Middlesbrough welcome Crystal Palace to the Riverside Stadium as they look to bag their 2nd win of their comeback season in the Premier League. After a long 7-year gap, the Teesiders are back to where they will be hoping to remain for the foreseeable future. Aitor Karanka’s side have got off to an impressive start and will be looking to inflict further damage to Crystal Palace’s dire start to the season. The Eagles have been hit with a new setback after new signing Loic Remy injured his thigh during practice which will add to Alan Pardew’s frustrating start to the season. Although Crystal Palace have established themselves in the Premier League and have the players and the manager to succeed, Middlesbrough will be quietly confident as they welcome Palace to the Riverside Stadium.
We look at 3 key battles which will probably have an impact on the outcome of the game on Saturday.
ALVARO NEGREDO VS SCOTT DANN
Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has started off like he never left. He has slotted in perfectly and looks capable of delivering on what he has been brought in for. He has already opened his account for the season and has added two assists as well. While the new signings will take time to settle, his previous experience seems to be coming handy. But Negredo will be up against Scott Dann, who is incidentally their best bet for a goal as well well as the person expected to keep the shackles on the burly striker.
GEORGE FRIEND VS ANDROS TOWNSEND
Friend is expected to be passed fit for the encounter and will be up against the pace and goal threat of Andros Townsend. Townsend impressed for Newcastle before they got relegated, earning him an immediate Premier League transfer.
His direct goal threat and effectiveness from distance will make the defenders be on their toes so as to give him no space to go through with his shot. With his dribbling abilities to contend with as well, it seems to be a long afternoon for Friend. With a target man like Benteke to work with, Townsend will me more of a threat.
CALUM CHAMBERS VS CHRISTIAN BENTEKE
Calum Chambers will be hoping to earn an immediate start having already played for Arsenal this season. He will look to make the centre back role his own and in that case, will be tasked with keeping Christian Benteke quiet. Benteke hasn’t started firing yet and he will be expected to deliver on his huge price tag. After being on the fringes at Liverpool, the big Belgian will love to shut his critics up.