Preview | Middlesbrough v Swansea City

2nd December 2020
First team
Middlesbrough away preview graphic 2020-21

Swansea City face a second long away trip in barely 72 hours as they prepare to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The Teesside clash comes hot on the heels of Sunday’s visit to Nottingham Forest, but the Swans have travelled in positive mood after their 1-0 win on the banks of the River Trent, courtesy of Connor Roberts’ brave header.

That result kept Steve Cooper’s side in the play-off places, and left them proudly boasting the best defensive record of any team in the top four divisions of English football.

However, they face a Middlesbrough side who have proved similarly difficult to break down, with Boro having conceded nine goals compared to Swansea’s tally of eight.

They have lost two of their last three, but prior to that had gone on a 10-match unbeaten run that had put them in the play-off spots.

Neil Warnock will be keen for his side to bounce back from recent disappointment on home turf, but Swansea have a strong away record and will want to continue a fine start to this part of the season in the wake of the final international break of 2020.

Team news

Andre Ayew Blackburn

Cooper reported no new injury worries following the win at Forest, with Andre Ayew and Marc Guehi back in the starting line-up following hamstring injuries, while Viktor Gyokeres and Jordon Garrick were on the bench after completing self-isolation periods.

Midfielders Morgan Gibbs-White (foot) and George Byers (groin) remain sidelined.

Pre-match views

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper: “You have to recognise what Neil’s done in the game; his longevity and the amount of promotions.

“We analyse every game the same and look at how a team plays, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are.

“We have nothing but respect for that, but then we must get our own house in order and try to put the best plan together with the idea of what we do being the most important.

“I know they got beat at Huddersfield, but they’re generally in good form, it will be another tough game.”

Neil Warnock: "Fatigue is always a concern.

“You do look tired when you’re losing though, I think, and when you’ve just suffered a blow. Whereas when you’ve just scored you’ll look a bit livelier.

“It’s one of those things. We will lose players to fatigue, but we’ve just got to manage it and whoever comes in has got to try and do their best.”

Remember the last time?

Middlesbrough Brewster Kalulu celebration

Swansea City equalled their biggest league win of the season as goals from Rhian Brewster and Andre Ayew ensured Steve Cooper’s side returned to Championship action with an emphatic victory at the Riverside Stadium back in June.

The visitors completely dominated the opening half as they played a competitive fixture for the first time since early March.

Brewster took his tally for the Swans to six goals with a brace as he side-footed in Ayew’s cross for the opener, and quickly volleyed in an Aldo Kalulu cross a few minutes later.

Ayew also added to his tally from the penalty spot, after Conor Gallagher had been brought down in the area, to give the visitors a 3-0 interval lead, that could have been greater had Kalulu and Brewster not been denied by the woodwork.

And that was how it ended as a professional second-half showing saw the Swans leave Teesside with a clean sheet to go with the three points and a scoreline that equalled their best away win at Middlesbrough from 1926.

Prime numbers

Ryan Bennett

3 – The Swans have won their last three meetings with Middlesbrough, scoring nine goals and conceding just one.

8 – Swansea City conceded just eight goals in the first 14 league games of the season. Prior to this midweek round of fixtures they had the best defensive record in English football.

Today’s mascots

Middlesbrough away virtual mascots

Tonight we welcome our virtual mascots, Marley Hayton and Isaac Scorey. 

Marley is aged 11 and comes from Aberdare. Marley plays football for Gadlys Rovers and his favourite player is Freddie Woodman.

Isaac is also aged 11 and from Aberdare. Isaac plays football for Aberdare Town U12s and his favourite player is Andre Ayew.