The late kick-off in the Sky Bet Championship sees two promotion hopefuls face-off. Tom Carnduff has a strong fancy at just upwards of 3/1 as part of three best bets.
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Middlesbrough v Aston Villa (Riverside, 1730 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event)
Two sides who hold promotion aspirations meet in the late kick-off as Middlesbrough will be looking to keep out an Aston Villa side who have scored 12 goals in their last three games.
Villa are seemingly embracing the attacking philosophy brought to the club by Dean Smith, although their defence still needs a little work with seven goals conceded in the past seven days including five in that remarkable draw with Nottingham Forest.
It should be an intriguing clash here given the differing styles of play. Middlesbrough seemed happy to allow Derby to attack them when they met recently - although they would have lost had it not been for a freak own goal - and may again look to soak up pressure.
You'd ideally like to see a title-chasing Boro side aiming to be on the front foot at home, but they will know the quality of this Villa attack and may have to look to break forward and capitalise on chances when they are presented.
A starting point would be to analyse the card market with Andy Davies expected to dish out a few yellows.
Davies' last two Championship games has seen a total of nine shown, although both sides don't exactly sit at the top-end of the disciplinary charts so we shouldn't expect a card-crazy encounter.
I would still hope for around four or five to be shown though, such is the nature of a clash between two talented sides.
Jonathan Kodjia sits high up in the charts for fouls committed by Villa players this season, behind only John McGinn and Jack Grealish, and he has already two yellows to his name.
At 5/1 - anything upwards of 3/1, in fact - he looks a solid bet to catch the referee's attention and get his name in the book.
Games at the Riverside against Derby, Rotherham, Nottingham Forest, Swansea, Bolton and West Brom all saw the hosts take eight or more corners and that's another strong line of attack.
They're a side who play to their strengths, especially at set-pieces, and I'd expect a high home corner tally here too with around the 3/1 mark quoted about eight or more.
The expected corner count should also mean that the centre-backs in Daniel Ayala and Aden Flint will have opportunities to find the net, and the 21/2 available on the latter scoring catches my attention.
His strength in the opposition penalty area is highlighted by the fact he has had 26 shots on goal this season. That's the fourth-highest in this Middlesbrough squad, more than the likes of Jordan Hugill, Jonny Howson and Muhamed Besic.
The defender may only have one goal on his tally so far this season, but 20 in his last three campaigns confirm that he shouldn't be long in doubling it.
Score prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
- Middlesbrough and Aston Villa haven’t met since last season’s Championship play-offs – Villa won 1-0 on aggregate via a 1-0 away win at the Riverside Stadium.
- In all competitions, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough met five times last season – Villa kept four clean sheets in those games (W2 D2 L1).
- In all competitions, Tony Pulis has collected just one win in his last seven matches against Aston Villa (D2 L4).
- Dean Smith has never beaten Middlesbrough as a manager in four meetings in all competitions (D2 L2) – he’s faced a different manager each time (Mowbray, Karanka, Monk, Pulis).
- Jonny Howson’s four assists have earned Middlesbrough seven points in the Championship this season – only Matt Phillips’ (eight points from five assists) has earned his side more.
- Aston Villa have recovered 14 points from trailing positions in this season’s Championship, the most in the division.