Burnley v Middlesbrough

Alvaro Negredo celebrates a Middlesbrough goal



Alvaro Negredo has been on fire for Middlesbrough of late – he’s been involved in five of Boro’s last eight league goals

TEAM NEWS

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has no new injuries to contend with ahead of Middlesbrough’s visit.

But the Clarets will be without Matt Lowton, who is banned after accumulating five yellow cards.

Middlesbrough winger Viktor Fischer will miss the festive period after suffering a knee injury in the win against Swansea.

Gaston Ramirez will be monitored after making his comeback from a foot injury against the Swans.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Alistair Mann: “It’s by no means a local derby, yet the meeting of Burnley and Middlesbrough has evolved to become a highly competitive duel.

“Stoked up by off-field comments and budgetary comparisons, the two have now become unlikely adversaries with their many recent meetings in the Championship pivotal, as each has sought to scupper the other’s quest for promotion.

“Having both achieved that aim in May, they’re now acutely aware of the importance of beating each other, in their battle to remain among the game’s elite.

“It’s not simply an attempt to avoid the Boxing Day sales which has prompted both sets of supporters to sell out their tickets.”

Twitter: @alistairmann01

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “Our home form is strong enough to be recognised throughout the league, and for a small club like ourselves, that’s fantastic. It’s important we continue our performances and the strength we’ve shown.”

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka: “I expect a very tough game at Burnley. Sixteen of their 17 points came at home and they are a direct rival in the league table.

“Every single team has to take advantage of their strengths and Burnley are an example of that.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

The Clarets are rarely beaten at Turf Moor, but they might struggle to open Aitor Karanka’s side up.

I’m going for a draw, which would be a better result for Boro than it would be for Burnley, who are relying on their home form to keep them out of trouble.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v You Me At Six singer Josh Franceschi

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
Burnley's home record<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • This is the first Premier League fixture between the sides, who last met in the top flight 40 years ago.
  • Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last six league meetings with Burnley (W4, D2).

Burnley

  • Burnley have lost five of their last six Premier League matches.
  • But they have won three of their last four at home.
  • Sixteen of Burnley’s 17 points have come at home – the highest proportion (94%) of any side in the top four divisions.
  • The Clarets have lost their last three Boxing Day games without scoring. One of those was against Boro in 2013.
  • They have also failed to score in eight top-flight games this season, a total matched only by Hull City.

Middlesbrough

  • Middlesbrough have lost two of their last three games but they did beat Swansea last time out.
  • Boro have gone seven away games in the Premier League without a win (D5, L2).
  • They have won their last five Boxing Day matches without conceding a single goal.
  • However, they have not won any of their last 12 top-flight away matches (D5, L7) on Boxing Day, a run that stretches back to a 3-2 victory at Newcastle United in 1953.
  • Alvaro Negredo has been involved in five of Middlesbrough’s last eight Premier League goals (four goals and one assist).

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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