The mood around Old Trafford has certainly improved in recent weeks. It is amazing what 4 League wins in a row will do for a club after the frustration of drawing so many games from seemingly winning positions. Two players have been at the centre of the resurgence in United’s form and they are of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Zlatan has only gone and managed to have a hand in 10 goals in his last 7 Premier League games – scoring 8 goals and providing 2 assists including setting up Mkhitaryan’s stunning “scorpion” kick goal last time out against Sunderland. This comes after the Swedish striker had gone 6 Premier League games without scoring or assisting with some negative media types suggesting he was past his best which the striker has demonstrated is definitely not the case.
Mkhitaryan has suddenly become the player he was expected to be when United signed him and he has scored in his last 3 games providing the winner against Zorya Luhansk, scoring the crucial winner against League rivals Tottenham in a must-win game and then of course scoring “that” goal against Sunderland in the Red-Devils’ last match vs David Moyes’ Black Cats. The Armenian of course was forced to miss the match against Crystal Palace due to the ankle injury he suffered at the end of the Tottenham game or he might have scored more goals than the impressive 3 he already has.
Recent games suggest United should beat Aitor Karanka’s Boro side as Jose Mourinho’s side are undefeated in 7 Premier League matches vs the Teesiders having won 4 games and drawn 3. The last time United lost to Boro in the League was back in October of 2005 when they went down to a 4-1 defeat. However, the last time the two clubs met was last season when Boro were in the Championship which as we now know they went on to gain promotion from to the Premier League. The game occurred in the League Cup last season and after the two clubs played out a 0-0 draw the game went to penalties with Middlesbrough coming out on top 3-1 so Boro will feel some confidence for Saturday’s game.
Club Captain Wayne Rooney actually has a very good record against Middlesbrough having scored 2 goals and added 3 assists in his last 4 Premier League games against them but it seems as though Rooney will not be available as he has a thigh injury which will probably keep him sidelined until early in the new year.
Boro have been pretty decent since returning to the Premier League and have not suffered any heavy defeats as their -4 goal difference and League position of 15th on 18 points, 4 points above the relegation zone can attest. Boro may be doing quite well but we can only see one winner in the game at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve as we expect the Red-Devils to maintain their momentum and continue their winning run. We are predicting a 3-1 win for United as Jose Mourinho will be hoping to gain some ground on the 5 clubs ahead of him in the League.