WILLIE DUNCAN (@Willie_Duncan) runs the rule over Super Sunday’s Premier League contest between Middlesbrough and Watford at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough v Watford | Sunday 13.30 | Sky Sports 1
To paraphrase the Boomtown Rats, Watford don’t like Sundays.
The men from Vicarage Road will fulfil only their fourth Sunday away fixture in Premier League history when they make the long trip north to face Middlesbrough this weekend.
Walter Mazzarri’s men have been beaten in each of their previous three top-flight tussles on the road on a Sunday, shipping 10 goals in the process; indeed, Watford are still waiting for the opportunity to celebrate a Sunday goal away from home in the Premier League.
Will it be fourth time lucky for the Hornets this weekend? It could well be, for Middlesbrough’s return to the top tier of English football after a seven year absence, while not entirely miserable, has not been filled with joy so far.
Boro have enjoyed just one league win thus far this season – on a Sunday – when they got the better of Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby.
Aitor Karanka, though, will be frustrated that the victory against the Black Cats did not provide a platform for success; indeed, the derby-day win against David Moyes’ men was the only win that Boro have recorded in their last 12 competitive outings, while the team from Teesside have failed to win any of their last five competitive fixtures at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough’s tally of just six points from seven Premier League games is pretty paltry and, having been beaten in three of their last four games, Boro fans must be fearing that their stay in the top tier will be a short one.
It’s not through a lack of opportunity, though, that Middlesbrough have failed to make their mark; no side in the Premier League has relinquished more points – seven – from a winning position than Karanka’s charges thus far, and Boro’s record of one clean sheet from their last 10 is a clear indicator of where the problem lies.
Watford are certainly capable of exploiting another dodgy defensive display from the hosts, for the Hornets have hit nine goals in their last four Premier League games, while striker Troy Deeney has notched four goals in his last four appearances against Middlesbrough.
That particular selection would have seen punters pile up profit in five of Watford’s last six league games and, at odds against, the selection offers superb value once again this weekend.
Middlesbrough v Watford – Over 2.5 Goals (14/11 Marathon)