Middlesbrough vs Burton Albion
Date: August 15th, 2017
Kickoff: 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: The Riverside Stadium
Middlesbrough host Burton Albion on Tuesday night and will be looking for their second home win of the season. Monk’s men got their first points of the season on Saturday beating Sheffield United 1-0 and will be hoping to continue that form into the Burton game.
Burton, on the other hand, has yet to pick up any points this season and will be hoping to take at least a point from Championship favourites, Boro.
Middlesbrough will be going into this clash heavy favourites. Their new look squad looks to be finally gelling together after an impressive display last Saturday.
Boro’s front three looks to be extremely dangerous. Assombalonga, Gestede and Bamford took on interchanging roles up front and it caused United huge problems. Assombalonga looked very sharp chasing everything down, while Bamford dropped the deepest of the three playing as a make shift CAM. This set up seems to be working for Boro as that is exactly how they scored on Saturday with Bamford playing an over-the-top ball to Gestede who headed in what was his first of the season.
Middlesbrough are likely to start with the same front three on Tuesday night and if they do, it will no doubt cause Burton big problems.
One problem Boro do have, however, is their shortage of centre backs. Academy product Dael Fry started against United alongside Ben Gibson on Saturday. This was because Daniel Ayala was out injured. It also meant Middlesbrough did not have a centre back sub on the bench.
Having just three centre backs could be a major problem for Monk and they will be keen to bring in at least one more before the window shuts.
Injury news: Daniel Ayala and Martin Braithwaite missed Saturday’s game against Sheffield United through injuries picked up in training. So, they are likely to miss out when Boro faces Burton as well.
Burton barely survived in the Championship last season finishing in 20th place and they look set for a rough season once again. They are one of only three teams to have not picked up a point in the Championship this season. The other two being Brentford and Barnsley.
The season has started off very badly for Burton. Record signing Liam Boyce picked up a knee injury in pre season and will miss most of the season. Furthermore, they lost 4-1 to Hull City on Saturday. During that defeat, they lost their captain Stephen Warnock to injury in the 5th minute. They also lost Irvine when he was sent off in the 38th minute.
Burton have signed promising young keeper Connor Ripley from Middlesbrough on a season long loan. However, he will be ineligible for the game against Boro.
Injury news: Liam Boyce suffered a knee injury in pre season and is expected to miss most of the campaign. Burton’s captain Stephen Warnock was taken off after five minutes on Saturday with a knee injury and is expected to miss the Boro game.
Head to head
Middlesbrough and Burton have met just two times in the clubs histories. Both sides won a game each.
The first meeting between the two sides was in January 2011 in the FA Cup. Burton won 2-1 that day.
The last time the two sides met was in August 2015 in the League Cup. Boro won 2-1 with Cristhian Stuani scoring both of Boro’s goals.
Burton has never played at the Riverside so Tuesday’s game will be the first time.
Middlesbrough XI: Randolph, Christie, Gibson, Fry, Friend, Clayton, Howson, Baker, Bamford, Assombalonga, Gestede
Burton XI: Bywater, Naylor, McFadzean, Buxton, Lund, Murphy, Akpan, Mousinho, Dyer, Akins, Sordell
Burton: L L
Middlesbrough: L W
This game should be a relatively easy win for Middlesbrough. Burton is not the strongest team, to begin with. Combined that with the fact their record signing is out injured, their captain is likely to miss the game and they have a player suspended, things do not look good for the Brewers.
Middlesbrough do have big players in Braithwaite and Ayala missing. But their squad depth means their respective replacements, (Fry and Gestede), are still quality players. So, if Middlesbrough put in a similar performance to the one they did against United they should easily see off Burton.
Final score prediction: 2-0 Middlesbrough