On this page you find betting tips related to Middlesbrough.
August 24th, 2012 / callum - Category:
Tony Mowbray is now in his second full season in charge of his hometown club and although they challenged for a play-off spot for much of last season, the expectancy levels have increased and it’s safe to assume that their target will be to secure a top six place at the very least this time around. They started the season losing to Barnsley 1-0 before getting the better of Burnley in a five goal thriller. It’s a reversal of their form from last season when they could hardly buy a result at home but were very good on their travels. Mowbray has strengthened his side over the summer including the loan signing of Josh McEachran from Chelsea. He’s very highly rated and Mowbray has been impressed with his recent addition, both against Burnley and in training.
Dougie Freedman enjoyed an excellent first full season in charge last time around with the highlight being the defeat of Manchester United on route to the semi-finals of the League Cup. It was always going to be difficult to hit those heights again this season with the loss of several key players during the summer. Two defeats from their opening two games suggest that it has been difficult to recapture last season’s form just yet. What will be of most concern for Freedman is the amount of goals they have conceded in those two games. Three at home to Watford was followed by a further four on Tuesday against Bristol City. Bearing in mind they had joint fifth best defensive record in the division last term, it’s an issue which they need to rectify should they wish to steer clear of the relegation zone as they are not the most prolific of sides.
Having finished seventh last season – the most disappointing outside of the relegation places – the determination to go one better should be the motivation ‘Boro need. They certainly have more depth to the squad this time around and the younger players such as Jason Steele and Rhys Williams have another year of experience under their belts as established and key players. Having won promotion with West Brom, Mowbray is aware of what it takes to be successful in this division and is forming a side capable of achieving that.
With the loss of Nathaniel Clyne to Southampton, Darren Ambrose to Birmingham and Sean Scannell to Huddersfield, it’s not a massive surprise that Palace have struggled at the beginning of the season. The only addition to the side has been Darren Ramage so they are a little down on both numbers and quality from last season. Freedman will be hoping to add to his side between now and August in order to ensure they are competitive.
‘Boro are many people’s tips to challenge for automatic promotion and it’s not hard to see why. Personally I think there will be a couple of teams too good for them overall but I do fancy them to have a good season and they can double their points tally for the season with a win tomorrow.
Middlesbrough 4/5 @ Ladbrokes
April 16th, 2012 / Armchair Punter - Category:
Tuesday 17th April 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Middlesbrough will be looking to post back-to-back wins when bottom of the league Doncaster Rovers come to the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night to maintain their play-off push.
Boro’s win at Derby County at the weekend was their first taste of success in their last eight matches and stopped the rot along with keeping pace of the top six. The equation is now simple for them; they must win at least two of their last three matches to have a chance of making the play-offs. Looking at their remaining fixtures, they take on Doncaster tonight, then Southampton at home, and last match of the season is away at Watford and I daresay they’d be wanting at the most a point for that trip.
That leaves this match against Doncaster as their must-win match and one they’d fancy getting all three points. Boro’s home record stands at 7-9-5 20/20, and have drawn way too many home matches for their liking which has cost them a play-off position as it currently stands.
Scoring goals has basically been the problem and one of the factors contributing to their high draw ratio. This is put into perspective when you consider that only Nottingham Forest (19 goals) have scored fewer at home in the Championship.
Marvin Emnes (13 goals, 2 assists) is their leading scorer with midfielder Barry Robson (7 goals, 8 assists) providing valuable support along with Scott McDonald (9 goals, 4 assists). One thing in Middlesbrough’s favour though is their tight defence – sixth best defensive record with eight shut-outs.
Visitors Doncaster Rovers would be wishing they had at least a half-decent defensive record as they currently sit bottom of the Championship having conceded a total of 77 goals so far this season. Rovers are having a torrid time of it at the moment and have gained just one point from their last eight matches which means that they now occupy 24th place.
Recent losses to relegation rivals Millwall and Portsmouth have basically been the straws that broke the camel’s back and they are now relegated and facing the prospect of League One football next season.
Their away form has been pretty bad all season with stats of 3-3-15 19/45 and they’ve conceded the most number of goals on the road, keeping just one clean sheet all season. The transfer of leading scorer Billy Sharp (10 goals) to Southampton unsurprisingly proved to be the turning point and the installation of former Wrexham manager, Dean Saunders, wasn’t enough to keep them up.
