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  1. Stoke are unbeaten in seven league games at home
  2. The Potters can go ninth with a victory
  3. Middlesbrough have failed to win last nine league games
  4. Boro looking for only their fifth win of the season

Live Reporting

By Alex Bysouth

All times stated are UK

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Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

OK, that's a wrap from me, but you can follow all the reaction to today's games by clicking right here


Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

That's it. All too easy for Stoke, as Boro drop into the relegation zone for the first time this season.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Ramadan Sobhi again.

The Potters fans are really taking to the tricky winger, who sends Ibrahim Afellay through one-on-one.

It's former Barcelona man on former Barcelona man. Victor Valdes wins this one, smart save. 

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Ramadan Sobhi - from smashing it clear to dancing his way through the Boro defence.

Lovely stuff from the Egyptian, who waltzes his way into the area and looks to tee up Saido Berahino, only to see the visitors scramble clear.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

I'm not sure Saido Berahino's touched the ball since he came on?

Not all his fault, of course, as Stoke have seemed a little happier to sit in and see this one out.

Ah, there we go, he's earned his match fee. A nice little lay off to Ramadan Sobhi, who pumps one deep into the Boro half. 

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Problems for Aitor Karanka. 

His side have barely looked like scoring today.

Stoke struggled at Spurs last week, but it's been all to easy for them this afternoon.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Stoke go straight down the other end, but it's a good save from Victor Valdes to stop the hosts making it three.

Ramadan Sobhi sends a diving header towards the bottom corner from Glenn Whelan's searching ball.

Close for the Potters.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

First chance for Adlene Guedioura as he tries to curl one in from Rudy Gestede's lay off.

That's high, wide and not at all handsome... and that six-year spell without a goal makes a little more sense.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Boro haven't scored in three Premier League matches, and they don't look like ending that streak here.

Stoke, meanwhile, have another striker to send on - it's Saido Berahino for Peter Crouch.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Aitor Karanka throws new boy Adlene Guedioura into the mix - can the former Watford man make a difference?

Well, he's not scored a Premier League goal for nearly six years.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Peter Crouch is such a nuisance.

He's great with his feet, but that tall, gangly figure also makes him a nightmare to defend against in the air.

Boro haven't got to grips with the Stoke front man today.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Just to add insult to injury, we've just seen it wasn't even Ben Gibson who was offside for the goal, but his team-mate Bernardo.

When things aren't going your way...

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Nothing's going Boro's way this afternoon.

They lost Daniel Ayala early on, Ben Gibson had a goal ruled out for offside and now Cristhian Stuani thinks he was fouled, only to see it go the other way.

Things can only get better for the visitors, can't they? 

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

And that's the end of the Marko Arnautovic show for this afternoon.

Not a bad return from the Austrian: two goals, a few chances created and plenty of flicks and tricks.

Mame Biram Diouf comes on. 

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Every time Marko Arnautovic gets the ball this Stoke crowd are off their seats. 

He lofts a ball nonchalantly to the back post for Ramadan Sobhi, but the Egyptian can't get a shot off.

Arnautovic is down on the ground now, having a breather? Maybe. He probably deserves one.


Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Ben Gibson thinks he got Boro back in it...

But it's been chalked off for offside. Looked tight to me.

It came from a deep Grant Leadbitter delivery, with Gibson reacting first to poke home.

Peter Crouch will be relieved, mind, he was the one to lose his marker.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Ah, lovely from Ramadan Sobhi, one for the highlights reel.

He flicks it between his marker's legs to huge applause from the Stoke faithful... before losing possession - but it's worth it for a nutmeg, isn't it?

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

The visitors have been struggling to get out of their half, so Ben Gibson decides he's the man to do something about it.

The centre-half goes striding through the Stoke midfield to carry his side forward, but it's the same old for Boro - no cutting edge.

In fact, that promising attack ends with Stoke going up the other end and winning a corner...

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Boro need to get hold of this one, or they could be on the end of a hammering.

They've got to go for it, but the visitors are wide open at the back and only a poor delivery from Marko Arnautovic this time lets them off the hook. 

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Marko Arnautovic starts the second half the way he finished the first, causing problems for the Boro back line.

George Friend will be having nightmares about the Austrian tonight.

