Middlesbrough v Southampton
Saturday 13 May, 15:00


Relegation hurts. It's a horrible thing. And yet it doesn't necessarily mean the side who suffer it immediately down tools.

Sunderland's fate was confirmed with a home loss to Bournemouth a fortnight ago and yet David Moyes' side went to Hull last week and took all three points despite the hosts having by far the greater incentive.

The writing had also been on the wall for Boro but at least they enjoyed some rare cheer with a win at home to Sunderland and a 2-2 draw with Man City before the that's-yer-lot, relegation confirmation defeat at Champions-elect Chelsea.

There's a feeling that at least they've had a go since Steve Agnew took over in mid-March although seven goals in nine games since (average 0.78 per match) is hardly any better than it was under Aitor Karanka (0.70).

One quick fact: Southampton have won more away games (5) than Boro have won home matches (4) this season.


They're still on course for a top-half finish but could still end the campaign as low as 16th if everything went against them.

The pre-League Cup final optimism seems to have faded away for Claude Puel's team and failure to score in four of their last five games - albeit some tough ones - has rather dampened spirits amongst Saints fans.

The 0-0 draw at Anfield was obviously a job well done but the lack of any attacking intent at all hardly enthused the travelling contingent.

However, in what you'd call winnable away games, Saints have actually done rather well with victories at West Brom, Watford and Sunderland in their previous three before the trips to Stamford Bridge and Anfield.

Puel will hope he can recapture some of that after a run of three defeats and two draws in their last five matches.

Match Odds

Middlesbrough are 4.00 to secure just their sixth win from 37 games while Southampton are 2.10 to return south with victory. A draw is 3.55.

Southampton edged the first meeting between the two 1-0 (Sofiane Boufal on 53) but other head-to-head form isn't much of a resource as this is the first time the two have clashed at the Riverside since 2005.

If history is your thing, Saints have won three and drawn one of their last five visits to Middlesbrough.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Middlesbrough cleared 2.5 in the 2-1 loss to Arsenal and 2-2 draw with Man City but the 1-0 win over Sunderland and 0-0 with Burnley help with the idea that this, instinctively, looks like an unders game.

Despite the lame attacking display at Liverpool, previous Southampton away games had actually been quite lively affairs in terms of goals.

Six of the last eight witnessed over 2.5 and that's 2.06 on Saturday.
Unders is the favourite at 1.89 and reflects Saints' loss of mojo.

Both Teams To Score

On Southampton's latest form and the season-long evidence provided by Boro, a 0-0 is possible here. It's an option and has played out in three Middlesbrough home games.

However, BTTS has happened just five times in Boro's last 15 matches so, given that 66% failure rate, I like the odds-against price.

BTTS 'No' is 2.04 and would also have landed in five of Southampton's last six matches.
They've fired blanks in four of those and it's hard to see where their goals are coming from at the moment with Manolo Gabbiadini without one in his last six games.

Ref watch

Anthony Taylor has shown 150 yellows at an average of 3.95 per game this season, flashing four red cards in his 38 matches.

His bookings make-ups at the Riverside are seven (v Accrington) and four (v Arsenal) with home players accounting for six of those 11 yellows.

Southampton haven't given him much bother on their travels and he's shown just two yellows to Saints players in the games at Man Utd (zero) and Stoke (two).

Opta stat

Middlesbrough have failed to score in 17 Premier League games this season, their joint-most in a single campaign (also 2008-09).

Recommended Bet
Back both teams to Score 'No' at 2.04

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