Middlesbrough v Man City
Sunday 30 April, 14:05


Boro gave themselves a lifeline with a hard-fought 1-0 home win over rock-bottom Sunderland on Wednesday night, their first victory in the Premier League since December 17.

That leaves them in 19th on 27 points, still six points from safety with four games to play. Realistically there is not much hope, with away fixtures at Chelsea and Liverpool to come even if they emerge unscathed from this match.

Gaston Ramirez is available after suspension but Daniel Ayala, Victor Valdes and Grant Leadbitter are all doubtful.

Man City

This is a quick turnaround from Thursday's scrappy, fractious goalless draw in the Manchester derby, which kept them just ahead of United in the battle for Champions League places.

City are fourth on 65 points with United fifth on 64, both with five games to play. The two Manchester clubs could both make the top four as third-placed Liverpool are only just ahead on 66 points but have played a game more.

There are injury worries over playmaker David Silva and centre-back John Stones but right-back Bacary Sagna is fit again. Striker Gabriel Jesus is in contention to start after coming on as a late substitute against United.

Match Odds

The betting points strongly to a City win, and to improve the odds it's more about the type of victory Pep Guardiola's side might achieve.

For the record, City have strong form figures in this type of contest with 14 wins out of 17 against bottom-half sides. They have won eight of nine in that category on the road, with the only failure being the 4-2 defeat at Leicester in December.

Boro have won only four games all season and all were against bottom-eight sides (Bournemouth, Hull, Swansea and Sunderland). Their record against teams above that group is W0 D7 L8 and is particularly poor at home (W0 D3 L7).

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

The two sides are at opposite ends of the scale.
 City have had 22 out of 32 over 2.5 goals (69%) while Boro have had 20 out of 33 under 2.5 goals (61%).

In Boro's case that reflects their defensive approach under former boss Aitor Karanka as well as their lack of quality up front, which has continued to hold them back even with caretaker manager Steve Agnew trying to make them more attack-minded.

Seven of City's nine away games against bottom-half teams have gone over 2.5 goals, although often that has involved the opposition scoring too and Boro's ability to contribute is in serious doubt.

Man City to Score in Both Halves

Various options are available based around a City win, but this is the most appealing of them.

Fourteen of City's 19 league wins have featured goals in both halves from them, and to that list can be added City's 2-0 win at the Riverside in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup when they scored after three and 67 minutes.

Ref Watch

Kevin Friend
 tends towards the average among Premier League referees, although his recent card counts have been high with at least 40 bookings points in his last six Premier League games.

Recommended Bet
Back Man City to Score in Both Halves at 1.82

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