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Stoke V Middlesbrough
Stoke are a team blowing hot and cold this season, Mark Hughes has assembled a very talented bunch of players, that seem to only consistent in being inconsistent. They were dismantled cruelly within 45 minutes at White Hart Lane last Sunday. Having squandered a guilt edge chance at 1-0, it could have been all so different. But Spurs took full control, and the second half was essentially a training match, Stoke showed no desire to want to get back into the game, and Spurs took their foot off the gas knowing the result had already been sealed.
In a better season, Stoke could quite easily have been dragged into a relegation battle, but they’ve managed to beat the teams around them, and keep themselves propped up on 32 points. Having last taken 3 points in their previous home game to Crystal Palace. This weekend playing hosts to relegation candidates Middlesbrough Mark Hughes will be adamant that his team take all 3 points from a team struggling to get goals.
Middlesbrough have only scored 19 goals in their 26 games this season, and haven’t picked up a victory since they beat Swansea at home on the 19th December. Where they are defensively stringent, with only 4 teams conceding less goals in the league, they have also scored the fewest amount of goals in the league. With only 12 games left this season, Karanka may need to abandon some of his defensive philosophies and focus on getting some goals out of his players, as they are very quickly running out of time.
This could be very a tight encounter, but Stoke have the offensive players that could edge the tie, and with home advantage you’d struggle to see past the home team taking all 3 points. It finished 1-1 at the Riverside on the opening day of the season, but it’s hard to see where Boro will get there from at this stage of the season.
Stoke can currently be backed @evens best price with Stan James, you can get the draw is @12/5 with bet365, Bet Fred & Bet Victor and Boro are @10/3 with most but you can get @7/2 with bet365.