Preview: Middlesbrough v Manchester City

Middlesbrough know anything less than three points at home to Manchester City on Sunday will edge them a step closer to relegation.

Premier League
30 April 2017
Matchday 35
Kickoff: 15:05
Venue: Riverside Stadium

Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: H. Lennard, A. Garratt
Fourth official: L. Mason

Head-to-head summary:

Middlesbrough 104 40 21 43
Manchester City 104 43 21 40

Previous encounter:

Middlesbrough 0-2 Manchester City (11/03/2017) FA Cup

Manchester City goalscorers: D. Silva (3′), S. Aguero (67′)

Players to watch:

Álvaro Negredo has been a shining light in a dismal season for Middlesbrough, although a return of eight goals in 32 league games doesn’t seem impressive. But, considering the club’s dire position on the league standings, the striker has done well in his first season for the club.

Sergio Aguero should be looking forward to facing Middlesbrough to increase his goal tally of 17 goals in 27 league matches. The Boro haven’t by any means been the biggest goal-conceding team this term, but City’s attacking might will surely be too much for their hosts this weekend.

Team form and manager quotes:

Boro come into this match with relegation a near-certainty, second from bottom, and seven points from safety. But after going eight games without a win, they finally secured all three points in their defeat of Sunderland last week.

City on the other hand, are in fourth place with 65 points, just one behind Liverpool.

Their form though has been inconsistent in recent weeks, with the club drawing three, before a loss and two wins, ahead of drawing with Manchester United in their last game.

Ahead of the match, Boro boss Steve Agnew said: “We know the situation we’re in now and that we have to win more matches.

“It’s another all or nothing match, but we’re used to that in recent weeks.

“We know we’re playing against a top team and coach.

“I’ve admired Pep [Guardiola] for many years. His team pass the ball and are very good in possession, with lots of movement. They have talent all over the pitch and can score goals for fun.

“But when we went to the Etihad we came away with a point, and in the FA Cup game we worked hard and had chances on the day.

“We’re under different pressures in this league and it’s got the makings of a very good fixture.”

Team news:

Gaston Ramirez returns for Middlesbrough following his suspension but Daniel Ayala (ankle) is a doubt as Victor Valdes (ribs) and Grant Leadbitter (hamstring) is out.

Manchester City have goalkeeper Claudio Bravo injured while there will be late fitness tests for David Silva and John Stones, while Bacary Sagna returns a number of weeks out.