Caretaker manager Steve Agnew will be hoping to get off to a flying start to life in the Middlesbrough dugout when Manchester United visit the Riverside Stadium for Sunday’s Premier League clash.
With Aitor Karanka having been shown the door in midweek, assistant head coach Agnew is available at 9/2 (5.50) with Betfair Sportsbook to inspire in his players the best possible reaction by overseeing a victory against high-profile opposition.
Having scored two late goals to run out 2-1 winners in December’s reverse fixture, the Red Devils are 8/11 (1.73) favourites to complete the double by coming out on top yet again here.
Four of the guests’ last six league fixtures have resulted in draws, and you can get odds of 13/5 (3.60) on them being forced to settle for a single point yet again on this occasion.
While the newly promoted hosts may have only fallen into the bottom three recently, few can be too surprised that Karanka’s time on Teeside has been brought to an end.
Although the former Real Madrid assistant's tactics have ensured his team boast the fifth best defensive record in the division, many fans have been turned off the conservative style of play that has seen just 19 scored in 27 matches at the other end – comfortably the league’s worst return.
However, those expecting a change in the dugout to immediately unleash a more free-scoring approach may be disappointed considering the quality of Sunday’s opponents, with Jose Mourinho one of only four managers to concede fewer goals than his former assistant so far.
Having let in just three goals in their last seven league fixtures, Mourinho’s men should have little trouble in fending off an attack that has failed to find the net in five of their previous six matches.
With five wins and no defeats to their name in the seven away league games, odds of 6/4 (2.50) seem generous on United winning to nil against a blunt Middlesbrough side on Sunday.