El-Hadji Diouf (6 goals, 5 assists) is their danger man along with creative midfielder Coppinger (2 goals, 6 assists), but they are very susceptible at the back and will always give the opposition a sniff of a goal.
Middlesbrough have to win this one and if they have that hunger and desire to reach the play-offs, there should be goals on show here tonight given Doncaster’s poor away defensive record as well. I’ll go for a Boro win 2-1.
Main Pick: Over 2.5 @ 1.83 Paddy Power
March 16th, 2012 / Armchair Punter - Category:
Saturday 17th March 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Birmingham City entertain fourth placed Middlesbrough at St Andrews on Saturday afternoon with the home side looking to break a run of four matches without a win and get their play-off campaign back on track.
Birmingham have faltered at a crucial stage but they still have time to rectify their recent lapse in form; losses to east midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Leicester City along with draws against Derby County and Coventry City have hindered Blues’ previous good form and momentum. They will particularly be ruing their draw against Derby as they held a 2-0 lead only to let The Rams back in and gain a point.
Birmingham’s home record stands at 10-7-1 26/10, and whilst they’ve never been prolific scorers of goals, they generally keep things tight at the back and that is reflected by their ten clean sheets on home soil so far this season. This alarming run of form however will be difficult to halt immediately with the visit of a good away side like Middlesbrough – more on them later on.
Just four goals in Birmingham’s last five home matches is also not a good sign as they look to kick-start their play-off run-in. Striker Marlon King looks the most likely to register, and is due to face one of his many former clubs having turned out 13 times for the Boro. Nikola Zigic is likely to partner him up front while new signing Caleb Folan will probably have to settle for a place on the bench.
Fourth placed Middlesbrough will be looking to close the gap on third placed West Ham with a win at Birmingham, but will know they face a tough task of breaking down the midlanders who possess a strong defensive record at St Andrews.
Boro’s away record stands at 9-3-4 24/20, and despite some mixed results recently, they’ve done enough to maintain their position in the top six and look set to be one of the play-off contenders come the end of the season. Recent losses at home to Reading and Leeds United have been off-set by wins over Millwall, Portsmouth and Barnsley, and they appear to not have the consistency required to make the automatic promotion spots.
It’s interesting to see that their last six away matches have all ended in over 2.5 goals with the following results; 3-2 at Cardiff City, 0-3 at Blackpool, 1-3 at Coventry City, 2-2 at Leicester City and then 3-1 wins at Millwall and Portsmouth respectively.
Goals have been predominantly scored by Scott Macdonald and Leroy Lita although these two were missing against Leeds and indeed Macdonald looks as though he’ll miss the rest of the season. Also likely to miss the trip to Birmingham is Boro’s influential midfielder Barry Robson (5 goals, 6 assists) due to being sent off, but Julio Arca is always a dangerous customer.
Birmingham could also leap back into play-off contention with all three points here and indeed displace Boro in fourth spot due to a better goal difference, but I fear this prospect could well play on their minds in front of an increasingly restless St Andrews crowd, and this could end up in a draw. I’ll go for a 1-1 scoreline then, with my main pick being an Under 2.5 result.
Main Pick: Under 2.5 @ 1.67 Paddy Power
Value Pick: Draw @ 3.50 Betfred
September 27th, 2011 / Armchair Punter - Category:
MIDDLESBROUGH v LEICESTER CITY ( Championship )
Wednesday 28th September 2011 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Middlesbrough take on Leicester City at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine games and build on their magnificent start to their Championship campaign.
Boro are lying second to Southampton and their home record stands at 1-3-0 6/4, with their win coming against poor travelling Birmingham City 3-1, but draws versus Portsmouth 2-2, Coventry City 1-1 and Ipswich Town 0-0. Another win tonight could see them top of the table depending on Southampton’s and Tuesday night results.
Manager Tony Mowbray has made a great start with his squad so far, and has striker Marvin Emnes (5 goals) firing, along with Scott McDonald (1 goal, 3 assists), Scottish midfielder Barry Robson (2 goals, 1 assist), along with other important midfielders Joseph Bennett and Nick Bailey (1 goal, 1 assist each).
In addition, Middlesbrough have secured away wins at Leeds United, Barnsley, Burnley and Crystal Palace.
Tonight’s opponents, Leicester City shared a 0-0 stalemate with fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff City on Sunday afternoon which moved them up to 9th place. The Foxes have also strung together a five-match unbeaten run which has included wins over Southampton and Brighton, and although these are great wins in their own right, they both happened at the Walkers Stadium.
