Burnley VS Middlesbrough Prediction
Except all football matches of most Premier League favourites, Boxing Day charms with a real relegation battle at the “Turf Moor” in Burnley, where Middlesbrough arrives after a massive 3-0 win against Swansea City. Hosts from Burnley return at home after two outings in mid-December, but situation of “The Clarets” has worsened and Sean Dyche’s men have lost in five of their last six EPL games. And although both clubs will celebrate the Christmas eve away from the relegation zone, we can easily describe their encounter as a fierce battle between sides with aspirations to retain their Premier League positions. Indeed, Burnley and Middlesbrough are respectively the champions and vice-champions of the 2015-16 English Football League Championship season, making them two of the newly promoted Premier League teams.
Burnley vs Middlesbrough – Team News and Match Preview
Only eight months ago Burnley and Middlesbrough have met once again at the “Turf Moor”, where “Boro” took the lead after a goal by Jordan Rhodes in 70th minute, but Burnley’s centre-back Michael Keane found Middlesbrough’s net and he leveled the score in stoppage time of the game.
This time Burnley and “Boro” are set for a duel on highest possible level and it comes on Boxing Day 2016, when all looks will be focused on the English Premier League afternoon, as the only major football league which doesn’t have a winter break. Not at all, even more, that’s probably period with highest workload throughout entire EPL season, especially for clubs which are not involved in any UEFA competition.
Burnley remains without a league win over Middlesbrough in their last six matches (2 draws and 4 wins for “Boro”), but “The Clarets” have knocked them out from the FA Cup in first days of 2016 – 1-2 win at the “Riverside Stadium” on 9 January. This actually makes their first EPL meeting for more than four decades also their third during calendar 2016.
It is pretty obvious Burnley can draw out some additional motivation for that game and Sean Dyche can rely on home advantage. It’s no secret that Burnley is doing much better at home and “Clarets” have won 16 of their overall 17 points on home turf.
Sean Dyche has another real challenge and this time he’s even more dedicated to save Burnley’s Premier League status after their promotion, but if the 45-year-old English boss wants this to happen, Burnley must start winning more on the road. Furthermore, “The Clarets” are worst away team in the league after they have won just a point out of 8 visits, scoring only two goals in them. Nevertheless, situation at home is completely different and since Burnley is on the eve of another match at its “Turf Moor”, Sean Dyche can benefit from that record and he need to improve morale of the squad, despite all losses in last few weeks.
Burnley is second by another negative indicator, where only last-placed Hull City finds itself in worse form. That’s right, Hull City have won only two points in last 6 EPL rounds, while Burnley is with one more – three points from a 3-2 success against AFC Bournemouth in their last home fixture. However, we must highlight that only two from these last six games were at home and apart from aforementioned victory against Bournemouth, other home match for Burnley was against Manchester City (1-2).
Middlesbrough heads to Lancashire after an inspiring 3-0 win against Swansea, which was their second victory in December. And if we consider “Boro” have won 4 times in the 2016-17 Premier League campaign, this makes last month of 2016 a really successful one for Aitor Karanka’s men.
Middlesbrough will be keen to use momentum gained after club’s first win with 3 or more goals since…. a remarkable 8-1 vs Manchester City in May 2008. Fact that Middlesbrough lost in only two out of eight visits this season should be mentioned, but we must also note that “Boro” have won just one of them, meaning most away matches for club from North Yorkshire are draws – five.
Last away game of Middlesbrough was two weeks ago when Southampton achieved a narrow success, thus ending Boro’s unbeaten form based on four draws out of the “Riverside Stadium”. In that term we can find decent results like a goalless draw vs Arsenal, 1-1 vs Manchester City and West Ham United. Last of these draws was a 2-2 in clash against reigning champions Leicester City, where Alvaro Negredo scored twice for “The Boro’, but a very late equalizer from Islam Slimani (scored second penalty for The Foxes in that game) has been crucial for final score in Leicester.
Burnley vs Middlesbrough – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
We will not lie if we make a conclusion Burnley can be relatively pleased with its festive period schedule and if Sean Dyche’s men accomplish plan maximum, they will be able to breathe calmly for a while. Presently Burnley holds 16th position and “Clarets” have three points over Sunderland (18th), also being with just one point less from Middlesbrough, who are 14th. Basically current Premier League standings involves teams from 10th to 20th position in space of just 9 points, so this makes 10th placed Bournemouth on 9 points ahead Hull City, which is not so convincing leadership when there are 21 rounds remaining…. A good reason why Burnley should be pleased by its schedule and upcoming two home games, when after match against Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, another struggling side in Sunderland’s face will visit the “Turf Moor” on 31 December. So plan maximum definitely means six points from both games, but even four can be acceptable. Not to mention how delightful it would be if Burnley finds an appropriate approach and gets these six points, but also squeezes out something by its first match next year – visit at the “Etihad Stadium” for a game vs Manchester City on 2 Janaury 2017.
Regular right defender Matthew Lowton will serve his one-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham, which could open space for Jon Flanagan from the outset. Other players who may be reintroduced into Burnley’s starting XI are of midfielder Steven Defour and striker Sam Vokes, most likely at the expense of Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray.
Good news for Sean Dyche are related with name of its Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who looks ready to return in Burnley’s group, but it might be early for him to get in the starting lineup. Anyway, his presence adds more attacking strength and Gudmundsson can really be a decent option.
Meanwhile, after a historically solid win over Swansea City, Middlesbrough will be high on confidence. Aitor Karanka’s men are now four points clear of the bottom three and at the same time on just three points off the top half of the table. Unfortunately, they cannot be that content from their schedule and victory against Swansea was also their last home match this year. Now Middlesbrough must prepare for an outing at “Old Trafford” few days after visiting Burnley, which will be quite a defiance about Boro’s ability.
Aitor Karanka may use same squad as in the last round when he had George Friend and Gaston Ramirez both back in the team. However, rotation may be necessarily and this can be influenced by injury of Danish winger Viktor Fischer, who has been forced out and respectively substituted by Stewart Downing after only 12 minutes on the pitch.
Final conclusion, Betting Odds and Prediction
Without much hesitation we can state Burnley is a perfect example of a battleworthy home team and “Clarets” can confidently rely to their home soil advantage, and playing in front of excellent atmosphere, on a typical British stadium.
Aitor Karanka has shown he know how to avoid losing, but now his team must do something more and Middlesbrough will be in much different position. Probably that’s the reason why bookies have given slight advantage to “The Boro”, but in our opinion value is on the home side and we find decent odds in betting on Burnley. But backing them with an Asian Handicap 0 (Draw No Bet) on their side – Burnley have won in three of their last four home matches and these type of games are most reliable source of points for them.
Venue: “Turf Moor”, Burnley.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Possible starting lineups of Burnley and Middlesbrough
Burnley FC: Tom Heaton – Stephen Ward, Ben Mee, Michael Keane, Jon Flanagan – Scott Arfield, Steven Defour, Dean Marney, George Boyd – Jeff Hendrick – Sam Vokes. (4-4-1-1)
Middlesbrough FC: Victor Valdes – George Friend, Ben Gibson, Calum Chambers, Antonio Barragán – Marten de Roon, Adam Clayton, Adam Forshaw – Gaston Ramirez, Adama Traore, Alvaro Negredo. (4-3-3)