Middlesbrough meet Sheffield United in the Championship after being two leagues apart last season. Middlesbrough were relegated from the Premier League last season, while Sheffield United finally made it back into the Championship. Of the teams who came down from the Premier League, Middlesbrough look in the best position and out of those who were promoted from League One, Sheffield United look to be in the best position.
Championship – Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Saturday 12th August – 17:30UK Time
Best Odd of: 4/5 at Paddy
Best Odd of: 5/2 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 15/4 at Coral
This should be a good clash, but a huge test for Sheffield United, who will find it tough travelling away to one of the biggest and best teams in the Championship.
Middlesbrough lost their opening game of the season last weekend, although they did have a very tough trip to Wolves. Both clubs are expected to challenge for promotion so it wasn’t too bad a start by Middlesbrough, they lost to a very good team.
Having said that, as promotion contenders they will be expected to bounce back straight away this weekend and beat Sheffield United comfortably to show their strength. A good start is always key for those teams who have been relegated from the Premier League because they lost so many games last season. Middlesbrough have the quality to start well, they just need to put it into practice in this game.
Sheffield United Form
Sheffield United had a great opening day victory over Brentford, a game they won 1-0, although they were perhaps a little lucky to win the game. Brentford played very well in the game, and should have taken something from it, which wouldn’t have been a good start for Sheffield United. Middlesbrough pose a completely different threat and Sheffield United are not going to be able to give Middlesbrough as many opportunities.
On Wednesday, Sheffield United overcame Walsall in the League Cup, although they only won 3-2 and will have to defend better in their game against Middlesbrough. They continued to offer Walsall chances, just like they did with Brentford and that must change straight away, otherwise they will find themselves conceding a lot of goals this season.
Middlesbrough have a great attacking line up and it will be interesting to see who they turn to this week. Last weekend they turned to Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher, with Rudi Gestede coming off the bench late in the game. If they do turn to the same pair again, both Fletcher and Assombalonga know where the back of the net is and I expect them to form a great partnership in this division, scoring on a regular basis.
Sheffield United rely on the goals of Billy Sharp and after scoring 30 for them in their promotion season last season, he got off the mark in his first game last weekend. He is vital to United and he needs to take any chance he gets against Middlesbrough as I doubt he will get too many.
Top Betting Tips
I am sure that Middlesbrough are going to be challenging for promotion this season, and their result last week was not too bad. They did lose, but they lost away against a fellow promotion contender so it wasn’t too bad. I am fully expecting them to bounce back this weekend and beat Sheffield United.
Sheffield United certainly have the ability to avoid relegation in their first season back in the Championship and that will be their aim to start with. I expect to see them finish clear of the relegation zone and with a good run they may find themselves challenging for a mid-table spot at the end of the season. However, I do not see them getting anything from this tough trip up north to face one of the best teams in the league.
I am happy to back Middlesbrough to win this game at 10/11 with Ladbrokes and PaddyPower. I think this offers good value and Middlesbrough should be a lot shorter than that to beat a team destined for the bottom half of the table.
For those who prefer a bigger priced selection, I am going to back the score line 3-0 to Middlesbrough, which is available at a huge 20/1 with Skybet. Should Middlesbrough find their scoring boots, Sheffield United will give them enough chances to score three goals in this game. Middlesbrough have enough in defence to keep Billy Sharp quiet, allowing them to keep a clean sheet in this game. I am very confident of a Middlesbrough win in this game on Saturday evening.