Relegated Middlesbrough and newly promoted Sheffield United face off at the Riverside Stadium later this evening in what is set to be an intriguing match in the evening kickoff (17:30).
On Saturday Middlesbrough take on Sheffield United in the Championship in a game that puts together one ex Premier League club and one ex League One club. The gap between the teams last season was very big, although I doubt we will see them too far apart this season.
Middlesbrough have spent big in an attempt to bounce straight back into the Premier League. They are one of the favourites for promotion and when you look at their squad it is easy to see why.
They are full of talent, especially in attack and despite an opening day loss at Wolves last weekend, they are sure to challenge.
The Boro have invested heavily over the summer in a bid to return to the Premier League at the first attempt, but got off to the worst start possible on the opening day of the season following a 1-0 defeat at Wolves.
New boss Gary Monk fielded 6 debutants in what was a poor display from the bookies’ promotion favourites. With the amount of money spent already this summer Monk will be hoping his new look side can gel sooner rather than later.
Gary Monk will be without midfielder Marten de Roon after the club agreed a fee with Atlanta earlier in the week. Patrick Bamford put in an impressive display off the bench against Wolves and could start alongside Britt Assombalonga in Boro’s first home game of the season.
Sheffield United have built well over the past couple of years, and strengthened again this summer.
They won their opening game of the season last weekend, beating Brentford 1-0 at home, although this trip up north is completely different and will really test them. Having said that, I do expect Sheffield United to give a good account of themselves this season and a top half finish is not out of the equation for them.
I don’t think they will quite get there, but that willl certainly be there aim, I am sure they won’t be involved in the relegation scrap anyway.
Chris Wilder named a completely different starting eleven for their Carabao Cup win against Walsall and is likely to go with the majority of the side that performed so well last week.
Ched Evans could make his first start for the Blades since returning in the summer and goal machine Billy Sharp is likely to be recalled. The 31 year old is the most prolific goal scorer in the top four divisions of English football scoring 31 goals since the start of last season. Get Billy Sharp to score anytime at 11/4.
Middlesbrough have the attacking players to be one of the most attacking and fun to watch teams in this league, something I hope we will see in this game.
I am happy to back them to win this game and bounce back from defeat last weekend. They are a class above Sheffield United, who I think will do well in the Championship, but this is a tough away trip for them and one I think they are going to lose.
Sheffield United have failed to score in their last two visits to Boro. With that in mind we fancy Middlesbrough win to nil at 15/8.