Away from home their one win so far was at unpredictable Coventry City 1-0, while drawing at Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and Cardiff City. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a semblance to the way Eriksson’s squad is set up away from home to when he was in charge of the national team; retain possession, absorb pressure and hit on the counter. Oh, and play for the draw.
Their away record reads 1-3-0 4/3, and remain unbeaten on the road along with the likes of Middlesbrough, West Ham, Cardiff City, Barnsley and Watford. I’m not saying that I don’t think Leicester have done well this season, they have, but when you look at the odds for Middlesbrough in this fixture, I need to put forward some interesting points about this match;
Let’s look at the facts;
1) Middlesbrough, second in the league and playing at home
2) Under Sven Goran Eriksson, Leicester City have won just 7 out of their 22 away matches under his managership
With this in mind, I’m backing Middlesbrough with the round ball (AH0) as they are going well at the moment and have home advantage – plus the prices of covering the draw are very generous in my opinion.
Main Pick: Middlesbrough AH0 @ 1.62 Sportingbet
Value Pick: Middlesbrough straight win @ 2.30 Sportingbet, Ladbrokes or William Hill
September 15th, 2011 / Armchair Punter - Category:
CRYSTAL PALACE v MIDDLESBROUGH
Saturday 17th September 2011 – Kickoff: 15:00hrs
8th placed Crystal Palace take on 3rd placed Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on Saturday with the Eagles starting off this new Championship campaign in positive mood. It’s a far cry from their 20th placed finish last term where they won just once on the road and avoided relegation by just six points, thanks to their home form.
But it’s still early days and Palace fans, players and management alike will all know it’s a long, tough season ahead, and this match represents no less a challenge.
Nevertheless, Palace have started well at home again so far with a record of 2-1-0 5/2, with wins over Burnley 2-0, Coventry City 2-1 and a 1-1 draw against Blackpool. They also recently knocked Premiership Wigan out of the League Cup, although these underdog wins tend to have the gloss taken off due to Premiership priorities and weaker sides fielded.
Forward Sean Scannell (3 goals) is the leading scorer, and is likely to be partnered up front with Jermaine Easter (1 goal), with back-up provided by Aussie midfielder and new signing Mile Jedinak, Alexander Tunchev and Jonathan Parra. However, I do wonder about their consistency in creating chances from midfield and only time will tell in this department.
Their opponents today, Middlesbrough, have flown out of the blocks this term unlike last year when Strachan was at the helm, and have won their first three on the road with wins at Leeds United 1-0, 3-1 at Barnsley and 2-0 at Burnley.
Along with Brighton, they remain unbeaten in the Championship and will make the trip to south east London with a fair amount of confidence behind them. Manager Tony Mowbray has a full season ahead of him to shape his Boro side and replicate his achievement of his West Brom days in the north east.
Netherlands forward Marvin Emnes (4 goals) leads the scoring charts, but he’ll no doubt get support from the likes of Scott McDonald, midfielder Barry Robson (2 goals, 1 assist), and forward Nick Bailey (1 goal, 1 assist).
Crystal Palace have started well at home, but Boro will be pushing hard for automatic promotion this time around and will fancy their chances here. I’m taking the round ball handicap and should cover the draw this way. Middlesbrough to nick it 1-0 perhaps.
Main Pick: Middlesbrough AH0 @ 1.60 William Hill
Value Pick: Middlesbrough straight win @ 2.38 Ladbrokes
August 27th, 2011 / Matt - Category:
English Football Betting
LIVERPOOL, MIDDLESBROUGH, MK DONS & ROTHERHAM – GILLINGHAM DRAW
Bolton have a miserable away record against Liverpool in the Premier League having lost 11 of 12 at Anfield, and on each of their previous nine visits. A stoppage-time Joe Cole goal from close range ensured the Reds maintained that impeccable run last season, but it should be a lot more straight-forward for Kenny Dalglish’s resurgent Reds, who will be brimming with confidence after tidy victories over Arsenal in the league and away at Exeter in the Carling Cup.
LIVERPOOL TO BEAT BOLTON, BEST ODDS: 4/9 WilliamHill
Just about everyone has missed a trick with Middlesbrough it would seem, the team who finished last season with four straight wins having continued where they left off with three wins and a draw from their first four games of the new term, stretching their unbeaten run in the Championship to eight games. It has taken long enough but it would appear Tony Mowbray finally has those Teesiders singing from the same hymn sheet, and I expect them to hit all the right notes at home to second from bottom Coventry at the weekend.
