Simon Mail previews this weekend's Premier League clash at Middlesbrough where Tottenham are worth backing to claim the points...
"Tottenham come in as 2.0621/20 favourites and the visitors have every chance of taking maximum points from the Riverside Stadium. Spurs have won their last three games in domestic competitions and dismantled Stoke in their last away trip."
Middlesbrough 4.216/5 v Tottenham 2.0621/20; The Draw 3.55
The newly-promoted side have made a decent start to life back in the Premier League with five points from as many games. Aitor Karanka's team were unbeaten in their opening three matches with the undoubted highlight coming with the derby victory at rivals Sunderland. This early win has set Boro on the right path as they seek to maintain their status in the top flight this season.
There has been a reality check in recent weeks, with back-to-back league defeats against Crystal Palace and Everton, although Boro always knew it was going to be a challenge after winning promotion. Some astute signings, such as experienced Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes, suggest the squad may have enough quality to ensure they avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
Spurs have made an unbeaten start in the league and without hitting top form are showing signs of the quality which saw them challenge for the title last season. Mauricio Pochettino's side are third in the table with three wins and two draws so far. Their only defeat came to Monaco in the Champions League with Europe adding a new challenge to their schedule this year.
Tottenham turned on the style in their last away match as they trounced Stoke City 4-0. The Lilywhites also defeated Sunderland 1-0 last weekend in a one-sided match which flattered their opponents. The match did come at a cost though, with Harry Kane suffering an ankle injury which will sideline him for some time. At least the team did not miss him too much in their 5-0 midweek win over Gillingham in the EFL Cup.
Tottenham come in as 2.0621/20 favourites and the visitors have every chance of taking maximum points from the Riverside Stadium. Spurs have won their last three games in domestic competitions and dismantled Stoke in their last away trip. With momentum on their side, Tottenham will take some stopping and are a very fair price to claim the victory ahead of their Champions League match with CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
Middlesbrough are available at 4.216/5 to pick up their first home win of the campaign. But the side are without a victory in four games in all competitions and this is not the fixture they would want looking to end this run. The hosts are no pushovers but failed to beat Stoke and Palace at home so there is no temptation to back them.
The draw is around the 3.55 mark and this could carry some support with both teams held twice in their opening five league games. Boro will probably drop quite deep and view a point as a strong result against Tottenham. However the visitors have the quality to break them down and ultimately backing Spurs to prevail appeals more than supporting the stalemate.
Both teams to score
Middlesbrough have only failed to score in one of their matches this season so Karanka's side will feel they probably have at least a goal in them this weekend. That said, Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in their last three victories so Pochettino's side have a solidity to them which could easily frustrate the hosts. Both teams to score is available at 1.981/1 but this could be worth laying with Spurs quite capable of shutting out the hosts.
Graham Scott will officiate this weekend's game and is a relatively unknown quantity at the highest level with this being his first Premier League match of the season. He's dished out a couple of penalties in his six games since August and one red card.
Back Tottenham to win at 2.0621/20
Middlesbrough have scored more Premier League goals against Spurs, 37 in 28 games, than they have against any other side. The hosts are 5.49/2 to score in both halves.
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