All SportPesa’s Odds on Birmingham City v Middlesbrough Can be Found Here
Managerial life at Middlesbrough hasn’t got off to the ideal start for their former defender, Jonathan Woodgate. The one-time Real Madrid player’s appointment earlier this year was seen as something of a fairy-tale with the local hero overseeing the club he proudly represented as a player. Tonight, against Birmingham City, Woodgate will send his side into a battle against another underachieving Championship side and judging by both team’s form this season, it could be a game where goals are scarce.
After withdrawing Daniel Ayala from his defence last week against Sheffield Wednesday, Woodgate paid a heavy price as they were hammered 4-1 by the Owls. The Spanish star earned a recall on Tuesday against Preston, and although Middlesbrough could only manage a 1-1 draw, their back four looked far more comfortable due to Ayala’s presence. With Middlesbrough appearing a lot more safe due to Ayala’s inclusion, Birmingham may struggle to break them down after enduring a barren spell in front of goal so this season.
Guided by Pep Clotet, Birmingham have made a satisfactory start to the season sitting two points clear of tonight’s opponents, but their lack of compurse in front of goal paints an alarming picture. In ten games this season, the Midlands club have only scored nine goals and a third of those have been provided by Lukas Jutkiewicz. Spain’s Alvaro Giminez was expected to carry a lot of the burden after signing in the summer following an impressive spell at Almeria, but his 20 goals last season playing in Spain’s second tier seem to be a distant memory with only goal registered so far this term.
Despite their lack of reliable firepower, Birmingham’s defence has largely been solid, and they’ll hold no fears whatsoever of coming up against a struggling Middlesbrough side that are reliant on an inconsistent Britt Assombalonga and a young Marcus Tavernier. Birmingham’s defence will relish coming up against such a pair and seeing Middlesbrough make a breakthrough doesn’t seem likely.
Ultimately, tonight’s fixture pits two ambitious clubs, both with a wealth of Premier League experience, going at each other in a contest to stay relevant in England’s second league. It’s hard to imagine either side featuring in the promotion argument this season but building a platform for next year is vital to both sides. This game shouldn’t contain a lot of goals as both defences look set to rule, but the opportunity to find an opening slightly favours Middlesbrough, who desperately need the three points.
SportPesa’s Standout Selections
Under 1.5 Goals 9/5
The Game to Finish 0-0 5/1
Middlesbrough +1 10/19