Middlesbrough vs Chelsea Betting Preview
Wednesday’s FA Cup tie sees Chelsea travel north to play Middlesbrough for a place in the Sixth Round. The last time the two sides met was in 2009 with both sides in the Premier League, but since then Boro have slipped into the status of a steady Championship whilst Chelsea have gone on to win the Champions League and Premier League titles. However, it has been Middlesbrough who have found it easier going in the FA Cup this season, breezing past Aldershot and Hastings United to reach the Fifth Round. Chelsea were forced into a replay by Brentford but came through 4-0 winners.
Middlesbrough’s Recent Results:
Middlesbrough 1-2 Millwall (Main)
Burnley 0-0 Middlesbrough
Crystal Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough (Haroun)
Middlesbrough 1-0 Leeds United (Main)
Middlesbrough have hit a rough patch of form in recent weeks with just 3 wins coming from their last 11 matches, which includes both FA Cup results against lower opposition. This has seen them slip from automatic promotion contenders to potentially missing out on the play-off spots. They currently sit in 7th with 12 games to play, 11 points from 2nd placed Watford and three above 8th placed Nottingham Forest.
Although their Championship form has dipped, it has been a promising season for the northern club, having made it to the quarter final of the Capital One Cup before being beaten by eventual winners Swansea by one goal to nil.
Middlesbrough have significant firepower in the shape of Scott McDonald and Lukas Jutkiewicz, who have scored a total of 21 goals between them this season. The acquisition of Shola Ameoobi from Newcastle on loan this month will help their cause, although he is ineligible for the match. With Jutkiewicz out injured, responsibility will lie on top scorer McDonald – he is best priced at 7/2 to score anytime with Ladbrokes.
Chelsea’s Recent Results:
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 1-1 Sparta Prague (Hazard)
Chelsea 4-0 Brentford (Mata, Oscar, Lampard, Terry)
Sparta Prague 0-1 Chelsea (Oscar)
Chelsea have had a torrid season and fans’ hope of silverware this season rest on their success in the FA Cup. After a comprehensive victory over Southampton in the Third Round, they found themselves lucky to avoid defeat against League One side Brentford before making sure they weren’t embarrassed with four second half goals in the replay.
Last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City allowed Tottenham to leapfrog them in the table on Monday night, dropping them into a heated battle for the final two Champions League places with Arsenal, Everton, West Brom and Liverpool.
Fernando Torres has been constantly lambasted for his failure to score this season, having scored just 7 goals from 57 shots in the Premier League. Instead, midfielders Juan Mata and Frank Lampard have stepped up to score 30 goals between them in all competitions, including 3 in the FA Cup. Torres has had occasions of silencing his critics over the past seven months and has a perfect platform to do so once more on Wednesday night. He is 5/1 with Paddy Power to score first.
These two teams have met a total of 19 times since the start of the 2000/2001 season, Chelsea coming out winners on 12 occasions. Middlesbrough have failed to score against Chelsea in the last five meetings between the teams. Chelsea are best priced with Coral at 8/5 to keep a clean sheet.
Despite failing to score on Sunday, Chelsea have bagged 16 goals in 8 games and have had no problems finding the net in the FA Cup thus far. Bet365 price a -1.5 Asian Handicap for Chelsea at 17/10 (Chelsea need to win by 2 goals or more).
Whilst Chelsea have dominated on corners against their opponents this month, Middlesbrough have been heavily beaten on numerous occasions. Although this market is often overlooked, Chelsea should dominate on Wednesday night and are well priced by Paddy Power at 10/11 with a handicap of -2.
Chelsea’s loss at the weekend will have put pressure on the side to step up and start performing, particularly after a narrow aggregate win over Sparta Prague in the Europa League last week. Middlesbrough will put up a good fight at home but with Chelsea’s big players expected to perform, they should do enough to set up a Sixth Round match against Manchester United.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea – Best priced at 7/1 with Sky Bet.
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