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Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction



Middlesbrough will take the long trip down to the South Coast on Saturday afternoon looking to keep their Premier League survival hopes alive against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.

Without a win in 16 Premier League games and six points adrift of safety with only six games to play in the current season, anything less than three points on Saturday could prove fatal for the visitors.

The Cherries, on the other hand, sit seven points clear of the relegation spots and could all-but secure their top-flight status with a win at the hands of struggling Middlesbrough.

See below for The Boot Room’s comprehensive preview of a huge clash at the bottom of the table.

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The only team in the Premier League without a victory in their last nine games – Middlesbrough’s winless run extends back to December – it’s not been an easy ride for head coach Steve Agnew.

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Three 0-0 draws since the middle of February have summed up their entire season; disciplined and miserly at the back, but struggling to find the goals at the other end to win many matches.

Defeats to relegation rivals Crystal Palace and Hull damaged their survival credentials hugely over the past two months but they showed a slight resolve in the narrow defeat to Arsenal on Monday.

Bournemouth have continued their erratic run of form this season, going on a five-match unbeaten in March – including credible away draws at both Old Trafford and Anfield – but consecutive heavy losses to Chelsea and Tottenham have brought the Cherries back down to Earth.

Seven points clear of Swansea City in the relegation spots at the moment, with basement boys Sunderland still to play, Eddie Howe’s side should have enough to secure their survival this season.

Team News

For the hosts, the big team news from the week is that on-loan midfielder Jack Wilshere is ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a hairline leg fracture during the defeat to Tottenham.

This paves the way for 20-year-old Lewis Cook to make only his second start of the season, with the central midfielder coming on as a substitute for Wilshere at White Hart Lane last weekend.

Middlesbrough could be set to start Adama Traore at the Vitality after he impressed after coming on during the second-half against Arsenal, replacing Marten de Roon on the right-wing.

Ex-Manchester United and Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes could also return in the place of Brad Guzan, whilst George Friend is expected to make only his third appearance since January after injury.

Predicted Line-Ups

Match Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Middlesbrough

During their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Monday night, Middlesbrough actually showed some fight that hasn’t been seen at the Riverside this season, pushing the top four hopefuls all the way to the end.

Yet their inability to be clinical inside the area – both Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson should have scored from set-pieces – cost them once again, and it’s this lack of goals that could send them down.

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There’s no better place to go to than Bournemouth to find the back of the net, however, with the hosts conceding the third-worst (63) amount of goals in the league this season, and if Middlesbrough are to stand any chance whatsoever of remaining in the Premier League then they need to push for a win.

With the visitors desperately needing three points it could transpire to be an extremely open game at the Vitality on Saturday, and it’s not out of the question that Boro keep themselves in the hunt a little longer.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.


Junior Stanislas winner cliches Premier League survival for Bournemouth

The Cherries came from behind to beat West Brom on Saturday.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Bournemouth fought back from 1-0 down to secure a vital three points against West Bromwich Albion, as they took a huge step towards Premier League survival.

It wasn’t the best performance from the Cherries, but one player to standout was Junior Stanislas. The winger has been in good form during recent weeks and scored the winning goal on Saturday with a superb free-kick from range.

The 28-year-old is reaching the peak years of his career and he will want to be a regular starter in the top-flight. Bournemouth are a good fit for him, as there are no superstars and the team is greater than the sum of its parts. There are sprinklings of quality throughout and Stanislas is one of the players that can produce moments of brilliance on the pitch.

During the second half of the season, he has been one of the key attacking elements for Bournemouth. He has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League matches, but the one on Saturday was the most important of those as it was directly responsible for the win.

There were only minutes remaining and the chance came from a free-kick that was a long way out. Stanislas showed great confidence to take a shot and the resulting goal will go down as one of the best in his career to date.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

The overall performance from Stanislas was a positive one, as he worked hard and contributed in both halves of the pitch from the left wing. The 28-year-old completed two dribbles and made one key pass during the contest, while his pass completion rate was 80%.

He was effective in possession and rarely gave the ball away, which aided the team’s attacking play. In addition to his goal, the winger offered a threat for the entire game and had four attempts on goal. This was the joint-most of any player on the pitch.

Eddie Howe demands total commitment from his players and everyone is expected to contribute to the defensive effort. Stanislas certainly did that on Saturday as he completed both of his attempted tackles. It is important for the wingers to work back and help their full-backs in a 4-4-2 formation. Both Stanislas and Jordon Ibe did their bit for the team.

With their victory over West Brom, Bournemouth moved into the top ten of the Premier League and sit on 36 points. That should put an end to their relegation worries, as they are eight points clear of the bottom three with only seven matches left to play. Although the Cherries have been in the top-flight for three seasons now, it remains a huge achievement to stay in the division given the size of the club.

The success has been due to the team spirit and players stepping up to the highest level. Stanislas is a great example of that, as he has spent the majority of his career in the Football League. He helped Bournemouth get promoted and has continued to improve since the club arrived in the Premier League. Now he is one of the Cherries’ best players and moments like his goal on Saturday reflect that.

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Leicester City 1-1 Bournemouth: Three talking points from the King Power

Rob Meech



Leicester City
Photo: Getty Images

Riyad Mahrez’s stunning 97th-minute free-kick rescued a point for Leicester City against Bournemouth.

Mahrez, who had been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the January transfer window, curled the ball past Asmir Begovic from 30 yards to deny the Cherries victory in a grandstand finish at the King Power Stadium.

Joshua King had given Bournemouth a first-half lead when he stepped up to dispatch a spot-kick after being fouled inside the area.

The Foxes threw everything at their opponents in the second period but had to wait until deep into added-time for a dramatic equaliser.

