Middlesbrough v West Brom Tips: Oppose out-of-form Albion

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Wilder unhappy with Middlesbrough loss

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder admitted his side’s performance in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bristol City left him scratching his head somewhat. In-form Boro fell to a surprise reverse at Ashton Gate, subsequently falling out of the Championship’s top-six, with Matt Crook‘s late consolation goal all the Teessiders had to show for their lacklustre efforts.

Wilder said: “It was a difficult performance to summarise really because at times it wasn’t great, at other times it was good enough to create enough chances and to have enough possession to score. But we didn’t. The game gets decided in both boxes and we didn’t do enough to keep the ball out of our net, and had enough certainly to punish the opponent.”

Boro were well-below par in the first half. The Reds dominated possession after conceding early on, but it was their inability to pick a final ball when they worked it to the final third that let them down. In a contrasting second half, the visitors created more than enough opportunities, with their finishing letting them down in a disappointing away defeat.

Bruce critical of West Brom defeat

West Brom‘s dreadful Championship form continued with a 2-0 loss at Luton on Saturday. The Baggies, who now haven’t scored in their last five games, massively underperformed once again with two second-half goals doing the damage, as Albion never once looked like getting themselves back in the game after falling behind, creating next to nothing.

Karlan Grant had two big chances to put WBA in front in the first-half but Albion capitulated after the interval and an angry Steve Bruce told his players he will not accept a repeat performance. He said, “I won’t accept the second half from a team of mine. We need to instil that into them. To say I’m disappointed with it is a massive understatement.”

The result means WBA have now won just one of their last 10 league outings with the side having slumped to 11th in the standings. Bruce moved away from a 4-3-3 system and set his Baggies side up in a 3-5-2 formation at Kenilworth Road with Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend operating at wing-back with Grant partnering Andy Carroll in the front two.

Middlesbrough enjoyed an 18-game unbeaten run at home to West Brom in league action between 1952 and 2005 but the Teessiders have since suffered three defeats in their last five fixtures hosting Albion at The Riverside (W1-D1-L3). However, Boro boast a strong W3-D3-L1 record in the seven most recent head-to-head across all venues with Albion.

Middlesbrough 2.3411/8 have enjoyed a major turnaround under Christ Wilder’s watch. The Reds have rocketed from mid-table obscurity to major play-off contenders following a run of W8-D3-L3, with Boro pocketing six successive Championship victories at The Riverside – the hosts are looking to make it seven home wins on the spin here for the first time since 2018.

Pre-season promotion favourites West Brom 3.3512/5 started the campaign superbly but the Baggies season has unravelled since October. Albion have returned W6-D6-L10 since the start of October – only four second-tier clubs have collected fewer points in that sample – with the guests failing to even score in 11 of 15 since November’s international break.

Middlesbrough have been fun to follow since Chris Wilder’s arrival. The Teessiders have only failed to score twice under the current boss with performance data highlighting the club’s movement to a much more attack-minded and potent approach. As hosts, Boro have kept four clean sheets during their current six-game winning streak.

West Brom’s games have averaged only 1.94 goals per-game – the lowest figure in the Championship with at least one team failing to score in 22/32 (69%) of their overall fixtures. Just two of Albion’s last 17 encounters have produced Over 2.5 Goals 2.186/5, whilst the Baggies have fired blanks in nine of their last 10 Championship away days.

With two clubs appearing to be heading in different directions, I’m quite happy to take the 2.001/1 on offer for Middlesbrough 0 & -0.5 in the Asian Handicap market. This selection sees us lose only half of our stake should the game end all-square, and paid out at evens if Boro pick up maximum points on Tuesday night.