West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough

26 Aug

Middlesbrough duo Alvaro Negredo and Cristhian Stuani


Alvaro Negredo assisted both of Cristhian Stuani’s goals for Middlesbrough last weekend

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

TEAM NEWS

West Brom full-back Brendan Galloway will be assessed after suffering a hamstring injury in midweek.

Kane Wilson, 16, came on for Galloway against Northampton and may become the first player born in the 21st century to feature in the Premier League.

Middlesbrough are short of left-backs, with George Friend missing because of a calf problem and Fabio out with a knee injury.

Fit-again defender Daniel Ayala may return to Boro’s starting line-up.

Ayala’s inclusion at centre-back could allow Antonio Barragan to fill in at left-back. Summer signing Bernardo Espinosa may be included in the squad after proving his fitness.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes and midfielder Marten de Roon are ruled out with hamstring injuries.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Steve Bower: “These two managers will have contrasting emotions so far.

“Despite their opening-day win at Crystal Palace, Tony Pulis’ frustration is there for all to see.

“West Brom’s lack of recruitment is top of the list, with a lack of goals not far behind, and his mood won’t have been lifted by their League Cup exit to Northampton.

“Aitor Karanka, despite his own cup disappointment, will be satisfied so far with Middlesbrough’s return to the top flight.

“Their win over Sunderland will heighten belief in their squad that they can add to the Baggies’ recent aggravations at The Hawthorns.”

Twitter: @SteveBowercomm

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

West Brom head coach Tony Pulis: “I’m not going to panic and bring a load of players in to satisfy people out there and then, after two weeks, they say they are no better than what we’ve got.

“They have to be the right players. When I came into the club there were players who were here and have since left and they cost an enormous amount of money and the club has not got any return.”

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka on striker Alvaro Negredo: “I knew when we recovered his head and his confidence he’d be back.

“He’s playing really well and working for the team.

“I see him every day and his face and body language tell me he’s enjoying it.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Middlesbrough have got four points from their first two games and look solid defensively but I still expect West Brom to find a way through.

The Baggies are looking to do some business before the transfer window shuts because I think Tony Pulis knows he has to strengthen, but their set-piece strength should see them through on Sunday.

Prediction: 2-0

Saido Berahino<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • West Brom are unbeaten in their last six league and cup games against Middlesbrough (D2, W4).
  • They have won the last four encounters, scoring 11 unanswered goals.
  • Boro’s last win against the Baggies was a 2-0 victory at the Hawthorns in February 2006, when Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink scored both goals.

West Bromwich Albion

  • The Baggies have only picked up one point from their last five leagues matches at The Hawthorns.
  • They have won one of their last 12 games in all competitions.
  • West Bromwich Albion have scored 55 goals in 58 Premier League matches under Tony Pulis (0.95 per game).
  • Saido Berahino has just one goal and no assists in his last 26 Premier League appearances.

Middlesbrough

  • After victory at Sunderland, Boro have the chance to win back-to-back away games in the Premier League for the first time since 2006.
  • Coincidentally, those wins came against Sunderland and then West Brom.
  • Boro have completed 634 passes in this season’s Premier League – twice as many as West Brom (317).
  • Alvaro Negredo has been involved in all three of Middlesbrough’s Premier League goals this season (one goal, two assists).

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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