Middlesbrough will travel to London Stadium to face a beleaguered West Ham United who are languishing near the bottom of the table in the 18th spot. Boro themselves have tailed off to an extent having started the season brightly and are currently in the 16th position having acquired 5 points from 6 games. The two clubs had contrasting objectives at the start of the season but after 6 games, Middlesbrough find them above the Hammers, albeit narrowly.
West Ham had high ambitions for the season, with the club moving into a new stadium and boasting of finances which pointed towards the club’s desire to challenge for the Top 6 at the very least. But things have failed to materialise with the club facing repeated hurdles in their ambitious quest.
Middlesbrough, on the hand, were considered as one of the contenders for the drop but their aggressive transfer window suggested a determined effort from the club to stay in the top-flight. They started off with a draw against Stoke City before beating arch-rivals Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby, which was followed by a draw against West Bromwich Albion. But things haven’t gone according to plan since then as the team is finding it hard to reach the desired level to notch up the 3 points.
They have shown signs of doing exactly that and the fans will hope it is a matter of time before they start winning matches again.
T4O’s PREDICTED MIDDLESBROUGH LINE-UP VS WEST HAM UNITED (4-2-3-1)
Victor Valdes will start in goal and will look to improve on his performances which haven’t really stood out till now. Antonio Barragan will be at right-back and will have to deal with the threat of Dimitri Payet. The central defensive pairing will most likely be of Calum Chambers and Ben Gibson with George Friend expected to line-up at left-back.
Marten De Roon was brought in to shore up the midfield with Leadbitter’s injury record and age casting doubts over his ability to last the whole season. De Roon will team up with Adam Clayton in the double pivot and will look to impress themselves upon the game. Gaston Ramirez is expected to be in the No.10 position and he will look to exploit the jittery West Ham defence.
Stewart Downing has brought balance to the left-wing and his experience will come in handy against the Hammers. Stuani has been getting a run on the opposite flank but Karanka has options in Traore and Fischer as well. Alvaro Negredo will play up front and he will be expected to provide the goals.