Middlesbrough match preview

West Ham United v Middlesbrough
Barclays Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Sunday 24 May
Referee: Howard Webb

• West Ham United welcome Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough for the club's 19th and final home fixture of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• Gianfranco Zola's side go into the match in ninth place in the Barclays Premier League table. West Ham have 48 points from their 37 matches and sit three points behind eighth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. The Hammers need to win this afternoon, for Spurs to lose at second-placed Liverpool, and hope for a seven-goal swing in their favour to finish eighth. West Ham also need to secure victory to ensure they finish above tenth-placed Manchester City, who go into their final match at home to Bolton Wanderers a point behind Zola's team.

• Middlesbrough go into the game knowing only a victory will be good enough to give them a chance of extending their eleven-year stay in the Barclays Premier League. Boro are three points adrift of 17th-placed Hull City, who host champions Manchester United. Southgate's side need to win, hope Hull and and Newcastle United - who travel to Aston Villa - both lose, and hope for a five-goal swing in their favour to stay up. Defeat, combined with a victory for West Bromwich Albion, or a four goal defeat combined with a West Bromwich Albion draw, would see Boro finish bottom of the table.

• West Ham have won eight home league matches (Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Fulham, Hull City, Manchester City and Sunderland), drawn two (Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion) and lost eight (Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool).

• This will be the fourth meeting between West Ham and Middlesbrough this season. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Riverside on Saturday 1 November. Both goalscorers that day, Hayden Mullins and Mido, have since moved on to pastures new. Mullins joined Portsmouth permanently in January, while Mido moved to Wigan on loan. The Hammers and Boro also met in the FA Cup fifth round, drawing 1-1 at the Boleyn Ground on Valentine's Day, with Herita Ilunga equalising Stewart Downing's opener. Middlesbrough won the replay 2-0 at the Riverside on Wednesday 25 February through goals from Downing and Tuncay Sanli.

• In ten Barclays Premier League matches between the two sides at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham have won eight, Middlesbrough one and there has been one draw. Boro have scored just twice in those ten matches, while the Hammers have hit the net 16 times.

• This is the 56th league meeting between the two sides. Both teams have tasted victory 22 times, while there have been eleven draws.

• The match will be screened live by Setanta Sports. It is the 18th time the Hammers have been selected for live television coverage this season.

• The new Hammer of the Year will be announced on the pitch after the final whistle, before the team do a lap of the pitch to say thanks to fans. More than 10,000 supporters have had their say via whufc.com and those votes will be added to others received by the club to confirm the 2009/10 winner. Voting is thought to be very close between three main candidates. The Young Hammer of the Year and the most improved player will also be honoured.

• The Barclays Premier League will confirm the fixtures for the 2009/10 season at 10am on 17 June with matches beginning from Saturday 15 August. West Ham United will stage the Bobby Moore Cup against yet to be confirmed opposition on Saturday 8 August.


• The referee will be Howard Webb.

• Considered to be one of the Barclays Premier League's top referees, Howard Webb began officiating in Yorkshire in 1989, moving on to the Northern Counties East League four years later.

• Webb was appointed as a Football League assistant referee in 1996, fulfilling the same role in the Barclays Premier League in 1998.

• The 37-year-old took charge of his first Barclays Premier League match as a referee in October 2003, and has since been the man-in-the-middle for a host of high-profile fixtures.

• Webb refereed the 2005 FA Community Shield, 2006 FA Trophy final and 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, as well as taking charge of his first UEFA Champions League match in 2006.

• The former police officer was referee for the 2007 Carling Cup final and was selected as England's representative at Euro 2008, taking charge of the first match of the tournament between Austria and Poland and the Group D fixture between Greece and eventual champions Spain.

• This season, Webb has taken charge of two West Ham United matches, the 3-0 loss at Manchester City in August and the 2-0 home win over Hull City in late January.

• Webb will take charge of this season's FA Cup final at Wembley next Saturday and is on the provisional list of referees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

• Webb has issued 117 yellow cards and six red cards in 34 Premier League fixtures this season.

Last time out

Saturday 16 May 2009
Barclays Premier League
Everton 3-1 West Ham United
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Kovac (Stanislas 67), Collison, Di Michele (Spector 46), Boa Morte, Tristan (Cole 46)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Savio
Booked: Spector, Boa Morte
Sent-off: Tomkins
Goal: Kovac 24

Saturday 16 May 2009
Barclays Premier League
Middlesbrough 1-1 Aston Villa
Middlesbrough: Jones, Bates, Wheater, Huth, Hoyte, O'Neil (Walker 72), Adam Johnson, Arca, Downing (King 23), Sanli, Emnes
Subs not used: Turnbull, Taylor, Shawky, McMahon, Grounds
Goal: Tuncay 14

West Ham United

• West Ham go into the match seeking their second consecutive top-half Barclays Premier League finish after ending the 2007/08 season in tenth position with 49 points. Victory today would see the Hammers finish at least ninth on 51 points, the same position they achieved in 2005/06. A win, combined with a Tottenham defeat and a seven-goal swing in the Hammers' favour, would see West Ham finish eighth.

