Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Riverside Stadium in a bid to extend their good run and strengthen their credentials as the team to beat in England this season. Unbeaten in the league so far, the club currently sits in the third spot courtesy of 3 wins and 2 draws, they’re above their cross town arch rivals Arsenal and will be keen to impress against a side which has failed to win at home in their 5 outings so far. Middlesbrough, on the other hand, have played some beautiful football during their time on the pitch, but have very little to show for it as they seem destined for a relegation threatened season.
The Aitor Karanka led side does not have any injury concerns going into the game and is not expected to ring a number of changes from the side that faced Everton last week, with only Nsue Lopez expected to make way for Christhian Stuani, their hero from the game against Sunderland in August.
Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo
The injury to their star striker Harry Kane has left Mauricio Pochettino with no option but to depend on their summer recruit Vincent Janssen for the away tie. The side could also be without the services of Rose, who is expected to be rested for the game owing to a hamstring injury. With the likes of Dembele and Dier still nursing niggles, it remains to be seen if Pochettino will be willing to risk his key players for the short term benefit of his side.
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Lamela; Janssen
The Uruguayan played a crucial role in Middlesbrough’s promotion to the English top flight and remains his side’s creative lynchpin in the current season. However, if his performances in the season so far are any indication of what is to come, the player’s tendencies to blow hot and cold during the games seem to be resurfacing and the management at the club will be hoping he can make a fresh beginning in the game against the Spurs.
The silky attacking midfielder has been amongst his side’s creative lynchpin, having created 7 goal scoring opportunities this season and has been a constant threat to the opposition with his creative instincts and will need to put in a good performance to ensure his side can eke out a positive result against the high flying North London club.
While he has demonstrated an ability to break tight defences in the past, the pairing of Alderweireld and Vertonghen have been a tough unit to break and will present him with a great challenge.
The days when he was deemed as a waste of money are behind him, especially with him continuing with his good work of last season with creative displays in the final third of the pitch. He has been his side’s most creative player, having created a chance every 30 minutes during his time on the pitch so far.
His ability to create space for himself as well as his teammates in critical areas on the pitch would come in handy against the Boro side which has already shipped 7 goals and could prove to be disastrous for Aranka’s men should they afford him time and space to operate into.
With their main man Kane injured and Janssen still finding his feet in a new country, Lamela will be deprived of the quality up front in the game against Boro. However, he does possess the ability to find the back of the net when presented with an opportunity and would do well to convert any chances that come his way to ensure his side’s glorious run continues.
- The two sides have met on 82 occasions in the past, with Middlesbrough holding the upper hand in the fixture with 33 wins compared to Spurs’ 28 victories. Boro have also won the higher number of games at home against their North London rivals, with 23 wins in 40 outings.
- Tottenham currently have the best defensive record in the Premier League so far, having conceded a mere 2 goals in 5 league games.
While they might not have been able to win at home in their previous three games, Middlesbrough are no pushover and will stretch the Spurs on Saturday. We believe the absence of a proven striker in the line-up could cost the Spurs heavily and expect them to drop points on their trip to the Riverside Stadium. We predict that the game will end in a 1-1 draw.