Matchday 4 of the Premier League will have Middlesbrough take on Crystal Palace at the Riverside Stadium. Aitor Karanka’s men have made an instant impact in the top flight with 7 points from a possible 9 so far and have momentum on their side. Palace, on the other hand, could muster only a single point so far having lost two their first three games. Palace have done some good business on the deadline day showing some real ambition and after managing to get the only billionaire player in Mathieu Flamini on their team, they have now some much needed experience in the midfield.
Middlesbrough has a fully fit squad at the moment with the only exception of Grant Leadbitter who is out until December with a groin injury. Aitor Karanka’s men are fully fit and raring to go on their next mission. With momentum and home advantage on their side, they are the favourites for the tie.
Alan Pardew does have some concerns regarding the fitness of some key players before the match. Yohan Cabaye is a doubt for the tie after withdrawing from international duties due to a groin strain. Striker Frazier Campbell is also out with a hamstring injury. James McArthur, who also pulled out of his international duties to focus on his rehabilitation from the injury suffered in the preseason remains a doubt for the tie against Boro.
The Eagles now have Christian Benteke to lead their line and Loic Remy on the bench as a cover but the Frenchman on loan from Chelsea has had an unfortunate knock during training which will keep him from playing any part at the Riverside stadium. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is back to full fitness and available for selection but the quartet of Appiah, Sako, Flamini and Tomkins are all doubtful for not being match fit.
It’s a bit unusual for these two sides to meet in the Premier League, their last meeting was in the Championship in 2012/13 season. Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last four meetings at home against the Eagles, with the last game on the Riverside played on August 2012 ending in a 2-0 victory for the home side.
Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Valdes, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, De Roon, Clayton, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Mandanda, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Ledley, Zaha, McArthur, Puncheon, Townsend, Benteke.