Middlesbrough V West Ham Opta Preview


The Riverside

Saturday 19th May, 2001West Ham United37Games37 ATTACKING 42Goals scored441.14Ave goals per game1.1945%Shooting Accuracy46%12%Goals to shots %10% PASSING 13198Passes1331669%Pass completion %69% DEFENDING 72%Tackle success rate %70%43Goals conceded481.16Ave goals conceded per game1.30 DISCIPLINE 540Fouls49374Yellow cards696Red cards2
Middlesbrough v West Ham

Anti-climax maybe, but after flirting with relegation during the past few weeks, it will be of significant relief to both Middlesbrough and West Ham that this fixture can be branded 'of no real importance'.

Of more concern to the travelling Hammers contingent will be the small matter of who is going to take over the managerial reigns following Harry Redknapp's departure last week. And equally perturbing, which players will leave as a result.

Frank Lampard reportedly stated that he would not play for the club again after his father was sacked as coach, however he would have missed the trip to the Riverside with a groin strain anyway. On a more positive note, homegrown youngster Joe Cole has pledged to stay at Upton Park.

Like most of the West Ham squad, Cole has experienced highs and lows this term, but he is undeniably a key asset to the team. Middlesbrough cannot afford the 'EastEnder' too much space on Sunday, as he thrives on beating defenders and has completed 68% of his dribbles and runs this term.

Boro will be relying on the dual tough-tackling abilities of Paul Okon and Paul Ince to stop Cole in his tracks. The duo have attempted more than 150 challenges this season, winning 69% apiece in the Reds' desperate quest for points. And while Terry Venables considers his future at The Riverside, the fans will be pleased to hear that Okon is ready to extend his current contract for a further year.

Meanwhile, the only incentive for the home side on Sunday is that a win would lift them above the visitors in the table, however an average of just 1.14 strikes per game implies that goals have not been overly easy to come by. The situation is made worse by the fact that top scorer Alen Boksic is doubtful with a hamstring injury and Colombian Hamilton Ricard is definitely ruled out, requiring a hernia operation.

This news will no doubt ease the pressure on a Hammers back line that has conceded almost half-a-century of league goals this year. However, they did manage to keep a clean sheet - one of just eight this season - when the two sides met back in December. The odds on this game ending goalless after 90 minutes are 8/1.

Enigmatic hitman Paolo Di Canio put the ball in the back of the net that day and the Italian is calling for an improved work ethic from the side: "We must believe in ourselves more, because we have real quality in our squad and we have fantastic players. Next year we have to play more as a unit, we have to watch the teams like Ipswich who succeeded off the back of team-work."

But before new foundations can be put in place at either Middlesbrough or West Ham, both clubs need to address their respective managerial dilemmas. And this is the issue that will dominate the feeling at this clash.

Mark Willis

Matchday Referee: P Durkin

Paul Durkin presides over this 'routine' fixture and will be expecting a trouble-free afternoon. Middlesbrough may have seen six players dismissed during a turbulent campaign, but with the pressure off, a free-flowing game should ensue. This theory is encouraged more by the fact that Durkin averages 14 fouls per card shown - the lowest rate of any regular top-flight official.

Referee's Name  FoulsPenaltiesYellow CardsRed CardsAve Disc pointsP Durkin621740236.86PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD
click below for in-depth comparisonInce v Cole

Boro have a doubt over Curtis Fleming (hamstring) while Keith O'Neill (back) and Gianluca Festa (groin) definitely miss out along with strikers Alen Boksic and Hamilton Ricard. That could mean Argentinian teenager Carlos Marinelli will be given a rare start. Jermaine Defoe could be handed his Premiership debut for the Hammers after a successful loan spell at Bournemouth, possibly replacing Paolo di Canio, who is back in Italy recovering after a sinus operation. With Igor Stimac also ruled out, Shaun Byrne and Scott Minto have been added to the squad.

click on links below to place a wagerMatch Result Middlesbrough10/11Draw9/4West Ham5/2Correct Score Middlesbrough 1-06/1Middlesbrough 2-07/1Middlesbrough 2-17/1Middlesbrough 3-014/1Middlesbrough 3-114/1Middlesbrough 3-225/1Middlesbrough 4-040/1Middlesbrough 4-133/1Middlesbrough 4-250/1Middlesbrough 5-0100/1Middlesbrough 5-1100/1Draw 0-08/1Draw 1-111/2Draw 2-214/1Draw 3-350/1West Ham 1-08/1West Ham 2-014/1West Ham 2-112/1West Ham 3-040/1West Ham 3-133/1West Ham 3-233/1West Ham 4-0100/1West Ham 4-1100/1West Ham 4-2100/1Half Time/Full Time Middlesbrough/Middlesbrough9/4Middlesbrough/Draw16/1Middlesbrough/West Ham33/1Draw/Middlesbrough7/2Draw/Draw7/2Draw/West Ham13/2West Ham/Middlesbrough25/1West Ham/Draw16/1West Ham/West Ham11/2First Goalscorer D Windass11/2J Desire-Job7/1B Deane7/1N Whelan9/1K O'neill10/1P Ince16/1C Marinelli16/1Karembeu16/1P Stamp16/1P Okon20/1Gavin20/1R Stockdale20/1D Gordon33/1R Mustoe33/1U Ehiogu33/1C Cooper50/1S Vickers50/1No Goalscorer8/1F Kanoute6/1K Diawara13/2Todorov7/1D Suker8/1J Cole16/1Carrick16/1S Pearce25/1Bassila33/1C Dailly40/1Foxe40/1S Potts50/1S Schemmel50/1R Song50/1For all these bets + much more go now to Hammers Bet

By Road:

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