The term ‘6 pointer’ begins to get bandied about at this point of the season, Swansea have already been on the winning end of the first these all important matches when beating Sunderland a fortnight ago and today they face North-East opposition once again in the form of Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough.
It’s 17th plays 18th this Afternoon at The Riverside Stadium and both sides are in desperate need for a win as their league positions would reflect. For Middlesbrough it’s back to back defeats and more importantly a severe lack of goals while for Swansea it’s seemingly an aversion to keeping clean sheets.
Even if keeping a clean sheet is too much to ask for then the fact that they are conceding at least three goals with worrying regularity has to be an obvious cause for concern for Head Coach Bob Bradley. They have conceded 12 in their last four matches although bizarrely enough that spell has also warranted two wins so one thing that is for sure I wouldn’t expect this to be a nil-nil draw this afternoon.
But if Swansea have concerns at the back then Middlesbrough have concerns up front. They are the league’s lowest scorers with just 13 goals in their first 16 matches and Wednesday night saw them register their successive blank when they were handed out a 3-0 defeat to the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
The only saving grace for Middlesbrough is that they aren’t giving away all that much at the other end but it’s a failure to find the net which is beginning to be their undoing as they continues they slide down the table. Alvaro Negredo has only scored twice this season and for someone who is earning a reported £100k a week then you would be fair enough in asking for a bit more of a return on your investment.
But with a Swansea side being so pourous at the back then there is every chance that Negredo could add to his small tally of goals this afternoon and if he watched highlights of Swansea’s defeat to West Brom on Wednesday then he will know that it might be use to use his head. That’s because Swansea conceded a hat-trick of headers courtesy of Venezuelan Solomon Rondon.
That highlighted a definite weak spot but then you could say that about the whole of Swansea’s team as of late. Unless they win by 5 clear goals then they won’t be getting out of the bottom three even with a win this afternoon but if they were to win at The Riverside Stadium that would add even more pressure on this stuttering Middlesbrough side. That said I’m going to go for a draw as I think both teams will be happy with a point, the home side probably more so. A share of the points for me.