Premiership: Everton v Middlesbrough

The only game on Sunday in the Premier League is at Goodison Park where Everton will entertain Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough. Everton are 11th going into the game while Middlesbrough are behind them on 13, but the Toffees do have a game in hand.

Everton have surprisingly conceded in every single Premier League game so far this season and go into the game on the back of two consecutive losses. Another loss would equal their worst run in the Premier League since 2005. Also, Everton have picked up as less as seven yellow cards while Middlesbrough have been punished with 20. So one can expect Boro to use strong arm tactics to keep Everton’s star forwards in check. On the team front, Thomas Gravesen is surely out. A host of players including Mikel Arteta, Tony Hibbert, Nuno Valente, Andy Johnson are doubtful. Yakubu was signed from Boro in the summer and he would get the nod to spearhead Everton attack ahead of Victor Anichebe.

Middlesbrough are woeful away from home. At least the statistics suggest so. They have scored in just one away game this season and have failed to score away in seven of the last 10. Boro have this game and a game next week against City before playing two big guns back to back, so they would be hoping for maximum returns in the next two games.

Argentinian Julio Arca, Emanuel Pogatetz, Jeremie Aliadiere are all injured while Gary O’Neill and Sanli Tuncay are set to start this one. Jonathan Woodgate and Mido have both been passed fit and are likely to take their places in the starting eleven.

My verdict: Boro have been especially poor on the road. And another poor performance can be expected. Everton to steamroll Boro. 2-0 with goals from Yakubu and Osman on either sides of the lemon break.

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