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Five point preview: AFC Bournemouth v Middlesbrough

Posted: Fri 21 Apr 2017
Author: afcb.co.uk

Vitality Stadium hosts two sides on Saturday with points for Premier League survival on their minds

Eyes on survival

Bournemouth come into the game with 35 points to their name, looking to quickly gather the points they need to secure Premier League football in Dorset for 2017/18.

Middlesbrough retain a game in hand but are six points south of the safety line going into Saturday's game. Furthermore, they are the only team in the top four divisions yet to taste victory in 2017.

The away side have now gone 15 league away games without a win, and if they were to stretch that to 16 on Saturday it would be their leanest away league streak since 1982.
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Scores to settle

Saturday's game will be the first top-flight meeting between the teams on the south coast, with the Cherries looking to gain revenge for their 2-0 Riverside loss earlier this campaign.

Of their nine previous league meetings, Saturday's hosts have tasted victory just the once, their 3-0 success during the Championship run-in in March 2015.

A better omen for Bournemouth is that the away side has never won in a league fixture between the weekend's opponents.

Attack versus defence

Only seven Premier League sides are ahead of Bournemouth's 45 strikes in the goal-scoring stakes, in stark contrast to Middlesbrough's approach during this campaign.

Boro have netted just over half of the Cherries' total goals with a league low of 23 but have the best defensive record of any team below Everton in the table.

Incoming coach Steve Agnew has opened his side up somewhat since taking over and their last three games have seen three goals scored for his side but also the concession of six.
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Turning things around

Middlesbrough have taken just two points from losing positions this season, the lowest of any side in the Premier League.

However, they come up against a Bournemouth side on Saturday that have dropped 20 points from winning positions over the course of the season, with only West Ham dropping more (22).

Paying tribute

The Premier League has given permission for the two sides on Saturday to pay tribute to former England international Ugo Ehiogu.

The Tottenham under-23s coach and former Boro defender died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest at Spurs' training ground, aged just 44.

Both teams will wear black armbands for the game, with a minute's applause also to be observed at Vitality Stadium.