MIDDLESBROUGH TO BEAT COVENTRY, BEST ODDS: 4/6 SkyBet
With ten points under their belts, 11 goals scored – six of which were netted in last week’s 6-2 thrashing of Chesterfield at Stadium: MK – there shouldn’t be any shortage of confidence in Milton Keynes. That said, news of Sam Baldock’s departure – the soon to be West Ham striker who netted a hat-trick against the Spireites – has come as a blow, but that shouldn’t put the brakes on their gathering momentum and Karl Robinson’s charges should be far too strong for promoted Stevenage at home.
MK DONS TO BEAT STEVENAGE, BEST ODDS: 10/11 WilliamHill
Finally, Rotherham versus Gillingham – second against third in League Two. It should be a very close, evenly-fought encounter between two teams who’ll feel promotion certainly isn’t beyond them after the stunning starts they’ve made. Both are unbeaten, both have ten points under their belts after four league fixtures. Home advantage could be key, but negating that possibly could be the absence of Millers’ prolific Adam le Fondre, Rotherham’s current leading marksmen this season, as well as their top scorer last season, who is poised to sign for Championship side Reading. Separating these two will take some doing, while a draw wouldn’t be a catastrophe for either camp.
ROTHERHAM TO DRAW WITH GILLINGHAM, BEST ODDS: 12/5 PaddyPower
Four-Timer Odds: 15/1 VictorChandler
August 5th, 2011 / Matt - Category:
Thank God for that, football’s back – and it all kicks-off at the KC Stadium in Hull, which is a fitting place for the season to start, as I quite like the look of those Tigers.
Despite their mundane 11th-place finish, Hull had their moments last season, like going a staggering seventeen matches on the road unbeaten. It was actually their ordinary form at The KC that let them down come the end, but as everyone I’m sure has told you in their pre-season previews of either the Championshio or of Hull, it’s far easier to amend your form at home than it is elsewhere.
Furthermore, manager Nigel Pearson has seriously instilled some discipline and organisation throughout the team, in particular in defence, which was their strongest area last term; only three teams conceded fewer goals than Hull over the course of the season. Scoring them, however, was an issue; only three teams conjured fewer goals, and two of those ended up being relegated while the other escaped by the skin of their teeth. But that’s strange, as I see no reason why the forward personnel at the club of Aaron McLean, Matty Fryatt, Jay Simpson and summer signing Dele Adebola cannot put their heads together and come up with the goals needed to compliment their resolute back-line that would surely propel The Tigers into promotion territory.
Hull are available at handsome odds to stun bookies’ favourites Leicester City and West Ham, who I’ll discuss a little further on, while another team I’ve taken a fancy to at alluring odds is Ipswich Town – a club renowned for giving supporters false hope during the build-up to a new campaign which promises some kind of promotion push but only ends in collective desolation.
Roy Keane’s forgettable spell in charge of Ipswich has just about been forgotten, partly because his miserable spell in charge didn’t leave too much lasting damage. His replacement came in the form of former Wigan manager Paul Jewell, who has a great deal more experience then his predecessor and has slowly but surely restored confidence within Portman Road; guiding The Tractor Boys to a strong finish in an otherwise disappointing 2010-2011 season certainly helped his cause, when masterminding five victories from Ipswich’s final nine games.
Plus, Jewell appears to have done some shrewd business over the summer months. Fulham’s David Stockdale will take full control of the gloves after signing on a season-long loan; Ivar Ingimarsson and Tommy Smith will help shore up a defence that conceded too many last season, while in midfield, Grant Leadbitter will be partnered by the always combative Lee Bowyer, and the pair will provide the side with some useful steel in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, up front they have a plethora of individuals who could do some serious damage. Jason Scotland and Michael Chopra can both score goals in this division, while some direct-play and guile is brought to the table by former Arsenal youth product, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
I’m going to presume that for most of you, looking past Leicester and West Ham for the Championship will prove a daunting task. I suppose you’re not to be blamed, both have exceptionally talented squads for this level and anything less than promotion for either would be both a turn up for the books and a massive disappointment for the fans. In terms of value, though, I just don’t see much in either – although that’s mainly due to my stubborn attitude when it comes to backing favourites in a large, competitive field.
Just about every fan in the land has got Sven Goran Eriksson’s Leicester (To Win Championship: 5/1 WilliamHill) on the brain. That’s because they’ve invested heavily in building a team strong enough to take a tough league – the fourth most-watched in Europe, so I’m led to believe – by storm, and they definitely could this season.
