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Swansea City v Middlesbrough – team news & stats

Steve Agnew will be hoping his Middlesbrough side can reproduce their winning performance against Swansea in December.

TEAM NEWS

Swansea welcome back Martin Olsson after he missed the defeat by Bournemouth with an ankle injury.

Kyle Naughton is fit after sitting out two games with a hamstring problem, while all of Swansea’s international players are available.

Middlesbrough are bolstered by the availability of defender Daniel Ayala following a hamstring problem.

George Friend and Calum Chambers are also close to returning after respective calf and foot injuries.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Alistair Mann: “After seemingly starting to pull clear of trouble, two successive defeats to sides in a similar plight have drawn Swansea back into the dogfight once again. They can ill afford a third.

“That said, the situation of their weekend visitors is even more desperate – a fourth defeat in a row might cause Middlesbrough to be cast adrift of the safety line.

“The last time Boro registered three points was before Christmas, when they recorded their biggest victory of the campaign, with the Swans their beleaguered opponents.

“As then, Swansea’s Achilles heel remains their defensive frailties. Middlesbrough’s has been in attack, and with both acutely aware of the damaging effect of a defeat it’s all set to be a frantic tussle.”

Twitter: @alistairmann01

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Swansea head coach Paul Clement on reports Gylfi Sigurdsson has said he wants to play for a ‘big’ club: “I’ve no problem with Gylfi saying that because what I see in him is a player very motivated to play well here and help us remain in this league.

“I’ve had no conversation with him about going elsewhere. Everything has been about training hard and doing his best for Swansea every day. I see it in the extra work he puts in and, that for me, is no coincidence why he is such a good player.

“But we shouldn’t worry about this. Our focus now is on preparing for Middlesbrough and the next nine games.”

Middlesbrough head coach Steve Agnew: “Paul Clement is a very, very good English coach and he’ll have them well organised with creative players going forward.

“We haven’t scored enough goals. We have to now think of way to create more chances. And converting those chances.

“Lots of ideas have gone into the players and I’m sure they’ll respond.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Swansea will look at this as a game they need to win for several reasons, one of which is they will go eight points above Middlesbrough if they do.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s full predictions v comedian and actor Omid Djalili

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Middlesbrough’s 3-0 win in December was the first Premier League fixture between the sides – and the only time Boro have scored more than two goals in a top-flight match this season.
  • Swansea have won 1-0 in their last two home games against Boro. They have never kept three consecutive clean sheets against the Teesiders at home.

Swansea City

  • Swansea have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time under Paul Clement.
  • However, they could equal the club Premier League record of four consecutive home victories, set in May 2016.
  • The Swans have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 games and have the league’s worst defensive record overall, conceding 63 goals.
  • Only Swindon Town, Barnsley and Fulham have conceded more goals after 29 Premier League matches than Swansea. All three were relegated.
  • Swansea’s matches have produced a league-high 99 goals this season.

Middlesbrough

  • Middlesbrough are winless in 11 league games, losing five of the last seven.
  • They have won just one of their last 27 Premier League away matches, the 2-1 win at Sunderland in August 2016.
  • Boro have averaged just 2.4 shots on target per match in the Premier League this season – the lowest of any side in the top five European leagues.
  • They are the division’s lowest scorers with 20 goals.
  • Middlesbrough have conceded 33 goals this season in the Premier League – fewer than both Liverpool (36) and Arsenal (34).
SAM’s verdict
Most probable score: 1-0 Probability of draw: 30%
Probability of home win: 48% Probability of away win: 22%

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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