• The Hammers have never lost at home on the final day of a Barclays Premier League season. In nine final day matches at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham have won four and drawn five:
1993/94 - Southampton (H) 3-3, finished 13th
1994/95 - Manchester United (H) 1-1, 14th
1995/96 - Sheffield Wednesday (H) 1-1, 10th
1996/97 - Manchester United (A) 0-2, 14th
1997/98 - Leicester City (H) 4-3, 8th
1998/99 - Middlesbrough (H) 4-0, 5th
1999/00 - Leeds United (H) 0-0, 9th
2000/01 - Middlesbrough (A) 1-2, 15th
2001/02 - Bolton Wanderers (H) 2-1, 7th
2002/03 - Birmingham City (A) 2-2, 18th
2005/06 - Tottenham Hotspur (H) 2-1, 9th
2006/07 - Manchester United (A) 1-0, 15th
2007/08 - Aston Villa (H) 2-2, 10th

• On the final day of the 1997/98 season, West Ham beat Leicester City 4-3 at the Boleyn Ground to climb from ninth to eighth in the Barclays Premier League table.

• West Ham's biggest home win over Middlesbrough came on the final day of the 1998/99 season. The Hammers beat Boro 4-0 on 16 May 1999, with the goals being scored by Frank Lampard, Marc Keller and a late brace from Trevor Sinclair.

• The Hammers have not lost a final day fixture in the Barclays Premier League since Middlesbrough beat them 2-1 at the Riverside on 19 May 2001.

• West Ham are unbeaten in seven home fixtures against Middlesbrough, a run stretching back to 29 April 2000, when Boro won 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers have won the last six league meetings between the two in east London.

• Carlton Cole is West Ham's top scorer in the Premier League this season with nine goals. He has eleven in all competitions.

• Goalkeeper Robert Green is the only West Ham player to have played every minute of the club's 37 Premier League matches so far this season. Matthew Upson has started 36 games, Herita Ilunga 34 and Lucas Neill 33.

• West Ham United statistics leaders:
Total shots - Carlton Cole 74
Shots on target - Carlton Cole 45
Shots off target - Carlton Cole 29
Assists - Carlton Cole/Mark Noble 5
Crosses - Mark Noble 35
Offsides - Carlton Cole 28
Fouls - Carlton Cole 64
Free-kicks won - Valon Behrami 70
Defensive clearances - Matthew Upson 60
Defensive blocks - Matthew Upson 30


• Middlesbrough are on the worst run of away form in their 133-year history. Boro have lost their last eleven Barclays Premier League away matches. The last time Gareth Southgate's team avoided defeat on their travels in the top-flight was on 16 November, when they drew 1-1 at Everton.

• The last time Middlesbrough avoided defeat away from home in any competition was the 1-1 draw they gained in the FA Cup fifth round at West Ham on Valentine's Day.

• Middlesbrough's biggest ever win at the Boleyn Ground came on 8 September 1930, when Boro left with a 3-0 victory.

• Middlesbrough have gone a Barclays Premier League-high 36 matches without winning consecutive games.

• As a team, Middlesbrough average 15.22 shots per goal, the highest in the Barclays Premier League.

• Middlesbrough's leading scorer is Tuncay Sanli, who has hit the net seven times in the Barclays Premier League and eight in all competitions.

• Should he start, Julio Arca will be making his 200th start in English league football.

• Marlon King has been caught offside 66 times this season, more than any other player in the Barclays Premier League.

• Stewart Downing has taken 70 shots in the Barclays Premier League without scoring, more than any other player. However, Downing did score in both the FA Cup fifth round tie and replay against West Ham in February.

• Middlesbrough statistics leaders:
Total shots - Afonso Alves 89
Shots on target - Afonso Alves 54
Shots off target - Stewart Downing 37
Assists - Stewart Downing 4
Crosses - Stewart Downing 148
Offsides - Afonso Alves 29
Fouls - Tuncay Sanli 38
Free-kicks won - Tuncay Sanli 57
Defensive clearances - Robert Huth 39
Defensive blocks - Robert Huth 29

Team news

• Zola could welcome back England attacker Kieron Dyer after the 30-year-old returned to full training this week following a minor muscle injury.