Last season, Leicester could score goals but struggled to prevent them being shipped at the other end. So Sven took the proverbial bull by the horns, as well as his cheque book in hand, and bought a whole load of players to bolster the club’s chances of restoring their top-flight status. Their defensive problem looked fixed when they signed arguably the best centre-half in the division in Matt Mills from Reading, for a large sum. Then the dosy Swede went and bought a pair of suicidal full-backs by the names of Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil, the latter an own-goal scoring machine.
On the whole, though, Sven has bought wisely. Kasper Schmeichel will do a job in goal (Signed from Leeds), Matt Mills and Sean St Ledger are fantastic captures at the back, Michael Johnson and Gelson Fernandes arrive on loan deals and both played under Sven while at Man City, while David Nugent has added to their attacking options, just in case Paul Gallagher, Steve Howard, Martyn Waghorn or Darius Vassel fail to impress.
So then, The Foxes are certainly a force to be reckoned with this season. However, the quality within Sam Allardyce’s ranks at West Ham (To Win Championship: 5/1 WilliamHill) is keeping Leicester’s odds of success this season honest.
If those barmy Hammers aren’t blowing bubbles at Upton Park, they’re bouncing between divisions. And many rate their chances of promotion straight back to the promised land at the very first time of asking following a bottom-place finish in the Premier League, especially under a manager who promises results in former Bolton and Newcastle gaffer, Sam Allardyce.
‘Big Sam’ has freed up some funds by releasing some who were on catastrophic wage sums, with the likes of Matthew Upson, Kieron Dyer and Thomas Hitzlsperger all booted out the club. In the opposite direction came Matty Taylor from Bolton, Abdoulaye Faye from Stoke and Kevin Nolan from Newcastle, who has quickly been installed as West Ham skipper – which doesn’t sound at all promising for those fans desperate to see the club retain the services of Scott Parker, their captain for the last two seasons and whom won countless awards for his valiant displays last term.
Some useful individuals remain at Upton Park, though; including Robert Green between the sticks, James Tomkins in defence – who I do genuinely rate, Mark Noble, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears in midfield, while Carlton Cole and Frederic Piquionne really ought to help themselves to a hatful of goals this season should they not find new clubs before the end of the transfer window.
Outside of the ‘Big-Two’, the usual bunch lye in waiting, all with varying levels of potential and appeal.
Nottingham Forest (To Be Promoted: 4/1 SkyBet), now without Billy Davies at the helm, could be absolutely anything under Steve McClaren. The Reds don’t usually relinquish too many points at home either, so if Forest travel well under their mercurial tactician, who has done a fair bit of travelling himself of late, then another play-off could be on the cards.
Middlesbrough (5/1 Bet365) haven’t done much business over the summer, to the displeasure of both their manager, Tony Mowbray, and the fans, but play some decent stuff on the deck and could possibly surprise a few – although you cannot help but feel that Mowbray’s squad was crying out for some fresh, new faces.
Financial restraints at Reading (5/1 Coral) mean another play-off finish would be considered a successful campaign, this, of course, a club which narrowly missed out on promotion last season after losing to Swansea in the play-ff final at Wembley. However, perhaps if they could keep their sought after stars sweets, more notably midfielder Jimmy Kebe and forward Shane Long, then who knows, Brian McDermott’s men could surpass expectations again.
The two teams which gained automatic promotion from League One aren’t being ruled out of the equation, with bookmakers of the opinion that both Brighton (To Be Promoted: 6/1 Totesport) and Southampton (11/2 Totesport) are capable of causing a stir.
Brighton were dominant en route to securing the League One title, ending the season with some impressive figures; only two clubs scored more than them, while only Southampton conceded fewer. Moreover, their brand-spanking new Falmer Stadium is officially up-and-running, while in Gus Poyet the Seagulls have a manager who refuses to abandoned his principles of playing an attractive brand of pass-and-move football. Well, if they play with the same attacking intent as last season, they should be fine, especially with Craig Mackail-Smith slamming them home – who, by the way, became the club’s most expensive ever signing at a little over £2.5m.
