Middlesbrough vs Birmingham
Championship action again for me in a game that will be played at the Riverside Stadium and will kick off at 15:00 UK time. The game will be played between Middlesbrough and Birmingham City.
The home side head into this as clear favorites to take 3 points. the money they've spent this season has been a lot for a club in this league and their squad is very strong in my opinion and under Tony Pulis, they must have a chance of promotion to the Premier League. What stands out to me is their front line, they have Rudy Gestede who is proven at this level, Martin Braithwaite, Britt Assombalonga and they've also just loaded West Ham's Jordan Hugill who was on fire in this league for PNE.
- They have a wealth of experience in the midfield and defense also and I think for that reason they will be hard to beat.
Their 3 games this season has seen them draw 1 and win 1. The draw came away at the Den vs Millwall, doesn't sound like a good result, however, Boro were 2-0 down after 37 minutes and managed to snatch a point late on with an 87th-minute goal from Braithwaite and then a 97th-minute strike from defender George Friend! This clearly gave them a huge wake-up call and their performance midweek for me identifies that they are up for the challenge. They beat Sheffield United 3-0 at the Riverside. They went 3-0 up after just 25 minutes and then professionally saw the game out.
The visitors to the game are Birmingham City. They have a good manager in Gary Monk, however, their squad doesn't strike me as a promotion-chasing squad. they also have some experienced players at this level, however, I don't think they will have enough to beat Boro in their own backyard.
- Birmingham have started pretty slowly, however, still haven't been beaten, so I suppose that's something.
They have drawn their first game vs Norwich City 2-2, they scored in the 89th minute and thought they had won, however, a 90th-minute equalizer for Norwich left the Birmingham squad feeling deflated. With Birmingham not having a midweek game, they haven't had the opportunity to put this game behind them, yet Boro has and won so I think the confidence will be with the home side on this one.
Middlesbrough hasn't lost a home match in the league when scoring first since March 2014!! This is an amazing stat and I'm sure all the players will be reminded of this and reminded of how crucial the first goal is! Also, Boro is now unbeaten in 55 home league games (W49 D6) when they open the scoring. If Boro score first I'd expect a win, therefore, I think they will attack early and I'll be backing them to win at a price of 1.75 with Bet365. Good luck all.
Middlesbrough vs Birmingham prediction
Middlesbrough Wins @ 1.75 with Bet365