The FA Cup quarter-finals kick off at the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough play host to Manchester City.
Aitor Karanka’s side have won just one of their last 13 Premier League matches – a run of results that has seen the team from Teesside slide into the bottom three of the top tier, and preserving their Premier League status will surely be the home sides' priority for the remainder of the campaign.
Boro have never before won the FA Cup and the hosts are chalked up as a 11/2 (6.50) chance to win this tie inside 90 minutes.
Manchester City may still be competing for silverware on three fronts this season but they, too, have been starved of success in this competition down the years, with their only FA Cup triumph since 1969 secured in a 1-0 win against Stoke City back in 2011.
Guardiola’s charges have certainly impressed in the competition thus far this term, scoring 13 goals and conceding just once in their previous four FA Cup fixtures – although the men from Manchester did require a replay to see off Championship side Huddersfield Town in the previous round.
City, unbeaten in their last 10 matches, are chalked up as Paddy Power’s 4/9 (1.44) favourites to come out on top inside 90 minutes, while the same firm offer 16/5 (3.20) that a replay is required to separate the sides.
Karanka’s side have struggled badly in front of goal, managing just two strikes in their last eight games against Premier League opposition and the inability to take their chances is surely a major cause for concern ahead of this clash.
City drew a blank against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup last month and in their most recent match - against Stoke Ciy on Wednesday night - but the men from Manchester have been in fine form in the final third; indeed, Guardiola’s men have scored 25 goals in their last 10 matches, with the men from Manchester winning by more than a single goal in all but one of their last eight victories in all competitions.
The odds compilers offer 17/10 (2.70) that City score more than two goals in this tie – a selection that would have landed in three of their four FA Cup ties thus far this term – while the same firm go 11/10 (2.10) that the visitors win by more than a single goal.
Better value, though, could lie in backing Guardiola’s side to win without conceding; the selection would have landed in each of City’s last six away wins in all competitions and the 5/4 (2.25) quote could represent a solid selection against shot-shy Boro side.
|Manchester City to win to nil at 5/4 (2.25) for a 2pt stake with Paddy Power|