Bamford up front, Traore to start – Strongest 4-3-3 Middlesbrough line-up to face Aston Villa

Predicted Middlesbrough Line-up To Face Aston Villa In The Championship Playoffs

Middlesbrough have had an excellent finish to the season and go into these playoffs in a very strong position. Tony Pulis is an absolute master in these situations and knows how to set his team to go out and win a match. They will be combative and strong.

Aston Villa, however, come into this game after a 1-0 loss to Millwall on the final day of the season but have been top notch on the whole and that should give them enough confidence to come into this game and make it a really interesting contest.

Probable Middlesbrough XI

Manager: Tony Pulis

Formation: 4-3-3

Darren Randolph (GK)

The 30-year-old had a very good game against Ipswich and was kept pretty busy. He made some fine saves to keep his side in the game and give Bamford the chance to score the late equaliser.

Ryan Shotton (RB)

Shotton has played a massive part in Middlesbrough’s campaign and epitomises what Pulis usually expects from his full-backs. He is strong in the air and strong in a tackle.

Daniel Ayala (CB)

Ayala has been superb for Middlesbrough this year and has weighed in with some good goals as well. Leads from the back.

Ben Gibson
Ben Gibson

Ben Gibson (CB)

Gibson had a dreadful game against Ipswich and will be looking to prove himself in this first leg of the playoffs. Has had a very good season and so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick himself up.

George Friend (LB)

Friend mirrors Shotton on the left. Not great at getting forward but is an absolute rock in the defence. Wins everything in the air and tackles well.

Muhamed Besic (CM)

Besic continued his good form and was very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. He has been excellent in the run-up to the playoffs and will want to continue this.

Jonny Howson (on the ball)

Adam Clayton (CM)

Clayton had a pretty average game against Ipswich and the 29-year-old will be looking to improve for this first leg of the playoffs.

Jonny Howson (CM)

Howson was not great against Ipswich but has done enough this season to start in these playoffs. Often improves the side when he plays.

Stewart Downing (LW)

Downing rolled back the years against Ipswich and almost looked like he was back to his best. He will be hoping this continues into the playoffs.

Adama Traore (on the ball)

Adama Traore (RW)

Traore has been excellent all season for Middlesbrough and they would not even be in these playoffs if it weren’t for him. He is excellent down the right-hand side and will surely be playing in the Premier League next year whether Middlesbrough make it or not.

Patrick Bamford (ST)

Bamford has scored a lot of important goals this season and he just offers a little more to the team than Britt Assombalonga. His presence up top worries defenders and he will be hoping to get on the scoresheet against Villa.

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