Manchester United vs Middlesbrough match preview
Middlesbrough caretaker boss Steve Agnew first game after sacking of Karanka comes up against Manchester United.He would be looking to get better of Mourinho’s team which already lost Pogba to injury on Monday and Zlatan to suspension.
Middlesbrough has one of the best defences in the league. However, the major concern has been their attack. Agnew would be hoping that Rudy Gestede is available for selection on Sunday. The only injury concerns are Daniel Ayala, Calum Chambers and George Friend who have been ruled out. Ben Gibson and Adama Traore would have to continue to deliver the performances they have been putting out for last few weeks. It time for Negredo and Ramirez to start delivering to get Boro out of the relegation fight. Downing might be waiting for an opportunity to show what Karanka missed out.
Mourinho feels hard done by the hectic schedule
United have been playing plenty of games in last few weeks. This has resulted in fatigue which has led to injuries. Mourinho has already started complaining about the scheduling of the league games which is made unfavourable for the English teams. However, his team has to put a decent performance, especially without Pogba, Ibra , Blind and Herrera. The good news is Rooney,Martial and Shaw could be fit.
Boro might be getting more freedom since Karanka , former assistant to Mourinho gone. This might allow them to exploit United’s fatigue player. While United would be looking to close the gap for top 4 before its too late.
Middlesbrough are winless in their last 12 meetings with Man Utd in all competitions (D5 L7), although did progress via penalties in their League Cup clash in October 2015.
The Red Devils have scored in each of their last 14 away league games against Middlesbrough; their longest active streak against a single opponent.
United have won four of their last six Premier League trips to the Riverside (D1 L1).
Wayne Rooney has been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games against Middlesbrough (two goals, four assists).
After losing successive Premier League games against promoted sides in December 2015 (vs Bournemouth and Norwich), Man Utd are unbeaten in their last seven (W5 D2), keeping five clean sheets.
Manchester United’s next win will be their 600th in the Premier League, becoming the first side to reach that landmark.
Middlesbrough’s next loss in the Premier League will be their 1000th defeat in the English top-flight and they would become the 14th team to do so.
This game will see the team who averages the fewest shots on target (Middlesbrough – 2.4 per game) face the team who attempts the most per game (Manchester United – 6.3 per game).
Manchester United are currently on the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (17 games), while opponents Middlesbrough are on the longest current winless run in the competition (10 games).
United will be missing the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic for this match. The Swede has 15 goals in the Premier League this season; nine more than any other player for the club (Juan Mata – six goals).
Ibrahimovic has attempted nearly a quarter of Manchester United’s shots in the Premier League this season (109 – 24.3%).