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Nic Ladds 1st May 2009 - 22:46

Only one victory from their last nine? Bye bye 'Boro

Southgate's Middlesbrough have only managed one victory from their last nine Premier League ties against the Reds, so optimistic Middlesbrough fans fancying the11/2 for a ‘Boro win can all but forget about that.

Regardless of Middlesbrough being unbeaten in seven in the league at the Riverside Stadium - though four of these have been draws - a Man Utd team, coming towards the end of the season, under pressure from Rafa's reds, can simply only be backed to smash the Mackems.

West Brom felt the full wrath of exactly what Sir Alex' men are capable of on the road in their 5-0 loss in January and on previous occasions when the Red Devils have been in town ( or toon ) they defeated Sunderland 2-1, Newcastle 2-1 and arrive at the Riverside off the back of a 5-2 destruction of Spurs.

Surly a third 2-1 victory would be too much of a coincidence as Manchester take to the North-East again this weekend.

The odds of 13/2 however for the 2-1 win may tempt that £20 note out of your back pocket.

With Carlos Tevez' appearances apparently coming in less meaningful matches, and Manchester's big midweek event against Arsenal, it would appear the perfect time to get the Argentine - 4/1 to strike the first/last goal - out for the full ninety minutes.

Rio Ferdinand will miss Saturday's match with his ‘bruised lung', leaving either the returning Wes Brown or Jonny Evans as cover.

Cristiano Ronaldo appears to like a goal at the Riverside. The Portuguese hot-shot has scored against Middlesbrough in three of his last four visits to the Riverside stadium and as such, his price to score at any point in the game is short... odds-on in fact at 4/5, 10/3 to net the first in the match.

For Middlesbrough to stand any chance of Premier League football next season, they can hope for a three point home victory at home to pile the pressure on Newcastle, or they could look for the more realistic draw - priced at 16/5 in the betting - and take the fully deserved point from the lunchtime tie.

Stewart Downing, available at 16/1 to strike the first/last goal would relish the chance of tormenting (former) England team-mate Neville but, without a goal all season, very few hopes, or stakes should be placed on the winger.

If you're looking for the total amount of goals to be scored in the match - Manchester United have scored exactly two goals in their last three trips to the Riverside.

At odds of 11/4 for there to be only two goals in the game, you may be hoping this pattern continues.
The favourite in this market is the obvious ‘over 2 goals' at a relatively reasonable 8/11 meaning Middlesbrough fans may at least take home returns from their winning bet, if nothing else.

At 11/2, the optimistic Middlesbrough fans out there may be looking for their team to finally get tough, as the tough get more than going (almost gone in fact) - it may be a little late for that, but as fellow relegation battlers Newcastle get the pleasure of Liverpool's company on Sunday, the bottom three could look very much the same, come Monday morning.

Bottom line? Manchester United at 1/2 looks too good to miss, with even a Manchester United double result at 6/5 looking fantastic value.

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