• Wales defender Danny Gabbidon has provided Zola with a huge boost as he returned to full training. He has not played a senior game since the Carling Cup quarter-final defeat by Everton in December 2007.

• England striker Carlton Cole could return to Zola's starting lineup after returning from a groin injury as a half-time substitute in last Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Everton. Cole had originally been hurt in England's 4-0 friendly victory over Slovakia at Wembley on 28 March.

• England striker Dean Ashton is making good progress as he continues his rehabilitation following a long-term ankle injury. The 25-year-old is expected to be fit to start pre-season training with his team-mates in early July.

• Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami has been working hard at Chadwell Heath as he continues his recovery from the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered against Manchester City on 1 March. He hopes to return to full training in August.

• Scott Parker will not be available this weekend. The England midfielder has been sidelined with a groin problem since the goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion at the Boleyn Ground on 16 March.

• Wales defender James Collins is out of action with a calf strain suffered in the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on 18 April.

• Zola will definitely be without central defender James Tomkins. The 20-year-old is suspended for one match after being sent-off at Everton last weekend. Tomkins will hope to play again this season if selected alongside club-mate Mark Noble for this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Sweden. Tomkins has been capped at U20 level this season.

• Middlesbrough will be without England winger Stewart Downing, who suffered a right foot injury in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at the Riverside. Downing will need to undergo surgery to have a pin inserted in his injured foot.

• Boro are expected to have midfielder Gary O'Neil available after the former England Under-21 shook off a hip injury. O'Neil limped off against Villa but scans have shown no serious damage was done.

• England Under-21 defender David Wheater will play his final game before undergoing a knee operation to repair damaged cartilage. Wheater's injury will rule him out of next month's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Sweden.

• Record signing Afonso Alves, the Brazilian striker, will miss the game with a broken foot.

• Central defender Chris Riggott is also a long-term absentee due to a knee injury suffered in the 1-0 defeat by Manchester City in February.

Last meeting

• The teams met in an FA Cup fifth-round replay at the Riverside on Wednesday 25 February. Boro secured a 2-0 victory thanks to first half goals from Stewart Downing and Tuncay Sanli.

• The lineups were:

Middlesbrough: Jones, Hoyte, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, O'Neil, Bates, Arca (Walker 88), Downing, Sanli (A.Johnson 81), Aliadiere (Emnes 67)
Subs not used: Turnbull, Taylor, Alves, McMahon
Booked: O'Neil

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Collison 56), Kovac (Tristan 69), Cole, Sears (Di Michele 57)
Subs not used Lastuvka, Spector, Lopez, Savio
Booked: Behrami

Attendance: 15,602

Old boys

• Middlesbrough striker Jeremie Aliadiere spent four months on loan at West Ham United from Arsenal between August and December 2005. The Frenchman failed to score in eight appearances for the Hammers, making his solitary start in the 2-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic on 31 December 2005. Aliadiere joined Middlesbrough in June 2007 and has since made 65 appearances for Boro, scoring eight goals.

• Among the players who have represented both clubs are Brian Deane and Robbie Stockdale.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

FA Cup fifth-round replay, 25 February 2009 - Middlesbrough 2-0 West Ham United
FA Cup fifth round, 14 February 2009 - West Ham United 1-1 Middlesbrough
1 November 2008 - Middlesbrough 1-1 West Ham United
22 December 2007 - Middlesbrough 1-2 West Ham United
15 September 2007 - West Ham United 3-0 Middlesbrough
31 March 2007 - West Ham United 2-0 Middlesbrough

Overall record v Middlesbrough (all competitions) W 24 D 13 L 24

Travel information

• The London Underground Jubilee line will be suspended between North Greenwich and Stratford. A rail replacement bus service will operate between the two stations, calling at Canning Town and West Ham.

• The Docklands Light Railway will be suspended between East India and Prince Regent and between East India and London City Airport. Four rail replacement buses will operate. For full details, visit tfl.gov.uk

• Due to the Southend Airshow, c2c services via Laindon and Ockendon will run to different times all day. For full timetable details, visit c2c-online.co.uk

• Engineering works will take place on National Express East Anglia services between London Liverpool Street and Ilford. As a result, a bus service will run between Romford and Newbury Park London Underground station on the Central line. For full details visit nationalexpressanglia.com

General information

• Tickets for the match are on general sale. For more information, click here

• Saturday's weather forecast is for a sunny day with a maximum daytime temperature of 21C.