West Ham United vs Middlesbrough Preview: Boro looking for victory in London to halt poor run of form

Aitor Karanka's team has lost its last three games as they come up against Slaven Bilic's Hammers, who have done likewise. Both sides will look to this game to kickstart their season.

West Ham United vs Middlesbrough Preview: Boro looking for victory in London to halt poor run of form
Middlesbrough fans display a flag as they welcome the teams on to the pitch vs Tottenham | Photo: Getty

Middlesbrough's return to the Premier League has been a muted one, and after a busy transfer window, Boro boss Aitor Karanka has to make his players perform on England's biggest stage.

During the week, Aitor Karanka has promised changes to his side who have conceded seven goals in their previous three games.

How to stop Boro's poor fprm?

This question is one the hierarchy on Teesside will have been asking themselves all week. The answer would seem to be that the players on the pitch need changing.

Despite the fact that he is the top goal scorer for Middlesbrough this season, aside from the game against Sunderland Cristhian Stuani has been quiet this season.

Fellow Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez has not lived up to the standards that he produced in the Championship either.

Stuani's brace against Sunderland gave Boro their only three points so far this season, but he has suffered a drop in form and has only retained his place in the starting eleven due to the sale of Albert Adomah to Aston Villa.

Boro fans will, therefore, be hoping Adomah's replacement, Adama Traore will get his first start in a Middlesbrough shirt this Saturday, however it remains to be seen if Karanka will start the former Barcelona winger.

Jordan Rhodes and Adam Forshaw will both be hoping to start against West Ham too, and for Rhodes this would be his first Premier League start.

Seb Hines puts pressure on John Carew during Boro's last league meeting with West Ham | Photo: Getty
Seb Hines puts pressure on John Carew during Boro's last league meeting with West Ham | Photo: Getty

Head to head

Middlesbrough fans will not remember their last Premier League match up with West Ham fondly, as the Hammers relegated Boro in 2009.

The club from East London ran out 2-1 winners on the night, but in truth Gareth Southgate's side would have needed a huge swing in goal difference to keep them up as they went down in 19th position.

This was not the last time Boro met West Ham, however, as just two seasons later, the London club found themselves in England's second tier also.

Boro failed to beat the team in claret and blue that year, losing 2-0 at home and earning a point at the Boleyn Ground thanks to a Bartholomew Ogbeche goal.

Stewart Downing will also be returning to his former club. He joined the Irons in 2013 and rejoined Middlesbrough in 2015 after scoring six goals and registering eight assists in the previous season.

Downing has assisted two goals this season, the most recent being Ben Gibson's header against Tottenham Hotspur, but the goal was merely a consolation.

Ben Gibson scores his first Premier League goal against Spurs | Photo: Getty Images
Ben Gibson scores his first Premier League goal against Spurs | Photo: Getty Images