Middlesbrough are in a tough place at present; the Teesiders not winning since New Year’s Day (a 1-0 victory over Preston) and now sitting in the third Championship relegation spot. Boro’ have failed to win nine league games. In fact, their form is so terrible that they’re now attracting odds of 11/4 to go down.
Boro’ face Charlton at the weekend in what is likely to be their most important game of the season, with Athletic just two points ahead. Given both sides’ woeful goal difference of -11 (Boro’) and -9 (Charlton) respectively, both teams to score is a likely return at 8/11. Keep up-to-date with other btts tips for the weekend as the English leagues head into the business end of season.
As Boro’ get dragged ever deeper in trouble, just what do they need to do to stay up in 2020?
Middlesbrough: Score more goals
It seems almost ridiculous to say, but scoring goals is the essence of winning games. And, Boro’ simply aren’t good enough in front of goal in the Championship this season. The Teesiders have found the back of the net the least in the second tier, with just 36 goals to their name.
The fact that just one player is in double figures for the season; Ashley Fletcher with 10 says it all. Without Fletcher, Boro’s next leading goalscorers are Britt Assombalonga with six and Lewis Wing on seven. The goals need to come from somewhere and, currently, that just isn’t happening; a predicament that isn’t going to get any better with Fletcher now preparing for a spell on the sidelines after a hamstring injury picked up in the 1-0 loss to Leeds.
That in itself is disappointing considering that Boro’ have a better away points difference than 12 other sides in the Championship with just 47 goals conceded. This is impressive, compared to the 60 of Barnsley and the 71 of Luton Town who make up the bottom three. But, in recent defeats against both Barnsley and Luton, the Teesiders didn’t even manage a shot on target.
So, improve form in front of goal and the results should take care of themselves.
Find quality from somewhere
Against Leeds, Middlesbrough worked hard; chasing everything with the players running their blood to water. But most of it was aimless; the final ball often the wrong one or mis-controlled. Without a plan of how to go forward, this incessant harrowing of opponents is pointless. Work rate can be methodical. Without quality and composure in front of goal, however, that labour will never get results.
Middlesbrough threatened the Leeds goal with three shots on target – including a Marcus Tavernier shot that shook the post – it was the first time they had challenged a goal in 270 minutes. But, that can’t keep Boro’ up. The Teesiders need to find a cutting edge to match the work rate, otherwise it could be goodnight Vienna for Jonathan Woodgate’s men.
50 points seems to be the magic number for confirming a place in the Championship for the season after, but Boro’ are still 13 shy. Can they reach that number? Only time will tell.