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Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Middlesbrough and Norwich City, including predictions, team news and lineups.

Two sides boasting lengthy unbeaten records lock horns this coming Saturday as a stubborn Middlesbrough side welcome Norwich City to the Riverside Stadium.

The Canaries extended their unbeaten run to seven matches with a win at home to Swansea City just before the international break, while Boro still hold the longest unbeaten run in the country having nullified a free-scoring Brentford team to go 10 games unbeaten.


Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Middlesbrough did show signs of becoming a more potent attacking threat in the latter stages of their matchup against Brentford, but - as Neil Warnock has witnessed many times already this season - were unable to make their chances count.

More predictably, Boro were impenetrable at the other end of the pitch and have only conceded five goals in 11 games, and have now gone 380 minutes without being breached.

The last time Boro showed such defensive solidity, they were to be promoted under Aitor Karanka, with Ben Gibson at the heart of their backline. This time around, Ben Gibson will be defending against Boro as he looks likely to line up for opponents Norwich, having left the North-East in 2018.

The Smoggies will have their work cut out, as they face a Norwich side who have had almost twice the amount of shots on goal as Boro so far this season (60 to 33), despite only scoring four more goals.

Boro will look to silence their critics as Warnock was forced to laugh off claims that Middlesbrough are playing boring football.

Boring or not, Warnock will not be opposed to when he says that teams do not want to play Boro, given their tenacity and stifling style - the same style of play that saw Warnock pick up manager-of-the-month earlier this week.

Norwich City's Marco Stiepermann celebrates after scoring against Swansea City in the Championship on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Since the introduction of the award in 2004, no manager has been awarded the accolade more times than Middlesbrough's boss.

Norwich will be hoping that the manager of the month curse is alive and well as they look to continue their strong run that sees them sit third in the table.

Despite their slow start, Norwich are well and truly finding their feet and have climbed into the playoff places, now only one point from the summit of the table.

They also have fond memories of travelling to the Riverside, having only lost once in their last five trips. The Canaries' fans will also remember that it was they who defeated Middlesbrough in the 2015 playoff final to gain promotion.

Boro are the first of two away games in four days for Norwich City as they look to maintain their good form and build towards a promotion challenge, that could see them bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Middlesbrough Championship form: WDWWDD

Norwich City Championship form: WWDWDW


Team News

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke pictured on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Ben Gibson was left out of the win against Swansea City as a precaution after suffering some tightness in his back, but could be recalled to face his former team.

Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann combined to keep Swansea at bay during City's 1-0 win last time out, though the Hanley/Gibson partnership has become the foundation of Norwich's recent form, suggesting Gibson could return.

In midweek, Warnock implied that Chuba Akpom and Britt Assombalonga may get equal playing time this season, but having missed out against Brentford, it is likely to be club captain Assombalonga that leads the line.

Pending any injuries from the international break, Boro should keep the same lineup with the return of George Saville being the only other change. Lewis Wing could make way after failing to stamp his authority last time out.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Bola, Howson, Saville, Tavernier, Spence; Coulson, Assombalonga

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Sorensen; Skipp, Rupp; Buendia, Cantwell, Placheta; Pukki


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 0-0 Norwich City

Of the last seven league games Boro have won at home, they have scored first six times. Place that statistic alongside Boro's defensive record, and we would say that if Boro can get on top, it will be hard for Norwich to turn this one around. Given the recent form of both sides, though, we see this one finishing honours even, and condemning Boro to a third straight draw.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


ID:422720:cQx

Who will win the Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Norwich City?

Middlesbrough
Draw
Norwich City
Middlesbrough
34.2%
Draw
25.3%
Norwich City
40.5%
79
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Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on November 3, 2020
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Neil Warnock laughs off "boring" Middlesbrough claims
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich148421811728
2Bournemouth1476123131027
3Swansea CitySwansea14752168826
4Reading148242318526
5Bristol City147341714324
6Brentford146532013723
7Watford136521811723
8Stoke CityStoke146442118322
9Blackburn RoversBlackburn1463527161121
10Middlesbrough13562148621
11Millwall144821210220
12Luton TownLuton145451117-619
13Huddersfield TownHuddersfield145361819-118
14Cardiff CityCardiff144551713417
15Queens Park RangersQPR144551620-417
16Barnsley144461516-116
17Birmingham CityBirmingham143741012-216
18Preston North EndPreston145181721-416
19Rotherham UnitedRotherham143471418-413
20Coventry CityCoventry143471424-1013
21Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest14338917-812
22Wycombe WanderersWycombe14248720-1310
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds14356712-58
24Derby CountyDerby14149621-157

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