Much of Southampton‘s promotion success was down to Nigel Adkins. The former Scunthorpe manager has transformed a youthful, exuberant Saints side into one that can certainly play football whilst getting the job done. Scrooge-like in defence but ruthlessly clinical in the final third, I don’t see Southampton having any problems with relegation this season. That said, I do think promotion is beyond them in their first season back in the second tier – but it is a shop window for some, Arsenal target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to name but a few, so expect several decent performances from Adkins’ Saints over the course of the season, which should culminate in some sizeable scalps, in particular down at St Mary’s.
They were a breath of fresh air in their first ever spell in the Premier League, however Blackpool (Promotion: 6/1 WilliamHill) will probably require a good season or two to find their feet again, especially after losing their two stand-out performers from last season as Charlie Adam finally got his dream move to Anfield and QPR eventually got their man in striker DJ Campbell. Ian Holloway’s capture of midfielder Barry Ferguson from Birmingham is interesting, though.
Fans at Cardiff (11/2 Bet365) are optimistic about what the new season has in store, with former Watford chief Malky Mackay replacing Dave Jones at the Bluebirds helm. Strikers Jay Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy have left the club, but all that’s done is free-up some valuable funds. In their places are Robert Earnshaw, who is proven at this level, and former Rangers hitman Kenny Miller, who will appreciate being back in the British Isles but will be wary of how former SPL stars Scott MacDonald and Kris Boyd fared at Middlesbrough last term, which was miserably.
Another club who have undergone a major overhaul is Birmingham City (9/2 SportingBet). Alex McLeish controversially walked out on the club to join fierce arch-rivals Aston Villa, despite protests from the Villa faithful. Chris Hughton was his successor and although he has inherited a decent group of players who should quickly acclimatise to their new Championship surroundings, he may not have the likes of Scott Dann, Liam Ridgewell, Cameron Jerome or Nikola Zigic for much longer. Ben Foster has also joined West Brom on a season-long loan, with Boaz Myhill joining in the other direction on a similar deal; Steven Caldwell arrives from Wigan, while Marlon King was snapped up after starring for Coventry last season. So a mixed bag really, and while they have had this knack of bouncing back quickly, it is unlikely they’ll perform the same trick on this occasion.
Not much has happened with Leeds over the summer, nor at Portsmouth for that matter – though the latter will be delighted with that, as Posh have had to deal with their fair share of drama over the last couple of seasons.
At alluring odds, Burnley (7/1 bWin) and Derby (16/1 WilliamHill) look interesting; potential dark horses for promotion.
Eddie Howe’s Clarets only missed out on the play-off’s by a few points – okay, seven – however this will be his first full season in charge at Turf Moor and although he will have to sieve through a relatively small squad, his optimum XI will be a match for anyone on their day.
As for Derby, Nigel Clough’s men encountered so much bad luck last season; conceding an alarming amount of late goals yet rarely managing one themselves. However, the majority of their football wasn’t as bad as their finishing position of 19th would suggest. The board clearly have faith in their man, why else keep on a manager which failed to meet their targets last season, or hand him the necessary funds to complete eye-catching moves for goalkeeper Frank Fielding – on loan from Blackburn, Kevin Kilbane, Nathan Tyson, Theo Robinson and Jamie Ward; the latter three are strikers so Clough has clearly focused on Derby’s weakest area from last season, which was their inability to score goals regularly. The Rams are definitely worth a punt, I feel.
Despite scoring at a cantor in League One, newly-promoted Peterborough are among those tipped for relegation, along with Barnsley, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Coventry, Doncaster and Watford.
Posh (Relegation: 5/2 VictorChandler) have lost several players who made scoring such a breeze last season, in particular striker Craig Mackail-Smith, who moved to Championship rivals Brighton. But everyone at the club are more humble and honest with their capabilities at this level than they were two seasons previous, when finishing rock-bottom at the end of the 2009-2010 Championship season, and the focus this time will be on consolidating their status as a second tier club.
The changes that have occurred at Barnsley (2/1 Bet365) over the summer have spiced things up a little; given supporters something new to ponder rather than the imminent threat of relegation yet again. Keith Hill left Rochdale to manage Barnsley’s first-team affairs and he hasn’t held back in stamping his mark on the team, recruiting half-a-dozen new faces during the off-season. Of those, Miles Addison has joined on loan from Derby, defender Rob Edwards is also on loan from Blackpool, but it’s Craig Davies, scorer of 25 goals as Chesterfield gained promotion from League Two last season, who could be the difference between The Tykes having an enjoyable campaign or fans having to typically endure the season near the foot of the table.
