EPL Preview: Middlesbrough v Arsenal Prediction – Riverside Stadium – 17 April, 2017 – 20:00hrs
Best Middlesbrough Odds: Unibet 61/11
Best Arsenal Odds: Betfair Sportsbook 4/7
Biggest Draw Odds: Betfair Sportsbook 17/5
From just losing one in their first 15 games in the 2016-17, Arsene Wenger's men have ended up conceding defeat in seven of their next 15. From Premier League title contenders to being ousted from the Top 4. The Gunners are on the verge of missing out on the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League. This after a spell of 20 years. That sums up Arsenal's present state-of-affairs under a beleaguered Arsene Wenger. Arsenal's latest in the line of defeats was a 0-3 against borderline relegation candidate like Crystal Palace. The 72 per cent that the Gunners enjoyed came to nought with big names like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck completely ineffective upfront.
Arsenal have lost five of their last eight games, their worst phase in decades. They have found the back of net on just nine occasions from these outings. Compare this to the whopping 52 they scored from their 22 games prior to this.
Middlesbrough, on the other hand, look like a team that certainly faces relegation. Even the taking over of reins by Steve Agnew from Aitor Karanka has not helped. Attacking players like Negredo and Adam Traore look a shadow of their past. From the 15th spot they held in January, the Boro let things slip and are now in the 19th. Their performance since February have been not very different from their opponents of 17th April. Middlesbrough have lost six of their 8 games in that phase and have astonishingly not registered a win since their 3-0 over Swansea City in December.
For Arsenal, this is an opportunity to turn around, but with just 8 matches left in the season, the Gunners have an insurmountable task at hand going ahead. Middlesbrough had held an Arsenal side in full form at the Emirates to a goalless draw back in October. Now that both sides are down and out, it would be interesting to see if the clash at Riverside Stadium will be one more jolt to Arsenal. Bookmakers are wagering on a Gunners win given their superiority on paper. But trust them to botch things up.
Arsenal are presently on 54 points from their 30 games. The only consolation for them is that they have played 1 or 2 lesser games than the 32 or 31 matches that most teams have logged so far. But a mess up at the Riverside stadium on Monday could possibly see them slip below Everton who, too, are on 54 points, but in the 7th spot thanks to a poorer goal difference.