|By PAUL GOUGH
High-flying Swansea City are looming as a great chance of not only beating Championship side Middlesbrough in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final but actually winning this year's competition to claim their first major trophy.
After a promising return to England's top flight for the first time in nearly 30 years last season when they finished 11th, the Swans were tipped for relegation this season after they lost talented young manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool.
But with Danish legend Michael Laudrup taking over, Swansea have gone from strength to strength and now sit eighth in the league as they challenge for their highest finish in the top division of sixth in the 1981-82 season.
And after a recent stunning win at Arsenal, Swansea - having knocked Liverpool out of this competition in the previous round - are red-hot favourites to advance to the semi-finals by beating Boro at home.
Swansea are the $1.67 favourites at sportsbet.com.au and $1.69 at Betfair, where they have attracted more than 80 percent of money wagered.
Boro, despite sitting third in the Championship, are given little chance of causing an upset and are priced at $5 at sportsbet.com.au and $5.80 at Betfair.
|Swansea to win v Middlesbrough at $1.69 at Betfair
||Michu to score the first goal of Swansea v Middlesbrough at $5 at Betfair|
Before the quarter-finals Swansea were the third favourites to lift the trophy this season at $8.60 at Betfair behind big guns Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea, winners of four of the past six FA Cups as well as this competition in 2005 and 2007, are the $2.58 favourites to win the trophy at Betfair, with their quarter-final at Championship side Leeds United set for next week.
However, the Blues have been struggling under new manager Rafael Benitez, and Swansea are being tipped to spring the kind of fairytale result we saw in 2011 when Birmingham City beat Arsenal in the final to win their first trophy for 48 years.
But one man who could pose a threat to Swansea is in-form Socceroo striker Scott McDonald, who scored the winner when Boro knocked out arch-rivals Sunderland in the fourth round.
McDonald is priced at $8 at sportsbet.com.au and $9.20 at Betfair to score the first goal, but Swansea's Spanish star Michu - scorer of both goals in the 2-0 win at Arsenal - is the favourite at $4 at sportsbet.com.au and $5 at Betfair.
And that is great value considering Michu has scored the opener for Swansea six times this season in the league and 12 in total in a stunning debut season.
*Note prices subject to change