Let’s see how Middlesbrough start life without Karanka against United…
Middlesbrough vs Man United
Just a few days ago, Jose Mourinho would have been looking forward to facing old colleague Aitor Karanka when Manchester United travel to the Riverside. The Spaniard was sacked on Thursday, giving ‘Boro little time to prepare for what will be a huge test.
The hosts are notoriously low scorers, so we’re backing United to win with under 2.5 goals. Even accounting for Middlesbrough’s time in the Championship over the past few years, they haven’t beaten the Red Devils in a league game since 2005.
Of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still out through suspension, but Anthony Martial should be recovered from a knock, and Marcus Rashford is likely to lead the line.
Man City vs Liverpool
Liverpool didn’t play particularly well against Burnley last weekend but they still got the three points. That’s the kind of doggedness they need to adopt more regularly. City were shocked by Monaco in midweek, but they are now even more focused on the Premier League.
Last time these two sides met, Liverpool edged it 1-0. That was before their dip in form, however, so goals should be on the cards. Both sides have major defensive problems that neither Pep Guardiola nor Jurgen Klopp seem able to solve, so over 2.5 goals is worth backing here.
Tottenham vs Southampton
If Tottenham haven’t already been tested with injuries this season, they now face another spell without Harry Kane. That could be season-defining.
The good news is Heung-Min Son scored a hat-trick last time out against Millwall, so the South Korean is the man to pick to score first. Southampton might have a few surprise candidates of their own, and if the visitors do come out of the traps and score first – as they did against Spurs in January – then Manolo Gabbiadini will be the likely culprit.