Middlesbrough will host high-flying Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium as they look to avoid their 3rd consecutive defeat. Aitor Karanka will be eager for his side to chalk up their second win after gaining promotion to the league. They have not been outplayed till now but have failed to click overall as a team which will be a cause for concern.
Whereas, Tottenham Hotspur are yet to lose a match and have won 3 games while drawing the other two. They were initially slow to get off the blocks but have since then looked threatening and will be a confident lot as they head over to the Riverside Stadium. We take a brief look at the key battles which will have a bearing on the outcome at the end of the 90 minutes.
Middlesbrough pair Cristian Stuani and Jordan Rhodes are available to face Tottenham after overcoming respective groin and knee injuries.
Fabio da Silva and Grant Leadbitter remain sidelined.
Harry Kane’s ankle injury will bring an end to his run of 71 consecutive league starts for Tottenham.
Danny Rose has a hamstring strain and may not be risked, while Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier suffered similar injuries last week and will also be assessed.
Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw; Stuani, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-2-3-1)
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen; Janssen
ALVARO NEGREDO– The burly Valencia loanee got off to a good start to the season with a goal in his debut for Boro before providing a couple of assists in the next. But he has tailed off considerably in terms of the end product, even if he has looked likely in the matches thus far. The fans will be hoping their star striker gets amongst the goals as soon as possible as he will be an important part of their survival bid. His partnership with Gaston Ramirez has the potential to upset the Spurs rearguard which might see a couple of injury-induced changes.
ERIC LAMELA– The Argentine has shown a semblance of consistency this season which has cushioned the impact of the slow pace with which the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli started. He has looked lively on the right-wing and will look to nail down a starting spot with pressure from the new signings increasing with every non-descript performance and Lamela will be kept on his toes due to that.