Middlesbrough vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction

Leeds United will be desperate to rediscover their best when they travel to Middlesbrough on Monday night.

With just three games left this season in the EFL Championship, Leeds United will be keen to rediscover their winning touch when they travel to the Riverside Stadium Middlesbrough on Monday night.

Daniel Farke’s men are currently on a three-game winless streak and have surrendered any advantage they might have had thanks to Ipswich Town and Leicester City’s struggles. The Whites now find themselves in third spot and in real danger of missing out on automatic promotion.

Leicester City won their home game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, meaning Leeds cannot do with anything lesser than three points at the Riverside Stadium. They will hope to stand a good chance of doing so given that Middlesbrough are mathematically out of the reckoning for a playoff spot and have little to play for this season.

Boro are on a nine-game unbeaten run in the league and recently held Ipswich Town to a stalemate. While only side on the night has something tangible to play for, the Riverside will not make life easier for the team from Yorkshire.

As Middlesbrough gear up for their second-to-last home fixture of the season, there is reason for optimism with their recent defensive performances. They have kept three consecutive clean sheets at the Riverside, shutting out Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday, and Swansea City.

Leeds United experienced a remarkable run from January to April, amassing an impressive 41 points from 15 matches. However, their form has dipped lately, earning just one point from their last three games, including losses to Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers.

Leeds now have the opportunity to leapfrog Ipswich Town in the standings with a victory against Middlesbrough. The Whites are motivated to bounce back from recent setbacks and have a favourable head-to-head record against Middlesbrough, winning their last three meetings. Middlesbrough’s last victory against Leeds dates back to 2018, before Patrick Bamford’s move to Elland Road.

The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics


Unfortunately, Middlesbrough still have several players sidelined due to various injuries. Hayden Hackney, Riley McGree, Marcus Forss, Dael Fry, Josh Coburn, Tom Smith, and Darragh Lenihan are all unavailable. Additionally, Tom Glover has undergone finger surgery and will be out for the remainder of the season.

Michael Carrick faces an additional challenge this week with the absence of Sam Greenwood and Luke Ayling, both of whom are ineligible to play against their parent club. However, there is hope that Paddy McNair will return from a hamstring injury.

Boro are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Seny Dieng in goal. He is likely to be protected by the back four of Anfernee Dijksteel, Rav van den Berg, Matthew Clarke, and Lukas Engel.

Jonny Howson and Lewis O’Brien should form the double pivot, giving the trio of Isaiah Jones, Finn Azaz and Samuel Silvera the freedom to push forward. Emmanuel Latte Lath scored against Ipswich Town last time around and should retain his spot at the head of the Middlesbrough attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dieng; Dijksteel, Van den Berg, Clarke, Engel; O’Brien, Howson; Jones, Azaz, Silvera; Latte Lath

Middlesbrough vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction.

Leeds United

Daniel Farke faces an unavoidable alteration in the defensive setup, with Connor Roberts sidelined due to a recurring muscular injury sustained during his recent international duty with Wales. This setback rules Roberts out for at least two matches.

In Roberts’s absence, Archie Gray, who recently was crowned the Championship’s Young Player of the Season, could reprise the right-back role. Both Darko Gyabi and Pascal Struijk underwent season-ending groin surgeries and will be unavailable.

Farke’s assistant Christopher John faces disciplinary issues, having been sent off and charged with improper conduct during the Blackburn defeat. The visitors are expected to reprise their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Illan Meslier in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Archie Gray, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon, and Junior Firpo.

Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara should hold the fort, freeing up Wilfried Gnonto, Georginio Rutter, and Crysencio Summerville to push forward. Joel Piroe should get the nod upfront with former Boro star Patrick Bamford settling for a spot on the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Gray, Ampadu, Rodon, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe

Middlesbrough vs Leeds United: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • A loss on the night will see Middlesbrough lose four straight games against Leeds United for the first time ever.
  • Leeds United have failed to win three of their last four trips to the Riverside Stadium. However, they came out on top in their latest visit in 2020.
  • Leeds United have won just two of their last ten home league games against teams from Yorkshire.
  • Failing to win on the night will extend Leeds United’s winless streak in the league to four games, their most this season.

Player to Watch

Georginio Rutter

Embed from Getty Images

With 23 goal contributions in 42 league games, Rutter has been a sensational addition to the Leeds United roster this season. He will once again reprise the number 10 role as Daniel Farke attempts to regain their best form

Rutter has looked out of sorts over the last three games, more or less coinciding with Leeds’s poor run of form. As long as he regains his mojo, the West Yorkshire side will be reasonably confident of getting the job done.


Middlesbrough 1-2 Leeds United

While Middlesbrough is a difficult place to go to, it is now or never for Leeds United. Daniel Farke and Co. will need to throw the kitchen sink at their opponents in the final three games and hope both Ipswich Town and Leicester City drop points.

They cannot afford to not come away with anything less than maximum points from the Riverside Stadium. Given Middlesbrough’s injury problems and what is at stake, The Hard Tackle expect a 2-1 win for the visitors.

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