After 7 seasons in the Championship, Middlesbrough returns to the Premier League on it’s 25th anniversary. Aitor Karanka is the man who must be credited on Boro’s return to the top flight. In his three seasons with the Boro, the club has gone from strength to strength. Boro narrowly missed out on promotion in his 2nd season with the club. The club lost play-off final against Norwich City after finishing 4th in the league.
The runners-up finish in the Championship last season can be seen as a disappointment. Boro lead the table with only 4 games remaining but four consecutive draws lead to the club finishing behind Burnley.
For any promoted club the goal for the season is nothing other than survival. Can Boro, one of the co-founders of the Premier League be able to leave their mark on the Silver anniversary of the league?
Middlesbrough 2016-17 Season Preview
It’s good to see Middlesbrough back in the Premier League. Up until their relegation in 2008/09 Middlesbrough were one of the mainstays in the Premier League and their relegation back then came as a huge shock. They are back in the top flight after a 7 year hiatus and will be looking to once cement their status as a Premier League club.
Boro coach Karanka will be relishing the opportunity to face his former boss at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho. The Spaniard before his stint with Middlesbrough served as the assistant manager to Mourinho at Real Madrid. Karanka’s influence in Spain can be seen has as to how he lured players such as Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes to the club.
Boro has added as many as 8 new faces for the upcoming season. It remains to be seen how the newcomers will adapt to the team and whether they’ll disrupt the balance of the squad.
The squad though do look a strong unit on paper. Karanka at sometimes last season was accused on the lack of tactical flexibility as he preferred to stick with a 4-3-2-1 formation even when results were not going his way. He maybe need to sacrifice his brand of football if the club are to get the points against the stronger teams in the league.
Boro are spoiled for choice in goal with Victor Valdes set to be first choice keeper heading into the new campaign. He’ll have competition from the likes of Brad Guzan, Tomas Mejias & Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.
Boro had the best defensive record in the Championship last season. George Friend should continue on in his left back role with Emilio Nsue at right back however new signings Antonio Barragan and Fabio will be pushing for the first team berth.At the center of defense Ben Gibson and Daniel Ayala should continue their formidable partnership from last season.
Perhaps Boro’s best bit of transfer activity this summer has been the acquisition dutch midfielder Marten de Roon . The 25 year old was excellent for Atlanta in the Serie A last season and is someone who should kept an eye on. It has to be seen how Karanka will ease the new signing into the team with club captain Grant Leadbitter & Adam Clayton currently the 1st choice defensive midfielders.
Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo will be entrusted with the duty of providing the goals. He will have considerable support from the likes of Stuart Downing, Viktor Fischer, Cristhian Stuani and Gaston Ramirez.
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Middlesbrough 2016-17 Season Prediction
Middlesbrough has had a good start to the season that has seen them picking up 5 points from the opening 3 games. The club does have some favorable games coming up and should build on their good start. We can see the club picking points throughout the season and by the end of it should be sitting comfortably in mid-table.
As for the domestic competitions the club has already exited the EFL trophy after losing to Fulham 2-1 in the 2nd around. The FA Cup should also prove to be a daunting task for the club and should make a early exit from the competition.
Verdict: – 13th Place
Player to Watch – Middlesbrough 2016-17
Negredo’s previous stint with a Premier League club saw him netting 23 goals for City in the 2013-14 season. The switch to Valencia in the following season hasn’t yielded the results he would have hoped for. The loan move to Middlesbrough is perhaps Negredo’s final chance to prove he can still deliver at the highest level. The former Spanish International has gotten off to a good start to the season that has seen him scoring 1 and assisting another 2 in his 3 games so far. We expect more of the same from him this season and expect him to end up with a tally of 15 or more.
Betting Tips – Middlesbrough 2016-17
1. Premier League Champions – 1001.00 (Paddypower)
2. Relegation – 6.00 (Skybet)
3 games into the season and their still isn’t a team which has stood out to be a relegation contender. Middlesbrough have not only collected the points in their three games but have looked good while doing so. We can’t see Middlesbrough getting dragged into the relegation battle anytime during this season.
3. To Stay Up – 1.13 (Skybet)
We would have named this our sure fire bet to make on Boro but the odds are too low for the gamble.
4. First Manager to Leave the Post – 21.00 (Betvictor)
The strained relationship between Karanka and the club is no secret . A verbal altercation with the players last season saw the manager being placed on a temporary leave by the club . Karanka did come back a week later but it’s safe to say that everything is not so rosy. A string of poor results might be enough for the club to show Karanka the exit door so you all might want keep an eye on this bet.
5. Top Promoted Team – 1.91 (Betway)
All three of the promoted sides have impressed during the first few weeks of the season. Hull with just 13 senior players have accumulated 6 points till now. Burnley on the other showed their worth beating Liverpool in their second game. By the end of 38 games though it will be Middlesbrough who’ll be on top of both Burnley and Hull. Our sure fire bet for Middlesbrough this season.
All Odds from Oddschecker 
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Transfers In – Middlesbrough 2016-17
|Sl No||Position||Player||Fee – €||From||1||STR||Viktor Fischer||4.9 million||Ajax||2||STR||Alvaro Negredo||Loan||Valencia||3||MF||Marten de Roon||14 million||Atlanta||4||DF||Fabio Da Silva||2.4 million||Cardiff City||5||DF||Antonio Barragan||3.6 million||Valencia||6||DF||Bernardo Espinosa||Free||Sporting De Gijon||7||GK||Brad Guzan||Free||Aston Villa||8||GK||Victor Valdes||Free||Manchester United|
Middlesbrough – 2015/16 Championship Stats
Other Season Prediction and Betting Tips
 BBC.com, Marten de Roon signed by Boro
 Dailymail.co.uk, Karanka clings onto Middlesbrough Job
 Oddschecker.com, oddschecker home page