We look ahead to the second leg of this Championship play-off clash at the Riverside Stadium with our Middlesbrough vs Coventry prediction and stats preview.
Middlesbrough vs Coventry: Quick Stats
- Middlesbrough are predicted to advance by the Opta supercomputer (64.0% chance of reaching the play-off final).
- Coventry have lost just once in their last 18 games.
- Viktor Gyökeres has been slightly more proficient in away games for the Sky Blues this season.
The excitement of the play-offs can seem unparalleled at times. Two teams fighting tooth and nail to reach the promised land, tactics often going out of the window as players just go for it, creating drama aplenty.
The first leg of this semi-final was not one of those games.
However, the goalless draw at the Coventry Building Society Arena has set things up nicely for an all-or-nothing second leg on Teesside. This will be the third time Middlesbrough and Coventry City have met in the space of nine days, with the first two ending in stalemates. The 1-1 draw in Middlesbrough on the final day of the Championship season was followed by their 0-0 in the first leg in Coventry, and so to borrow a tired cliché, something has got to give.
Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last 13 home games against the Sky Blues (W9 D4), having not lost to them since a 2-0 defeat at Ayresome Park all the way back in February 1993. In fact, Coventry are the only team to have played more than five times at the Riverside Stadium without winning a single match in all competitions since Middlesbrough moved there in 1995.
The arrival of Michael Carrick gave Middlesbrough a boost, particularly in attack. They have scored in all 15 of their home games in all competitions under Carrick (37 goals), with a goalless draw against Huddersfield in October the last time they failed to find the net at the Riverside. However, Middlesbrough have failed to score in each of their last four EFL play-off matches (D2 L2), since beating Brentford 3-0 in the 2014-15 semi-final second leg.
Coventry boss Mark Robins will be confident of halting Carrick’s run though, with his side undefeated in their last nine away games (W4 D5), conceding just four goals and keeping five clean sheets. It is the longest run they have had without defeat in away games in the top-two leagues since a period of 10 games from January to May 1998. Tuesday marked 36 years since Coventry beat Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup final at Wembley. They will be hoping to book another potentially famous day at England’s national stadium on Wednesday.
Coventry City 0-0 Middlesbrough: 14 May 2023 (Championship play-off semi-final first leg)
As mentioned, this was not a game that will live long in the memory. It wasn’t that it was an overly tentative affair, with 16 shots, 11 of which came from the hosts as they looked to give themselves an advantage to take to the north east.
The problem was none of those 11 Coventry attempts caused Middlesbrough goalkeeper Zack Steffen to have to do anything, making it just the third time this season they had failed to record a shot on target in all competitions, also doing so in both home and away league games against champions Burnley.
Carrick seemed the happier of the two managers with the result, which is understandable given he now just needs to secure a home win of any kind to advance to the final. His team also recorded a better expected goals total (0.9 to 0.5) despite having less than half as many shots (five, two on target).
Previous Meeting Line-ups:
Coventry City: Ben Wilson, Callum Doyle, Kyle McFadzean, Luke McNally, Liam Kelly (c), Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Jake Bidwell, Josh Eccles, Gustavo Hamer, Viktor Gyökeres, Matt Godden. Used Subs: Jamie Allen
Middlesbrough: Zack Steffen, Ryan Giles, Tommy Smith, Paddy McNair, Darragh Lenihan, Isaiah Jones, Alex Mowatt, Riley McGree, Chuba Akpom, Hayden Hackney, Cameron Archer. Used Subs: Marcus Forss, Matt Crooks.
Obviously, both are coming off back-to-back draws with each other.
Prior to that, Middlesbrough did not end their league campaign brilliantly, losing at Luton Town and Rotherham United prior to that final day draw with Coventry. Their two home games before then did garner a 5-1 thrashing of Norwich City and a 3-1 win over Hull City. Those are their only two wins in their last nine, though (D3 L4).
Coventry made a late surge to the playoffs and have only lost one of their last 18 games (W8 D9). They have not been beaten away from home since a 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in early February. Their two away games prior to the final day 0-0 against Middlesbrough saw them beat Queens Park Rangers 3-0 and draw 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers.
Middlesbrough: Chuba Akpom
He was selected as our key Middlesbrough player for the first leg, but very little has changed since then and goals will be needed, so here he is again.
Chuba Akpom has scored 29 goals in all competitions this season – the last Middlesbrough player to hit 30 in a single campaign was Fabrizio Ravanelli in 1996-97 (31).
He may not have a wacky goal celebration or grey hair (unless the stress of the second leg gets to him) but should the former Arsenal man fire Middlesbrough to the Championship play-off final, he will surely join Ravanelli in having a special place in the hearts of the fans.
Akpom competed in more duels than any other Middlesbrough player in the first leg and won an impressive 76.9% of them (10 of 13).
Coventry City: Viktor Gyökeres
Coventry hot-shot Viktor Gyökeres was second only to Akpom in the scoring charts for the Championship in 2022-23.
Something particularly notable for this fixture is that the Swede scored more of his 21 goals away from home (11) than at home, and bagged more away goals than any other player in the Championship.
He was kept quiet in the first leg – as was Akpom – having just one shot, which was blocked. He will surely be determined to do more here.
Middlesbrough vs Coventry Prediction
Their home form makes Middlesbrough favourites on the night, with Opta’s supercomputer giving the hosts a 53.5% chance of victory inside 90 minutes, while Coventry are given just a 19.8% chance of grabbing the win.
A draw comes in at 26.7%, but of course there must be a winner on the night.
Middlesbrough are even heavier favourites to advance, given a 64.0% chance of doing so to Coventry’s 36.0%, while Carrick’s men have a 31.4% chance of winning the play-offs at this stage, with Coventry’s chances rated at 16.3%.
These are the play-offs though, where anything can happen.