Middlesbrough - Chelsea Preview: Manchester United await winners in FA Cup quarter-finals
Rafael Benitez takes the west London side to the Riverside Stadium to face the Championship outfit with a last-eight clash at Old Trafford awaiting the victors
By Husmukh Kerai
Bikey, Williams, McManus, Friend
Carayol, Leadbitter, Dyer, Hailliday
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand
Ramires, Mikel, Marin
Oscar, Torres, Moses
Tony Mowbray will be without defenders Justin Hoyte and Stuart Parnaby, meaning Andre Bikey should start at right-back with Stephen McManus alongside Rhys Williams at centre-back.
Josh McEachran, currently on-loan from Chelsea, is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Up front Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) is a doubt for the game, and so Curtis Main is on standby to support Scott McDonald.
Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez should continue with Petr Cech in goal ahead of second-choice keeper Ross Turnbull, despite his tendency to rotate goalkeepers in the cup.
Ryan Bertrand is likely to replace Ashley Cole at left-back, though, with John Terry set to partner David Luiz at centre-back and Branislav Ivanovic to start at right-back after Benitez ruled out Gary Cahill (virus) and Cesar Azpilicueta (leg).
Juan Mata is likely to be rested for the tie to give Oscar a chance whilst Fernando Torres should also return to Benitez's team.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Middlesbrough have not scored in their past five meetings with Chelsea and the last time the Blues visited the Riverside Stadium, they thumped Boro 5-0 in the Premier League.
- The Teesiders have only lost three of their last 22 FA Cup games at home.
- This will be the fourth meeting between Middlesbrough and Chelsea in the FA Cup. Chelsea have won two (including the 1997 final) and Boro have won one.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in nine of their last 11 matches against Middlesbrough in all competitions.
- The Blues have only lost one of their last 52 FA Cup games against lower ranked sides; losing 0-1 to Barnsley in March 2008.
- The Londoners’ record of 26 unbeaten FA Cup games is the longest ever run without defeat in the competition. (next best Blackburn Rovers on 23 saw their run ended in 1886).
- Chelsea's Ashley Cole (pictured right) has won the competition a record seven times.
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Top 3 Predictions
Middlesbrough 0-3 Chelsea FC
- 16.74 %
Middlesbrough 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 12.25 %
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 10.64 %
|FA Cup (FA)||27 Feb 2013||Middlesbrough 0 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Jan 2009||Chelsea FC 2 - Middlesbrough 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Oct 2008||Middlesbrough 0 - Chelsea FC 5|
|4 May 2013||Sheffield Wednesday 2 - Middlesbrough 0||ENG2|
|27 Apr 2013||Middlesbrough 2 - Charlton Athletic 2||ENG2|
|20 Apr 2013||Bolton Wanderers 2 - Middlesbrough 1||ENG2|
|16 Apr 2013||Middlesbrough 1 - Nottingham Forest 0||ENG2|
|13 Apr 2013||Middlesbrough 0 - Brighton & Hove Albion 2||ENG2|
|Returns:||Middlesbrough £3510.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Draw £660.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Chelsea £15.71||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|-||Scott Douglas McDonald||Striker|
|17||Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma||Midfielder|
|Scott Douglas McDonald|
Tony Mowbray's side are sure to hang their hopes on the shoulders of their top scorer. If Boro are to get anything from the tie, the Australian will need to be in fine form as he attempts to feed on scraps of service against the Blues. The former Southampton and Celtic striker has 10 goals in 18 appearances this term and will hope to add to that tally at the Riverside on Wednesday.
The Nigeria international was named player of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month and will be hoping to carry that form over into his Chelsea performances. He has shown glimpses of the talent which made him a star at Wigan before making his move to Stamford Bridge and the tie against Boro will be a rare occasion for the winger to stake his claim as first-team player in Rafa Benitez's squad.
The Blues are red hot favourites going into this tie and, after suffering a damaging defeat to Manchester City in the league at the weekend, will be expected to react positively. The likes of Oscar and Victor Moses will be eager to prove themselves as bonafide first-team players whilst Boro will simply hope to defend stoically and make the most of any chances that they are able to manufacture.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed