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Can Middlesbrough Contain Lukaku?

Last updated: September 16, 2016 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 5.30pm
Venue: Goodison Park
Coverage: Sky Sports 1
Home form: DWWW
Away form: DWDL
Last season:
Competition: The Premier League

Romelu Lukaku required no time at all to settle back into the swing of things after scoring a hat-trick in his return to the Premiership last week against Sunderland. It was also a fantastic team performance by Everton who, after a few changes at half-time, always looked in full control. The team remain unbeaten this year with 3 wins in their last 3 games. Middlesbrough have adapted quickly to life in the Premier League, but this will undoubtedly be the toughest match they’ve faced so far. Outplayed at home to Crystal Palace last week in what was an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance, Middlesbrough must quickly return to the style of play that earned them promotion from the Championship last season, if they are to take anything away from Goodison Park.

With Lukaku fit again Everton look a real force to be reckoned with under new boss Ronald Koeman. 10 points from a possible 12 sees them sitting nicely in 3rd position, which the team will look to improve upon with a nice run of kind fixtures. Ross Barkley started the season positively and it was hoped that this year he could finally find the consistency to reach the standard that is expected of him. He was poor against Sunderland however, and it was his replacement by Gerard Deulofue, that spun the match in Everton’s favour. It remains to be seen whether he will start this fixture.

Some gentle fixtures have enabled Middlesbrough to make a solid start in their return to the Premier League. It was their defensive capabilities that were most notable in their promotion winning season. This has somewhat continued with 1 clean sheet so far, but the club were guilty of some sloppy play at the back in the last fixture against Palace. Middlesbrough must regain this defensive solidity if they are to stand any chance of getting something out of this match. The signing of Alvaro Negredo over the summer has given the club a new cutting edge up front too. If the defence can play its part, then boss Karanka will be looking to Negredo to supply the decisive goals, to bring the club its second win of the season.


Team News

Everton have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match. Romelu Lukaku marked his return to the first team squad with a bang and it is likely Koeman will stick with the same starting 11.

Ross Barkley was withdrawn at half time however after a disappointing performance. His starting place is at risk to Gerard Deulofeu then.

Gaston Ramirez was rested from the starting 11 last time due to his international commitments the week before. He is likely to regain his role in the starting lineup.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes made his return to the team, he is expected to retain his position as first choice goalkeeper.


Expected line-ups:

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Everton (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Barry, Bolasie, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku
Subs Robles, Deulofeu, Kone, Lennon, Funes Mori, Davies, Holgate
Injured: Browning, Pennington, McCarthy, Besic
Doubtful: Cleverley, Gibson
Not available:
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Middlesbrough (4-1-4-1): Valdes, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani, Fischer, Downing, Negredo
Subs Rhodes, Guzan, de Roon, Fischer, Nsue, Chambers, Traore
Injured: Fabio, Leadbitter
Doubtful:
Not available:

So far this season

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Everton this season Middlesbrough this season
3rd League Position 9th
1 (2) (at home) Wins (away) 0 (1)
3-0 vs. Sunderland Biggest win 2-1 vs. Sunderland
1 (0) (at home) Draws (away) 1 (1)
Biggest Defeat 1-2 vs. Crystal Palace
Romelu Lukaku (3) Top scorer Cristhian Stuani (2)
Kevin Mirallas (2) Assist Leader Alvaro Negredo (2)
Y5, R0 Discipline Y8, R0
0 Failures to score 1
2 Clean Sheets 1
2 Both Teams to Score Games 3
2 Over 2.5 Games 2
2 Under 2.5 Games 2
  • Everton’s flying start to the season continued on Monday night, when Romelu Lukaku returned to the starting lineup and marked the occasion with an 11 minute hattrick. With the team playing well and the big man back on target, more goals will surely come.
  • After a string of signings over the summer, Middlesbrough have managed to start in the Premiership as they went on last year, with a win and 2 draws so far. New signing Alvaro Negredo has a goal and 2 assists to his name already and will be the Boro’s most dangerous individual.
  • The defence is also performing well and more clean sheets should be still to come, with Coleman returning from injury and the defence back up to full strength. The addition of Ashley Williams from Swansea has seen Everton keep clean sheets in their last 2 Premiership fixtures.
  • The team earned promotion largely due to an organised backline last year. This has looked the case in parts so far this season, but the team were sloppy at the back in the previous match. They are not prolific scorers, so will be looking to tighten up, especially against Everton.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
01.12.2015 League Cup Middlesbrough 0 – 2 Everton Deulofeu 20′
08.03.2009 FA Cup Everton 2 – 1 Middlesbrough Mason 82′
26.12.2008 Premier League Middlesbrough 0 – 1 Everton Cahill 51′
16.11.2008 Premier League Everton 1 – 1 Middlesbrough O’Neil 8′
01.01.2008 Premier League Middlesbrough 0 – 2 Everton Johnson 67′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Unsurprisingly Everton are favourites coming into this game. We’ll have to look elsewhere for value though, since the best price for an Everton win seems to be around 1.7. I fully expect Everton to win this match and with Romelu Lukaku back in scoring form, I expect him to score too. You can get Lukaku to be the first goalscorer at 4.33 or to score anytime at 2.05 at bet365.