Hot favourites for the drop were Doncaster (9/4 VictorChandler) originally, and it’s easy to see why. When injuries hit them hard during 2010-2011, their threadbare squad was exposed for all to see. But one things for sure, Rovers battle gamely under Sean O’Driscoll, who has strengthened over the summer, bringing in Ryan Mason and Giles Barnes on loan from Tottenham and West Brom respectively, while Chris Brown, Kyle Bennett, Richard Naylor and Tommy Spurr also signed permanent deals. But there is still a distinct lack of physical presence in this squad which, in my honest opinion, leaves them exposed and worryingly vulnerable.
Coventry (15/8 PaddyPower) were a little unfortunate to lose top-scorer Marlon King during the summer, as the club basically took him in when no other dare would. But that’s the harsh nature of football these days. Even so, I reckon manager Andy Thorn, who performed minor miracles with limited resources to guide The Sky Blues to a reasonable finish of 18th, can get even more from a group who certainly aren’t the most talented bunch you’ll see this season but do have sparks in certain areas; Joe Murphy in goal and Freddy Eastwood up front are two examples.
Crystal Palace‘s Dougie Freedman worked wonders in convincing last season’s second most prolific goalscorer in League One, Glenn Murray, who scored 22 times as Brighton cruised to promotion, to swap Brighton’s Swanky new Falmer Stadium for Selhurst Park. Palace were crying out for a striker after amassing just 44 goals from 46 league games last season; the joint-second worst tally in the division, and Murray’s arrival could prove to be a stunning piece of business by Freedman. The club have evaded the clutches of relegation in each of the previous two seasons by the slimmest of margins, so fans would be appreciative if they could avoid the drop with a little more comfort this time around.
Hull City (To Win Championship: 30/1 WilliamHill – To Be Promoted: 7/1 Bet365)
Ipswich Town (To Win Championship: 22/1 WilliamHill – To Be Promoted: 6/1 bWin)
E/W Value: Derby County To Be Promoted @ 16/1 WilliamHill
To Be Relegated: Doncaster Rovers @ 9/4 VictorChandler
May 1st, 2011 / Armchair Punter - Category:
CARDIFF CITY v MIDDLESBROUGH
Monday 2nd May 2011 – Kickoff 5.15pm
3rd placed Cardiff City could find themselves in an automatic promotion spot even if they lose to visitors Middlesbrough if the latest report surrounding QPR is to be believed – courtesy of Fox Sports news.
If the ruling is upheld, Cardiff City are in a great position to be promoted to the top flight along with Norwich City, so they will definitely be up for their final home match against Boro. The Bluebirds possess a strong home record of 12-7-3 41/22 and remain undefeated in eight matches home & away.
Leading scorer striker Jay Bothroyd (18 goals, 8 assists) is in red-hot form, along with evergreen Craig Bellamy (10 goals, 10 assists) and the ever consistent Peter Whittingham (11 goals, 10 assists) who have provided Cardiff with the necessary cutting edge up front. Don’t forget Michael Chopra (9 goals) either as he chips in with vital goals off the bench.
Cardiff City have not lost to Middlesbrough at home in their last four encounters.
Middlesbrough travel to Wales with seemingly nothing to play for as they are safe from relegation and out of the play-off frame and sit in mid-table comfort. Boro have put together some good performances of late though and are seeking their third successive league win having disposed of Hull City 4-2 away and 2-1 over Coventry City.
Their away record stands at a disappointing 6-4-12 28/36 and will have to be content with another season in the Championship come August despite early season predictions of automatic promotion back up to the Premiership.
Cardiff will need to be wary of strikers Leroy Lita and Scott McDonald, but will have their work cut out to get anything from this match with Cardiff being handed that extra incentive now.
The Verdict: In my opinion Cardiff possess the better players capable of producing creativity and goals while Boro have come up with some good results. The impetus should be with the home side in this one though and I’m backing Cardiff to do the business in front of their home fans. Cardiff City to win 2-0.
Main Pick: Cardiff City AH-1
@ 2.06 with Pinnacle
looks a tasty option
April 18th, 2011 / Armchair Punter - Category:
BURNLEY v MIDDLESBROUGH
Tuesday 19th April 2011 – Kickoff 7.45pm
Burnley take on an improving Middlesbrough side when the two sides clash on Tuesday night at Turf Moor in a match that Burnley will have to make their game in hand count by taking all three points.