Here are three talking points…

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Redemption for Mahrez after troubling period

The Algerian’s attempts to engineer a switch to City and subsequent failure to report to training had not been well received by Leicester supporters.

Mahrez had been a key figure in the Foxes’ phenomenal Premier League title triumph two years ago, but his reputation suffered a battering when he made it clear he saw his future away from the club.

After a difficult period for all involved, Mahrez is back in the fold and now back in the fans’ good books.

His last-minute goal against the Cherries certainly was evidence of his redemption.

Thirty yards out, the 27-year-old started the ball outside the wall and watched it bend back past Begovic’s outstretched right hand.

Leicester, who have never beaten Bournemouth in the top-flight, are winless in five Premier League matches, but they remain eighth in the table.

With Mahrez’s reintegration seemingly complete, a fruitful finish to the season could even help them push for a European place.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Howe ‘disgusted’ as Bournemouth concede so late

Bournemouth’s backs had been firmly up against the wall in the second half as they sought to hold on to their tenuous advantage.

It looked to have been a worthwhile effort until Mahrez’s moment of magic.

A share of the spoils was probably fair in the context of the game, but Cherries manager Eddie Howe admitted he felt ‘disgusted’ after watching the visitors concede so late.

Only four minutes of stoppage-time had been scheduled, but an injury to Simon Francis as well as a substitution meant referee Lee Probert played nearly double that amount.

Despite missing out on what would have been a crucial win, Bournemouth are edging towards safety.

They have lost only once since Christmas, a run that has helped them climb out of the relegation zone and amass 33 points.

Two more victories from their remaining nine fixtures should be enough to secure Premier League football for a fourth successive campaign.

(Photo by Roland Harrison/Getty Images)

Summer will be a key time for both clubs

In a league that is dominated by the so-called ‘Big Six’, the primary aim of the other 14 clubs is survival.

As mentioned above, both Leicester and Bournemouth are all but guaranteed to be playing in the top-flight next season.

The question for both in the summer will be, how can they push on?

The first job for the Foxes’ hierarchy and manager Claude Puel will be deciding the future of Mahrez.

Do they cash in on their star player and reinvest the funds into the squad, or do they try to tie him down to a new contract?

Bournemouth’s ambitions are perhaps not as high as Leicester’s, but after finishing ninth last season, another mid-table position will consolidate their status as a bona fide Premier League outfit.

On the field, there may be some significant outgoings as Howe looks to freshen his resources.

The out-of-favour Harry Arter is one player who looks likely to leave the south coast.

Off the field, the club will hope its plans for a new stadium get closer to becoming a reality.

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Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle United: Three talking points from the Vitality Stadium

Rob Meech brings us three talking points as Bournemouth fought back to salvage a point against Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium.

Rob Meech



Photo: Reuters

Dan Gosling scored a late equaliser against his former club as Bournemouth fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a point against Newcastle United.

Two first-half goals from Dwight Gayle had deservedly put the Magpies in complete control on a freezing afternoon on the south coast, as the home side struggled to make an impression.

Newcastle squandered opportunities to extend their advantage before a stunning strike from substitute Adam Smith halved the arrears.

The Cherries suddenly looked a team transformed and they were back on level terms when Gosling pounced in the dying moments, ensuring they remain above Newcastle in the Premier League table.

Here are three talking points…

Smith inspires the comeback kings

Boos echoed around the Vitality Stadium when referee Roger East whistled for half-time, with the hosts two goals adrift following a lethargic performance.

Newcastle were good value for their lead, picking off the Cherries on the counter-attack to great effect.

Bournemouth needed a spark and that came from Smith, who replaced the ineffective Charlie Daniels at the break.

Smith’s boundless energy and marauding runs were just what Eddie Howe’s men needed to engage the crowd.

His first goal of the campaign came right out of the blue, with the purity of the strike leaving Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka rooted to the spot as it went in off the underside of the crossbar.

It was the catalyst for a comeback that has been a regular occurrence at the Vitality.

No Premier League side has collected more points from losing positions than the Cherries this season and this spirit came to the fore once again as Gosling made sure the points were shared.


Gayle rediscovers his goalscoring touch

After a spell of 11 Premier League games without a goal, much like London buses, two came along in quick succession for the Newcastle striker.

Both owed to his positional awareness (as well as unnecessary defensive errors from Bournemouth).

Gayle’s first, a cheeky back-heel after his initial effort had been blocked, rocked the home side.

And the former Crystal Palace frontman found himself well placed to double his account in first-half stoppage time when a cutback from the right inexplicably slipped underneath the hands of Asmir Begovic.

Gayle had a further three attempts as Newcastle searched for the goal that their endeavours merited but to no avail.

Despite being on a hat-trick, he was substituted on 78 minutes with his team on course for victory.

It looked like job done, but there was a late twist and he had to watch on helplessly as Bournemouth mounted a dramatic comeback.

Newcastle are still in a relegation dogfight

Victory for the Magpies would have lifted them four points clear of the drop-zone, with 10 games remaining.

However, their failure to hold on to a two-goal lead means only a couple of points separate them from 18th-placed Swansea City.

Make no mistake, Newcastle dominated the majority of this clash, which must make it all the more frustrating for manager Rafa Benitez and the club’s travelling supporters, who had made the long journey to Dorset and supported their team in great voice throughout.

Jonjo Shelvey was an instrumental figure for Newcastle but he spurned a gilt-edged chance to kill off the game, moments before Smith reduced the deficit.

Benitez should be encouraged with his side’s display, which built on the morale-boosting victory over Manchester United a fortnight ago, but he will rue the late collapse that saw them drop two points.

As the battle for survival increasingly looks like going down to the wire, it could prove costly.

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