Bournemouth v Middlesbrough: Team news & predictions
April 21 2017, 13:29
April 21 2017, 13:29
Our match pack for Saturday's Premier League clash between Bournemouth and Middlesbrough includes team news, statistics, manager quotes, odds & our prediction.
The game kicks off at 1500 BST at the Vitality Stadium.
David John says: Defender Steve Cook admitted the 4-0 drubbing Bournemouth suffered at Tottenham last weekend was their most difficult game of the season and the key will be to move on quickly.
That chance is available to them back at the Vitality Stadium and they are odds-on favourites for a valuable three points that would put a far rosier perspective on the battle for top-flight survival.
Manager Eddie Howe has received plenty of plaudits once again but the nuts and bolts of his side’s form in 2017 is extremely poor indeed with just two victories as they limp towards the end of the campaign.
I have a feeling they will accrue enough points to get the job done with some winnable games on paper coming up and three of them at home also.
That said, I don’t think they are the most tempting betting prospect here at odds-on bearing in mind you have to weigh up how much confidence has been drained from them after being given the runaround by Spurs and previously Chelsea.
Boro aren’t in that league and their own outlook must be at a pretty low point too after another spirited effort came to nothing at home to Arsenal on Monday night.
Inerim boss Steve Agnew is trying to keep spirits up but it is still not happening for the Teessiders in front of goal - Alvaro Negredo took his chance well to get his team level against the Gunners but there was no further progress despite some concerted late pressure on the visitors’ penalty area.
Six games mean there is still time to rescue the situation but I am still not quite sure whether Agnew knows what sort of tactics to deploy – play it cagey or throw on the forwards in an attempt to take a game by the scruff of the neck.
They have not managed a win away from the Riverside since the first day of the season either and although the hosts look shaky, they have enough class in the ranks to create a little bit of separation.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Middlesbrough
Bournemouth will make a late call on midfielder Dan Gosling ahead of the Premier League match against Middlesbrough as he recovers from a knee problem.
On-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is out for the season after suffering a fractured leg during last week's defeat at Tottenham, so Lewis Cook could be drafted into the side after coming off the bench at White Hart Lane.
Midfielder Andrew Surman continues his recovery from a knee problem, while forward Callum Wilson, goalkeeper Adam Federici and defender Rhoys Wiggins all continue their recoveries from their own knee injuries.
Calum Chambers is back in contention for Middlesbrough's crucial Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
Loan signing Chambers was ineligible to play against parent club Arsenal on Monday night having been missing with a foot injury since February, but has trained this week and could be involved.
Full-back Fabio (knee) and striker Rudy Gestede (foot) are also hopeful of proving their fitness, but goalkeeper Victor Valdes (ribs) and midfielder Grant Leadbitter (hamstring) are out.
Bournemouth (from): Boruc, A Smith, S Cook, Daniels, Francis, Pugh, L Cook, Arter, Stanislas, King, Afobe, Allsop, Gradel, Mings, Cargill, Fraser, Mousset, Gosling.
Middlesbrough (from): Guzan, Konstantopoulos, Barragan, Friend, Fabio, Chambers, Gibson, Espinosa, Ayala, Husband, Fry, De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw, Guedioura, Downing, Stuani, Traore, Fischer, Ramirez, Negredo, Gestede, Bamford.
Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)
On Jack Wilshere overcoming latest injury setback: "He is naturally down and dissapointed he is going to miss the rest of the season, but he is a positive guy and will come back from this, I have no doubt.
"His loan spell for us has been hugely beneficial, and hopefully Jack would feel the same way. I am not going to speak for him, but thoughts are that he made a huge contribution for us on the pitch and also off the pitch, which obviously no one else will see."
When pressed on whether he would like to see Wilshere back at the club again next season: "I dont want to disrespect Arsenal in any way, because he is there player and we are very grateful for the loan.
"I have spoken many times about my thoughts on the player, for the person - we love him to bits, but the future is unknown and obviously he is an Arsenal player now."
Asked if the price tag for a permanent move for the midfielder, who still has one more season to run on his current contract with the Gunners, would rule Bournemouth out of contention, Howe replied: "All I would say in football is, lets wait and see."
On expecting a response following successive defeats by title-chasers Chelsea and Tottenham: "I am not going to say that one win will make us safe, but we are very motivated to win this game.
"We were on a really good run before playing the top two. We knew how hard this run was going to be, but we have come out mainly unscathed after it.
"Both teams are desperate to win, it should make it a really good spectacle, but hopefully one we can excel in."
Steve Agnew (Middlesbrough)
On striker Rudy Gestede: "We'd love Rudy to score - we'd love any one of the players to score the winning goal for us on Saturday.
"Rudy has been really good from day one, he's a top professional. He works ever so hard every day, he's always asking for extra work on whatever part of his game he needs to improve on. Rudy is fully focused, like the rest of the players."
On the Boro run-in: "They have all been big weeks over this period, so of course it is big week and of course it's a massive game. But you have to enjoy it and that's the only way I know, that's what the players and staff know.
"They are all relishing the game on Saturday. You do need wins and that's what we have missed, and that's what we need from now on in.
"Yes, you need to be hard to beat and continue to be difficult to beat, but equally you need a goal to take the three points we need."
The Cherries have never lost a home league match to Middlesbrough in any tier (W2 D4), keeping three clean sheets in the process.
Bournemouth are one of two sides Middlesbrough could win both Premier League games against this season – the other being Sunderland.
Rudy Gestede’s only Premier League win as a player came against Bournemouth, netting the winner for Tim Sherwood’s Villa in August 2015 (W1 D13 L32).
Boro scored twice in their last Premier League away match, more than in their previous eight on the road combined (1).
Bournemouth have let in 2+ goals in seven of their last eight home Premier League games, keeping one clean sheet against Swansea.
Steve Cook is the only Bournemouth player to play every minute of this campaign (2970), while Ben Gibson has also done this for Boro.
Middlesbrough have won just one of their last 29 top-flight away games, beating Sunderland in August (D8 L20).
Indeed, Boro have scored just twice in their last six Premier League games on the road, both at Hull last time out.
The Cherries have conceded 32 goals since the turn of the year, at least six more than any other Premier League side.
Bournemouth have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League games at the Vitality Stadium, conceding at least two goals in the other seven games (17 in total).
Bournemouth are 5/6 favourites with Sky Bet to beat relegation threatened Middlesbrough, who are 16/5 outsiders, while a draw is at 5/2. Middlesbrough look destined to go down to the Sky Bet Championship and are now 100/30 to finish rock bottom of the Premier League. The hosts’ Joshua King is favourite to score first at 9/2 and for Middlesbrough, who have struggled for goals this season, Spaniard Alvaro Negredo is rated as most likely to net first at 13/2 while a Negredo brace is 12/1.
A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed.
Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.
Our betting preview of the final day of the Premier League season includes tips, statistics and scoreline predictions.