MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 20:44:04| >> :120:3649:3649:
Mar 6, 2021 at 3pm UK at Liberty Stadium
SwanseaSwansea City
2-1
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough
Ayew (40', 90+7' pen.)
Manning (64'), Guehi (71')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Morsy (90+1')
Bolasie (39'), Saville (47'), Morsy (87'), Howson (90+5')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Swansea City and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Swansea City welcome Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, as the Swans look to break into the top two of the Championship table.

Steve Cooper's side kept pace with the teams at the top of a table thanks to an added-time penalty against Stoke City on Wednesday night, while Middlesbrough got back to winning ways by beating Coventry City 2-1 on Tuesday.


Match preview

Swansea City manager Steve Cooper pictured in February 2021© Reuters

The side from Wales travelled to Stoke looking to keep up with the top three last time out, but they were dealt a bad start when Nick Powell put the hosts ahead after just six minutes, before right-back Connor Roberts equalised for the Swans soon after.

The game looked set to finish 1-1 until Jack Clarke tripped Kyle Naughton in the box in the sixth minute of added time, resulting in a penalty which Andre Ayew coolly dispatched to seal all three points for Cooper's men with the final kick of the match.

That result followed a disappointing 3-1 loss to Bristol City, when Ayew gave Swansea the lead with another penalty before Nahki Wells, Kasey Palmer and Antoine Semenyo turned the game around and condemned the side from South Wales to their sixth league defeat of the campaign.

However, because of that last victory, the Swans now sit just one point behind second-placed Brentford with two games in hand, one of which takes place on Tuesday night against Blackburn Rovers.

Their strong league position is largely down to the Swans' strong defensive record, with no side in the Championship conceding as few as the 23 goals that they have shipped in 32 games this season.

Cooper will be desperate to pick up another win on Saturday, as that would set them up to cement themselves in the top two with a win on Tuesday night from one of their games in hand.

That will be no easy task though, as they welcome a Middlesbrough side who have their sights set on a playoff place.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Warnock's side got an important victory last time out, when they travelled to 20th-placed Coventry City on Tuesday night.

They suffered a poor start when Anfernee Dijksteel turned the ball into his own net after 10 minutes, before Grant Hall levelled the game and George Saville came off the bench to score a late winner to seal all three points for his side.

That came after a commendable draw with Cardiff City, who are in a run of great form since the appointment of Mick McCarthy, as Paddy McNair equalised late to secure a point for Warnock's outfit.

The side from the North-East now sit five points behind sixth-placed AFC Bournemouth, meaning they need to build a strong run of results in order to close that gap between themselves and the playoffs.

Warnock will be looking to celebrate his recent contract extension with what would be an impressive victory on Saturday, when his side travel to Wales.

Swansea City Championship form: WWLWLW
Swansea City form (all competitions): LWLWLW

Middlesbrough Championship form: LWWLDW


Team News

Swansea City's Connor Roberts celebrates scoring against Stoke City in the Championship on March 3, 2021© Reuters

Swansea will remain without centre-back Ryan Bennett, who joins Wayne Routledge on the sidelines.

However, they recently welcomed Kyle Naughton back to action, and he went on to win the crucial penalty for the winning goal against Stoke City.

Naughton has been a key part of Swansea's back three, alongside Marc Guehi and Ben Cabango, which has conceded the fewest goals in the Championship this season.

Cooper rested several crucial players last time out as Conor Hourihane and Jake Bidwell were dropped to the bench, with both players expected to come back into the starting lineup on Saturday.

Yannick Bolasie returned to the Middlesbrough squad last time out, when he came off the bench in the win over Coventry after being out with an injury.

They will be without striker Ashley Fletcher however, as Warnock aims to get the attacker back for their game against Stoke City next week after picking up an injury against Bristol City.

In his absence, Neeskens Kebano and Chuba Akpom formed the front two against Coventry, as Britt Assombalonga was dropped to the bench.

Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton, Grimes, Hourihane, Bidwell; Lowe, Ayew

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Fry, Hall, Dijksteel; Spence, Tavernier, McNair, Howson, Bola; Kebano, Watmore


SM words green background

We say: Swansea City 2-1 Middlesbrough

While Warnock does know how to coach a resilient defensive outfit, we see his Middlesbrough side being outclassed by the Swans on Saturday.

The return of Hourihane and Bidwell should strengthen Cooper's side, inspiring them to another crucial victory as they look to break into the automatic promotion spots.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data


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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020
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Tables
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2Watford422410859283182
3Swansea CitySwansea4222101052331976
4Brentford412014771403174
5Bournemouth4221111069412874
6Barnsley42218135446871
7Reading4219101357461167
8Cardiff CityCardiff4216121458461260
9Millwall421417114140159
10Queens Park RangersQPR421611155051-159
11Middlesbrough42169174947257
12Stoke CityStoke421414144546-156
13Luton TownLuton41168173646-1056
14Bristol City42156214156-1551
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn421311185448650
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest421213173441-749
17Preston North EndPreston42147214155-1449
18Coventry CityCoventry421212183956-1748
19Birmingham CityBirmingham421212183250-1848
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield421211194562-1747
21Derby CountyDerby421110213148-1743
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham40116234154-1339
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds42119223555-2036
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe42810243266-3434

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