The Clarets will be keen to record back-to-back victories at home in order to keep alive their slim play-off hopes and build on their fantastic 2-1 win over Swansea City at the weekend. The Clarets halted a three match winless streak that had previously seen them lose to Millwall and Ipswich Town and draw against perennial party-poopers Coventry City.
Nevertheless, the Clarets possess a strong home record which stands at 11-4-5 35/27, and is built around leading scorer Jay Rodriguez (12 goals, 2 assists), Scottish striker Chris Iwelumo (11 goals, 2 assists) and ex-Manchester United creative midfielder Chris Eagles (8 goals, 8 assists).
Burnley have lost to Middlesbrough at home just once in their last four meetings at Turf Moor and will be looking to avenge a 1-2 defeat at the Riverside earlier in the season.
Middlesbrough apparently will have low motivation when they travel to Lancashire as another opportunity to bounce back into the Premiership passes them by for another season. There were great expectations pre-season of Boro returning to the big time but Strachan’s poor start to the campaign ultimately cost him his job and Boro promotion.
They are currently 10 points above Scnthorpe United who occupy the final relegation spot, and their home form should be enough to keep any late unexpected relegation worries from their door.
However, their away form has not been great in general, but did pick up a vital win at Sheffield United a couple of weeks ago. Boro’s away record stands at a disappointing 5-4-11 23/31, and it seems a little contradictory given they drew 3-3 with Ipswich Town in their last away match, but they appear a little light in attack without leading scorer Leroy Lita (injured) and Kris Boyd (now with Nottingham Forest).
Tubby Australian scot Scott McDonald (8 goals, 4 assists) has found his scoring touch lately and will need to be watched carefully. Midfielder Julio Arca (8 assists) is their creative outlet.
The Verdict: I feel that Burnley might have turned the corner following their impressive win over Swansea, and throw in the possibility of still making the play-offs I reckon they’re good value for another three points. Burnley to win 2-1.
Main Pick: Burnley
@ 1.95 Sportingbet
looks great value – get on board!
February 17th, 2011 / Armchair Punter - Category:
MILLWALL v MIDDLESBROUGH
Football: England: nPower Championship
Saturday 19th February 2011 – Kickoff 3pm
Millwall entertain visiting Middlesbrough at The New Den on Saturday afternoon knowing that if they take all three points, they could move within touching distance of the play-off zone.
The Lions are currently sitting in 9th place and are six points behind the last play-off occupants leeds United. However, Leeds face a tough assignment on Saturday when they play fellow play-off hopefuls, Norwich City.
Kenny Jackett’s men will be looking to extend their home winning streak to seven consecutive matches against hapless Boro who have lost their last two; 0-1 at Crystal Palace and losing 3-4 at home to Swansea City.
Millwall possess a solid home record of 9-3-3 25/12, and this winning streak has seen them score 13 goals for, while conceding just 1! Striker Steve Morison (11 goals, 3 assists) leads the way, but has Liam Trotter (4 goals, 3 assists), Theo Robinson (3 goals, 1 assist) and Kevin Lisbie (3 goals, 4 assists) all making valuable contributions. Special mention though must go to midfielder James Henry (3 goals, 8 assists) who is enjoying his best season yet.
Millwall’s opponents on Saturday, Middlesbrough, are in trouble. They currently sit in 20th position just four points above Sheffield United who occupy the last relegation spot. Talk of promotion back up to the Premiership has long since evaporated, along with the departure of manager Gordon Strachan, so too have their hopes of realising the pre-season tag of favourites to be promoted.
So where has it all gone wrong for Boro? Combine the need to sell their better players to reduce their increasing player wage bill ie David Wheater and Gary O’Neil, with the purchase of striker Kris Boyd (6 goals) who was really expected to be in the 20’s by now in terms of goal-tally, and a poor away record, and you have a recipe for a side to be happy to stave off relegation this season.
Boro’s away record stands at 3-2-10, and only Crystal Palace (12 away losses) have lost more away games. However, despite their inconsistencies, a wounded animal is at it’s most dangerous when cornered, and Boro will come out fighting make no mistake.
Along with Boyd, they have the likes of forwards Leroy Lita (7 goals, 3 assists), tubby Scott McDonald (4 goals, 3 assists), Barry Robson (3 goals, 4 assists), while Argentinian midfielder Julio Arca has chimed in with 5 assists.
The Verdict: Millwall have been solid at home though, and I’m expecting a seventh home win on the trot for The Lions in this one at good odds. Millwall to edge it 2-1.
Main Pick: Millwall
@ 2.10 with bet365