WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) returns to the Super Sunday dugout. Here he previews West Brom’s first Premier League date with Middlesbrough at the Hawthorns since 2009.
West Brom v Middlesbrough | Sunday 13:30 | Sky Sports 1
Middlesbrough have landed on all fours on their return to the Premier League. An opening day draw with a well-established top-flight club in the shape of Stoke was followed up with a 2-1 away win in the Wear-Tees derby.
Aitor Karanka has been a breath of fresh air ever since joining Middlesbrough in 2013. The bedrock of his success has been a strong defence but it’s obvious that he understands that alone is not enough in the Premier League.
Two games in and no clean sheet for the Boro but that hasn’t mattered thanks to the instant impact of star signing Alvaro Negredo. Boro have strength in depth now in their attacking ranks with Christian Stuani, David Nugent and Jordan Rhodes as the supporting cast.
West Brom continue to linger in the bottom half of the Premier League. Their tough approach spearheaded by Tony Pulis keeps them competitive despite their low technical ability.
I fancy them for the drop but there’s one player at the Hawthorns that could single-handedly save them this season and that’s Salomon Rondon.
The big Venezuelan has scored consistently in Spain, Russia and now England. Still just 26 he could perhaps be hitting his prime and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bag 15 this season.
The Baggies style of football wins them no fans but unfortunately it’s mightily effective. Last season they registered four 1-0 away wins and they’ve already added to that this campaign with the success at Selhurst Park.
At home though they are less comfortable. Many fans hate the way they approach matches and the type of player that the management team have brought to the club.
This puts the players under pressure from the home supporters to play a type of football they aren’t good at. Last weekend they lost 2-1 to Everton with just 34% of possession making it no win in five home outings.
A tie with Boro then could be the wrong kind of game for West Brom. Both sides are good defensively but the Teessiders certainly have a more well-rounded team.
West Brom lost more games at home (eight) than they did on their travels last season (seven) so I’m getting with the visitors on the 0 Asian Handicap at 7/6 with BetVictor. Essentially the Draw No Bet market.
Seven of Salomon Rondon’s nine goals in the Premier League were the first goal of the game last season and more importantly he’s in form; scoring the first goal in six of West Brom’s last 15 Premier League games.
That makes the industry best price of 28/5 from Marathonbet on the Venezuelan a strong bet.
West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough – Middlesbrough +0 Asian Handicap (7/6 BetVictor)
West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough – Jose Salomon Rondon to score first (28/5 Marathonbet)