout as the first goalscorer at a price of 8.0.