Prior to the start of the 2017/2018 season of the Championship, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa were the two biggest favorites for promotion. Both teams failed to get promoted directly, but they still have a chance to book a spot in the top English flight if they do well in the playoff. Unfortunately, only one team will get to go to the Premier League. That said, the Saturday’s match is of a huge importance for both sides. If you wanna learn more about this game, make sure to check out this Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa match preview and betting tips!
Middlesbrough got relegated from the Premier League last season, but they want an express ticket back. They finished their Premiership campaign as the team with the poorest goal scoring stats. Middlesbrough scored only 27 goals in 36 matches that season. They did much better in the Championship, although they did score the least number of goals of all the teams competing in the promotion playoff.
Speaking of the playoffs, Middlesbrough’s impressive form in the last couple of rounds of the season helped them finish on the fifth spot. Before playing draw with Ipswich Town in the final round of the regular season, they won three games in a row. It’s a very impressive achievement, considering that they played against Bristol City, Derby County, and Millwall, the teams that were in the competition for the playoff spots.
Obviously, their good run didn’t happen by accident. Middlesbrough definitely have a good team. Their key player this season has been their goalie, Darren Randolph, who featured in each Middlesbrough game of the regular part of the season. Britt Assombalonga, their top scorer also deserves a praise, as well as Adama Traore, their player with the most assists.
Aston Villa’s story is pretty similar to the one of Middlesbrough. This team also got relegated from the Premier League not too long ago and are now looking to get back there as quickly as possible. They definitely have the players who deserve to compete in the top English flight. Actually, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Aston Villa has the third most expensive squad in the Championship (after Fulham and Wolves).
Their most expensive player is Jonathan Kodjia, an Ivorian player who was one of their best players last season. This season, however, Aston Villa’s key man has been Robert Snodgrass, a 30-year-old midfielder who’s arrived from West Ham last summer. The Villans have a number of other very experienced players in the team, which might be their crucial advantage over other teams in the playoff.
Speaking of experienced players, I mustn’t forget to mention John Terry, their captain. The 37-year-old has played over 30 games this season and is ready to give his bets in the clash with Middlesbrough. Other players with lots of experience include Mile Jedinak, Birkir Bjarnason, Glenn Whelan, Ahmed El Mohamady, Lewis Grabban, and so on.
- Rudy Gestede (injury)
Aston Villa absentees:
- Axel Tuanzebe (injury)
- Jed Steer (injury)
- Gabriel Agbonlahor (doubtful)
- Neil Taylor (doubtful)
- Birkir Bjarnason (doubtful)
Randolph – Ayala, Gibson, Shotton, Friend – Besic, Howson, Clayton, Traore, Downing – Assombalonga
Johnstone – Terry, Chester, El Mohamady, Hutton – Hourihane, Jedinak, Whelan, Snodgrass, Kodjia – Grabban
Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa Match Prediction
Aston Villa conceded more than one goal only twice in the last 10 matches. That is one of many reasons why I think this is gonna be a low-scoring game. Others include the fact that both sides have been impressive in defense this whole season, as well as the fact that we saw only one goal in their previous two Championship meetings.
Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa Betting Tips
- Under 2.5 Goals @1.75 (Unibet)
- Correct Score 0:0 @10.00 (WilliamHill)