Norwich City Under-23s are looking to start the new year on a high note, as they travel to Heritage Park to face Middlesbrough on Monday (7pm kick-off) for their first Premier League 2 Division 2 fixture of 2020.
No better way to start the year, a win would supply the Canaries with a strong three points to total 14, keeping them in contention of 9th and 10th as they battle Fulham and Newcastle for the spots.
Middlesbrough are enjoying their games at the moment but can’t quite find their footing on results. The Teesside club have won two and lost three of their past five fixtures, notably beating 4th place Stoke on their last outing to level the side on points, just being edged on goal difference.
The Canaries last met Middlesbrough back in August of the current season, with the fixture ending in a 2-2 draw, leaving the sides no choice but to share the points.
The stats are quite deceptive this time round. Middlesbrough have scored 28 goals this season, the third-highest tally in the league, a very impressive stat when compared to the rest of the table.
Whilst the goal scoring comes in bundles, so does the conceding. Middlesbrough have conceded the second-worst defensive record in the league, only being beaten by Sunderland by four goals.
Doing the maths shows that the Boro side have a goal difference of -4. This might not sound too unusual, until its revealed that the only other negative goal differences in the league don’t come until eighth place and below, whilst Middlesbrough sit comfortably in fourth.
The stats alone warn the Canaries of what they’re in for, but the U23s have never made the mistake of underestimating a side before and aren’t likely to start doing so on Monday.