Predictions

Can Boro down the Gunners?

The final Premier League match this weekend sees Arsenal travel to the Riverside to face Middlesbrough.

 

Both sides need the points for different reasons but can Boro down the Gunners?

 

Team News

 

Middlesbrough are boosted by the return of George Friend and Gaston Ramirez, after recovering from calf and ankle injuries respectively.

 

Calum Chambers is ineligble to face his parent club here so will sit this match out.

 

Arsenal are expected to have Laurent Koscielny back from an Achilles injury here. Petr Cech is another possible returnee after recovering from a calf injury.

 

Lucas Perez and David Ospina are both still ruled out.

 

Better turn required

 

Arsenal certainly won’t be relishing another Monday night away game, after last week’s embarrassment at Crystal Palace.

 

Last week, they arrived at Selhurst Park late due to traffic and there is a bit of history in this fixture as well. Ten years ago, the bus took a wrong turn and headed to Darlington en route to the Riverside Stadium.

 

Could lightning strike again with another wrong drive in the North East?

 

Evenly matched

 

Middlesbrough haven’t lost to Arsenal in their last four meetings on Teesside, although the Gunners have scored on each occasion.

 

Out of the current Arsenal squad, only Oliver Giroud has netted against Boro and with their current form, a goal would be a surprise in itself.

 

Prediction

 

Middlesbrough drew their last home match against Burnley but as underdogs will relish this challenge.

 

Boro might have the worst attack in England’s top four divisions with just 22 goals but they have conceded the least, out of those in the bottom half.

 

If Giroud doesn’t make the squad then Arsene Wenger has some real questions to ask about how his side are going to win here.

 

Another late arrival for the visitors and they might as well just go for a draw.

 

I am going to be at the match myself for the first time since December 2015. In six matches that I have seen at the Riverside, Boro have only lost once and that was on my last visit for the 2-0 defeat by Everton in the 2015-16 EFL Cup.

 

The match should be lively with both sides scoring but Middlesbrough will nick this one late on.

 

Prediction: Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal

Result: Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

 

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