FOOTBALL LEAGUE fanatic Ryan Wilson (@ryanjameswillo) shares his verdict on Friday night’s live Championship fixture between Middlesbrough and West Brom.
Middlesbrough v West Brom | Friday 24th August 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Friday’s live Championship encounter takes us up to the Riverside Stadium, where unbeaten Middlesbrough are up against free-flowing West Bromwich Albion.
Boro have looked solid if unspectacular in the new campaign under notoriously rigid boss Tony Pulis, but the challenge of the Baggies could end a run of three league clean sheets.
Big Darren Moore’s side fired a magnificent seven past Queens Park Rangers at the Hawthorns last weekend with ultra-attacking alumni Jay Rodriguez, Dwight Gayle and Matt Phillips all finding the net and Leicester loanee Harvey Barnes at his very best in the creative department.
The Midlands outfit were very difficult to judge coming into the new campaign and a 2-1 home loss to relegation candidates Bolton on the opening day didn’t do them any favours.
Since then, the Baggies have banged in 12 goals in three games, conceding five and taking seven points from a possible nine. All four contests have seen both teams score, including an exhilarating 4-3 win at defence-minded Norwich.
In contrast, Middlesbrough have shut out Bristol City, Birmingham and Sheffield United after their last gasp 2-2 draw with Millwall on the opening day. Under the former WBA boss, the hosts saw both teams score in 11 of 21 fixtures (52%) last term and I expect the Reds to regress after selling Ben Gibson and replacing him with susceptible brute Aden Flint.
Boro have found the net in each of their last 10 home league matches, while the away side have scored in nine of their 10 contests under Darren Moore’s stewardship. Both sides have in-form forwards in Martin Braithwaite, Britt Assombalonga, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle possessing a serious threat to the opposition.
The visitors are firing 14.5 shots on goal per-game on average at present, the third best total in the Championship, while conceding 14.3 on average, the fourth highest tally.
Boro are only one place behind West Brom in shots conceded with 13.5 per game and I expect both nets to bulge on Friday night. Take the 5/6 (Marathon) for both teams to score.
Middlesbrough v West Brom – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Marathon)