Middlesbrough v Spurs - Saturday 15:00
Middlesbrough shouldn’t be too perturbed by their defeat against a classy Everton side and remain in a decent position, currently 13th in the table. However, they failed to register a single shot on target against the Toffees, with their goal slightly fortuitous after Negredo headed Stekelenburg’s elbow. Aitor Karanka’s men are yet to score during the second half this season, and will have to rely on the defensive solidarity they displayed last year in order to stay competitive with a tough fixture list over the next couple of months.
Spurs remain unbeaten, though with the exception of thrashing Stoke they haven’t really ignited as yet. In each of their other four matches, Pochettino’s side have scored a solitary goal, a problem exacerbated by Harry Kane’s ankle injury. The striker has formed a habit of starting the season slowly before the goals start to fly in and with two goals in his last three games there was a sense that he was about to get going. This will be the first time since November 2014 that Kane wasn’t in the starting line-up, but Spurs have added depth this season and the coach will most likely turn to summer signing Vincent Janssen, the alternative being the in-form Heung-min Son.
If there is one area in particular that Spurs will look to exploit it will be at left-back, where Middlesbrough’s George Friend has looked susceptible against pace, having already been given a torrid time by Januzaj, Bolasie and Zaha this season. With Tottenham’s press, Middlesbrough will sit deep and look to counter without leaving space on the flanks for their opponents to exploit. Middlesbrough have drawn the first half in 18 of their last 25 matches, and we think Spurs will need to be patient to get their victory and so recommend backing Draw/Spurs half-time/full-time at 5.5.