On Friday 15th April 2022, 2nd placed Bournemouth host 8th placed Middlesbrough at the Vitality Stadium in the EFL Championship. The last these two teams met back in December 2021, Boro won 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Andraz Sporar. Coming into this game, Bournemouth drew 0-0 with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough lost 0-1 at home to Hull City.
Bournemouth come into this game having drawn goalless with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. That draw means Bournemouth have drawn 10 games this season (the Cherries have won 21 and lost eight). They have two games in hand over their nearest chasing rival, Nottingham Forest and one game in hand over table-toppers Fulham as of writing. Bournemouth have scored 62 goals this season but it is in defence that they have succeeded relative to expectations. xGA says that the Cherries should have conceded 42 but in reality, they have let in seven fewer goals with 35 conceded.
Seen above is the shot map of Bournemouth from open play this season. The Cherries have missed a few big chances which had an xG of over 0.4 or greater but they have been few and far between. Dominic Solanke has been on fire this season netting 24 goals at the time of writing. He has also received adequate support from his teammates in goalscoring, especially from Jaidon Anthony and Philip Billing.
Jaidon Anthony is Bournemouth’s top threat creator this season from both open play as well as from set-pieces. Hence, it is not surprising to see him as the joint leader in assists. Throughout the season, Bournemouth have created threat from both wings as well as through the middle.
Middlesbrough are coming off a 0-1 loss against Hull City. That loss leaves Middlesbrough with a record of 18 wins, eight draws and 14 losses. Boro have been underperforming in attack this season according to xG. The metric predicted them to score 59 times but they have scored only 52 times at the time of writing.
Middlesbrough’s underperformance going forward can be seen in the above chart. They are scoring at a rate of 1.1 goals per game as against an xG of 1.36 goals per game. When it comes to creativity, Boro have been good but not good enough if they are to challenge for the promotion play-offs. They rank in the 55th percentile for key passes per game and 58th percentile for assists per game.
Bournemouth will look to extend the gap between the rest of the automatic promotion-chasing pack with a win and Middlesbrough will want to close the gap between themselves and the teams above them in the top six.