It's a neat ball from Arnautovic, but Boro survive the following corner. 


Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Well Aitor Karanka has made a change - Cristhian Stuani, the man tasked with turning Boro's fortunes around, replaces Gaston Ramirez.


Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

What will Aitor Karanka say to his side at the break? You'd fancy he'll have to throw caution to the wind in the second half.

Mark Hughes will be happy, his Stoke outfit have looked a completely different team to the one hammered at Tottenham last week.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

It looks like a long, long way back for Boro.

They've barley threatened and striker Rudy Gestede, making his first Premier League start for the visitors, has had little to feed on.

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Well Marko Arnautovic is a man full of confidence.

That was more like the Stoke of old, a lofted corner headed down by Peter Crouch and Arnautovic reacting first inside the six-yard box to swivel and score through a bunch of Boro defenders.

GOAL - Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough

Marko Arnautovic, 41 mins

Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

Marko Arnautovic puts Stoke ahead
Marko Arnautovic puts Stoke ahead

Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

That's the closest the visitors have come, as Grant Leadbitter is given time to line up an effort from outside the area and big deflection off Geoff Cameron's boot takes it narrowly past the post.

Leadbitter then pulls the corner back to the edge of the box for Marten de Roon to volley, but he slices way over the bar.

Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

Well it's an effort on target at least for the visitors, but Bernardo's header from a floated Grant Leadbitter free-kick proves no problem for Lee Grant.

Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

Well Stoke have looked by far and away the most dangerous when they get Marko Arnautovic on the ball - the Austrian seems to have that little bit of extra class.

Mark Hughes' side definitely deserve their lead and now Boro have to do something they haven't done in their past three league games, score.

Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

Wonderful from Marko Arnautovic.

He plucks a high ball forward out of the air with a neat touch between two defenders, skips rounds Victor Valdes in the Boro goal and smashes into the unprotected net for his fifth of the season.

Great stuff.

GOAL - Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough

Marko Arnautovic, 29 mins

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

First chance for Boro, as Marten de Roon breaks free of his man, dribbles into the box and glances up at Lee Grant before winding up a shot.

That gives Geoff Cameron just about enough time recover and he blocks the Boro man's effort. 

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

Boro this time get their chance to test the Stoke defence from a set-piece. Grant Leadbitter chooses to go short, but the Potters read it and win possession back.

They look to set Marko Arnautovic away on the break, but he's well tracked by George Friend and the Boro left-back is able to see it through to keeper Victor Valdes.

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

Glen Johnson gets the better of Adama Traore in the air and is fouled by the Boro winger, it gives Glenn Whelan the chance to deliver and the visitors can't properly clear.

Joe Allen then slips as he goes to strike one from the edge of the box, before Ryan Shawcross, of all people, finds himself with only one Boro defender to beat.

The big defender's final ball isn't quite there, and Boro survive.


Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

As soon as I say that, the Potters hit the bar.

It was a neat move to set Marko Arnautovic free on the right and his low, teasing ball found Ramadan Sobhi in the penalty area, but the Egyptian hammers one against the crossbar.

It rebounds to Joe Allen in the box, but he skews an effort high and wide.

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

Stoke are looking for a more measured approach, resisting the temptation to go long to Peter Crouch - which is more than can be said for plenty of England teams in the past.

But the hosts haven't been able to muster any kind of chance yet. Boro's defence, despite that early change, looking untroubled at the minute.

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

Boro's frustrating start continues, they're forced into an early change as Daniel Ayala limps off to be replaced by Bernado at the back.

Not ideal for the visitors.

But that said, they string their first decent move together that ends with Adama Traore lofting one to the back post and Rudy Gestede rising highest, only to head straight into the gloves of Lee Grant.

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

A lot has been made of Boro's lack of goals, but one thing you can usually rely on Aitor Karanka's side for is crisp, passing football.

That's not been the case in the opening few minutes here, Boro haven't strung more than three passes together.

Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

An early set piece for the Potters is easily defended by the visitors, but Boro give possession away cheaply and Marko Arnautovic is fouled by George Friend at the side of the box.

Glenn Whelan whips it in, but again Boro scramble clear.


Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough

We're under way. Middlesbrough, desperately needing a win, or even a goal, begin this one.