Everton vs Middlesbrough Preview: Flying Toffees look to keep unbeaten record up against Boro

Everton vs Middlesbrough Preview: Flying Toffees look to keep unbeaten record up against Boro

Ronald Koeman will hope to oversee his fourth consecutive league win on Saturday evening.

Oliver Emmerson

Goodison Park will wait with expectation, as Everton host Middlesbrough in the 17:30 BST kick-off in Saturday's Premier League schedule.

Overwhelming favourites for this one, the unbeaten Toffees will hope to keep their magnificent early season form going, whilst Boro are hoping to pick up their second win of the season.

It's sure to be an interesting one, with two of the more cultured PL bosses coming up against each other in Ronald Koeman and Aitor Karanka, in each team's fifth league game of the season.


Everton's aforementioned form has been quite stunning, with Dutchman Koeman having the impact that many hoped he would have after arriving in the summer.

They drew at home to Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day, a solid result against the team that came third last season, and since then it's been 100%, three wins on the trot, which in turn has pushed them into the top four.

West Brom were beaten in the Midlands, 2-1, before Shay Given's own goal meant that Everton scraped to a win against Stoke City, but it's Romelu Lukaku who comes into this game as the man making the headlines, having netted a hat-trick in Monday's 3-0 win away at Sunderland

Things haven't been so good for Middlesbrough, but it's been a tidy start for them, five points from four games a solid return for any newly-promoted start.

Drawing at home to a team that Everton beat, Stoke, at home on the opening day, the party really began a week later, Christhian Stuani bagging a wonderful brace in the 2-1 win away at Sunderland.

Just like Everton, Boro have played Stoke at home, Sunderland and West Brom away. They went without defeat for the third game in a row away in a goalless draw against the Baggies, before the first loss finally came last Saturday - 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace

Team news 

Enner Valencia will be pushing for his first start since a deadline day loan move to Goodison Park, but is likely to be kept to the bench as Yannick Bolasie and Gerard Deulofeu flank Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas probably in-behind.

Gareth Barry will make his 600th Premier League appearance, starting alongside Idrissa Gueye in midfield, whilst the defence too is likely to be unchanged for the hosts. When you're unbeaten in four, continuity is key. 

Boro have many more injury problems, with James Husband, Fabio da Silva and Grant Leadbitter all sidelined, whilst hero of Sunderland, Stuani, is a doubt. Jordan Rhodes too may reduce the firepower in the striking department due to a knock.

Who comes out on top?

It's hard to back anyone but Everton for this one, admittedly. Boro are no jokes, and won't roll over in defeat, especially with a stronger defence than many give them credit for, but the Toffees should be too strong.

Gary Lineker commented that once striker's get rid of a goal drought, they tend to go on long runs of goals, so Lukaku will look to bag another, whilst Ross Barkley will hope to shine if given the chance after being criticised by his manager following a poor performance against Sunderland.