Ronald Koeman’s high-flying Everton will welcome Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough at the Goodison on 17th September 2016 for their Premier League Fixture of game week 5. Everton are unbeaten in the league and with 10 points lie just a place below league leaders Manchester City. Karanka’s men made a nice start but after losing to Crystal Palace in their last game has only 5 points from their 4 games. Despite the points accumulated, Boro sit 9th in the table and there are clear signs of encouragement for their fans with the performance the players from Riverside have been able to offer on the pitch. Everton’s attacking tactics will be tested against Boro which will make this a very interesting tie.
There’s a possibility of Everton’s deadline day signing Enner Valencia making his debut in the match. Koeman will be able to call upon the services of almost all of his main players for the tie. Ross Barkley’s may be axed from the starting line-up following his poor performances so far with the trio of Deulofeu, Mirallas and Bolasie being preferred to support the in-form Romelu Lukaku up front. The trio of McCarthy, Besic and Gibson remain out with Injuries though.
Middlesbrough have a few concerns before the game with their leading scorer Cristian Stuani being doubtful with a groin injury. Jordan Rhodes is also uncertain to play any part in the tie with his knee injury. Boro will miss the likes of Grant Leadbitter, Fabio da Silva and James Husband through injuries as they will remain out of the squad.
Everton’s Gareth Barry will be making his 600th appearance in the Premier League at the weekend. The Englishman will be only the third player to accomplish this extraordinary feat with only Frank Lampard (609) and Ryan Giggs (632) being the other two. Barry has been excellent for the Toffees so far this season and is likely to be the key player on the pitch again with the 35 year old trying to make his grand 600th Premier League outing a memorable one.
For the visitors, Martin De Roon will be the most significant player on the pitch. The defensive midfielder will have his hands full on Saturday as he will try to nullify the threat of Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas from affecting the play in the forward areas. Karanka will be hoping that his summer signing can provide the cover needed to his central defensive pair as De Roon’s performance will have a big effect on the outcome of the game.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Barry; Deulofeu, Mirallas, Bolasie; Lukaku.
Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw; Stuani, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo.
Everton are favourites to win the match with 8/13, while a Middlesbrough win is given at 9/2. A draw is priced at 14/5. (via Sky Bet)