Match Preview – Middlesbrough vs Leicester City

One of Leicester’s many failings last season was an inability to pick up points in difficult places. From unfortunate narrow defeats (QPR, Nottingham Forest) to more lacklustre efforts (Swansea, Millwall) it was clear this was a major problem that would need to be addressed over the summer. When any lingering hopes of a playoff place were lost at the City Ground last April, it was left for Sven to ponder why his side had lost eight of the 11 away matches his side played against other sides in the top half of the Championship.

Was City’s solid if unspectacular display at Cardiff a turning point? City certainly look much more difficult to break down on the road this season. Perhaps the trip to Middlesbrough will offer more clues.

The hosts have been among the surprise pacesetters at the top of the Championship. Tony Mowbray’s side have a 100% record on the road and remain the only unbeaten side in the Championship this season. It’s worth noting, however, that ‘Boro have not had it all their own way at home. They’ve won just once and shared the points three times. Even more hopefully from a Leicester point of view, ‘Boro have yet to face a side in the top half at home.

Leicester arrive on the back of consecutive clean sheets, their first since last November. But Middlesbrough too have been very effective at the back in recents weeks. It’s now 284 minutes since they conceded a goal in the league.

For City to achieve another clean sheet they must contain Marvin Emnes. When the Dutchman was failing to score against all others he still managed to net twice against the Foxes last season for Swansea and Middlesbrough respectively. Now with eight goals under his belt already in all competitions, messers Bamba and Mills will have to keep a close eye on ‘Boro’s top scorer throughout the 90 minutes.

The Riverside has on the face of it been a relatively good source of points in recent meetings between the two sides, but that’s until you remember that Leicester, but for three goals in stoppage time, could have taken nine points from their last three visits instead of five. But perhaps late goals won’t be on the cards this time. Middlesbrough haven’t scored after the 75th minute in league games this season, and Leicester haven’t troubled the scoresheet after the hour mark.

With both sides strong at the back, this match has all the makings of a low scoring draw. Perhaps it’s best to put a small bet on another 3-3 just in case.

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