Preview - Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium

When and where?

Middlesbrough v West Ham United
Premier League
Saturday 21 January 2017, 3pm GMT
Riverside Stadium

What’s the story?

West Ham United make their first trip to Middlesbrough in five years on Saturday as Slaven Bilic’s men look to make it back-to-back Premier League wins.

Boro ended a seven-year absence from the top flight when they finished second in the Sky Bet Championship last term, pipping Brighton & Hove Albion to the second automatic promotion slot.

Aitor Karanka’s success in leading the club back to the Premier League came just a year after they suffered the bitter disappointment of defeat to Norwich City in the play-off final.

They’ve made a decent start to life back at the top table, with 20 points from their first 21 games leaving them 16th in the table – a place above last season’s champions Leicester City.

Karanka’s team have been frugal at the back this term – 22 goals conceded gives them the joint-fourth meanest defence in the division – but they have been equally economical with their goals scored. 17 is the fewest scored by any Premier League team in 2016/17.

Their two league games of 2017 have both ended goalless, against Leicester and Watford, while their meeting with the Hammers back in October also ended in stalemate, with Dimitri Payet cancelling out Cristian Stuani’s opener.

The Hammers bounced back from defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City with a comprehensive beating of Crystal Palace last weekend.

Sofiane Feghouli, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini were all on target to help fire the Hammers up to 12th in the Premier League standings, just four points behind West Bromwich Albion in eighth.

Team news

Andy Carroll is expected to recover from a whiplash injury sustained against Crystal Palace in time to take on Boro, while the Hammers will also hope that Winston Reid, Sofiane Feghouli and Sam Byram shake off knocks.

Dimitri Payet will not be involved, while Alvaro Arbeloa, Arthur Masuaku and Gokhan Tore are all injured.

New Middlesbrough signing Patrick Bamford could feature in Saturday’s game. The striker joins from Chelsea having enjoyed an excellent 2014/15 season on loan with Boro.

Gaston Ramirez and Antonio Barragan are injured, while Daniel Ayala will miss the game due to suspension.

Any links between the two?

Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing spent two years with the Hammers between 2013 and 2015, scoring seven goals in his 69 league games for the Club.

He left the Boleyn Ground to rejoin his hometown club in the summer of 2015 and helped them win promotion last term.

The Hammers won 2-0 on their last trip to Middlesbrough, when goals from Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole sealed victory.

How do I get to the game?

Click here for directions to Riverside Stadium.

The latest news on the trains can be found here, and click here for up-to-the-minute traffic news.

How can I watch the game?

The match is not being broadcast live in the UK. However, you can follow all the action as it happens with our Match Centre. With live audio commentary, social media updates, and in-running stats and photos, it is the place to catch all the action.