“It might be a good time for Middlesbrough to make the short journey up the A19. The impending sale of Younes Kaboul to Watford followed a much-needed summer clear-out but, with numerous injuries, David Moyes’ squad looks threadbare.
“Then there’s Sunderland’s unwelcome habit of making poor starts. If Bob Geldof didn’t like Mondays then the Black Cats must loathe August. Their last league win in the month came six years ago, a run of 15 games overall.
“I fancy a score-draw but if there are to be winners they will certainly want to claim the title of top-dogs in the north-east, while the losers will take solace from looking at the Championship table.”
Sunderland manager David Moyes on unsettled defender Lamine Kone: “He’s got a four-year contract, he’s six months into it, so there’s no real panic.
“He’s a good boy, I have enjoyed working with him the time that I’ve been here, so we hope that he does [stay].
“Obviously, we have got an offer from Everton, and he knows that as well. We gave him the offer [of a new contract] and he didn’t really want the offer.”
Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka: “Last week was good because some players showed they are better than I thought.
“It was a pleasant surprise as I knew how good they are and were in the past, and working since the beginning of pre-season has been good.
“It’s a derby, but it’s three points for us, and we don’t have a lot of experience in these games.”
Promoted clubs always need to have goals in their side to have a chance of staying up, so it was a positive that Middlesbrough created plenty of chances against Stoke.
Alvaro Negredo got Boro’s goal in their draw against the Potters and they are another team I think will improve as their new signings settle in. They might have to wait for their first top-flight win of the season though.
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It is more than 10 years since Middlesbrough’s last Premier League win against Sunderland. They won 3-0 at the Stadium of Light in January 2006 through goals from Emanuel Pogatetz, Stuart Parnaby and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.
Boro won the most recent encounter – a League Cup game on Wearside in 2012 in which Scott McDonald scored the only goal.
The Black Cats are winless in their last 15 Premier League games in the month of August (D8, L7).
They could claim three consecutive home wins in the Premier League for the first time since February 2012.
Since Jermain Defoe made his league debut for Sunderland on 17 January 2015, he has scored 20 Premier League goals – no other Sunderland player has more than five league goals in this period.
Defoe has scored in six of his last 10 Premier League appearances.
David Moyes has lost just twice to Middlesbrough as a manager in the Premier League (W7, D5).
Boro are unbeaten in their previous 11 league games, drawing the last five.
Their last Premier League away win came against Aston Villa in November 2008.
They are winless in their subsequent 13 top-flight games on the road.
Alvaro Negredo will be looking to become the first Middlesbrough player to score in back-to-back Premier League games since Afonso Alves in October 2008.
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