Swansea v Middlesbrough: Hosts well-poised to claim crucial victory
Earlier this season it looked as though Middlesbrough were heading for mid-table security while Swansea battled the drop. But as we enter the business end of the campaign, the two sides are heading for a role-reversal.
Since the turn of the year, the Swans have more than doubled their points tally, and now sit outside of the drop zone.
Middlesbrough meanwhile, are winless since defeating the Welsh outfit in the reverse tie in December, and have slipped into the bottom three as a result.
Importantly for Swansea, they’ve become much-improved on home soil since Paul Clement succeeded Bob Bradley.
They’ve won each of their last three at the Liberty Stadium, while managerless Boro have claimed just one away success all year, coming at rivals Sunderland way back in August.
All told, we’re a little surprised Swansea aren’t a shorter price to win this one.
Boro were somewhat improved in their last outing versus Manchester United, but Steve Agnew has a major task at hand transforming this goal-shy side.
With the Teessiders netting just four goals in 11 league games, there could be plenty of sense in backing Swansea to keep a clean sheet at 11/8.
Similarly, with 18 of Boro’s fixtures this year witnessing under 2.5 goals, backing another low-scoring affair looks smart.
If Swansea are to stay up this season, then they’ll need Gylfi Sigurdsson to keep producing the goods.
With eight goals and 11 assists, the Iceland international has been simply vital to the Swans’ efforts, and looks well priced at 8/5 to score anytime.
Similarly they need Fernando Llorente to keep scoring too, and the experienced Spaniard is 4/1 favourite to break the deadlock.
The 32-year-old has scored five times in his last eight games, and certainly enjoys home comforts, with eight of his 11 league strikes coming at the Liberty Stadium.
If Boro are to secure a rare goal, Alvaro Negredo scored twice in the December meeting at the Riverside, and is 12/5 to net anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing