A 30/1 float for Middlesbrough against Chelsea in the FA Cup


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This year marks 25 years since Middlesbrough and its fans experienced one of the most upsetting and heartbreaking campaigns football has ever seen. They reached two domestic cup finals but lost them both and, although Fabrizio Ravanelli scored 31 goals in all competitions, they were relegated from the Premier League.

To rub salt in the wound, Boro only went down because they were tied down three points for not completing a game. No covid reports these days, friends.


It’s only natural that this game would bring back memories of 1997 as, in the only FA Cup final in their history, Middlesbrough lost to Chelsea. And they were effectively beaten in the space of 42 seconds, as that was the time it took future Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo to put the Blues ahead.

Chelsea went on to beat Boro in the League Cup final the following season and have won both FA Cup encounters since. They are unsurprisingly the favorites to reach the semi-finals here too.

*A Bet Builder with these best bets pays approximately 30/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

Saturday 5:15 p.m.: Middlesbrough – Chelsea
Television: BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website

Although Middlesbrough are obviously an underdog, their run in the competition so far will provide them with all the encouragement they need. Chris Wilder’s side eliminated Manchester United on penalties at Old Trafford then beat Tottenham Hotspur after extra time at the Riverside.

At the very least, they can hope to take the game beyond 90 minutes, especially since (including the Spurs game) they have won their last nine home games. And although Chelsea’s form is also excellent, having won 11 of their last 12 matches, the club are in turmoil off the pitch.

Thomas Tuchel doesn’t have to drive the team to Teeside in a van, but the fact that it’s a real possibility speaks volumes about the madness swirling around the Blues. One of the benefits of being funded by an oligarch for almost two decades is that you have a hell of a team.

Chelsea are likely to make changes to their XI, but one that involves bringing in a £97m striker who has a point to prove. As such, they should be able to win comfortably enough and by at least two goals to overcome the Chelsea (-1) disability.

However, one of the costs of implementing slightly unusual rosters has been the inability to keep linens clean. Tuchel’s boys have conceded the power of Chesterfield, Plymouth and Luton (twice) in the previous three rounds.

Middlesbrough have scored just once in the main fixtures against United and Spurs, having taken just 14 shots, and five teams have more home goals than them in the 2021/22 Championship.

But no second-tier side have managed to score in fewer games on their own patch, with Birmingham City (who Boro beat 2-0 at St. Andrew’s midweek) the only side to return from the Riverside with a white sheet. . With this record behind them, the home side can ensure that both teams score in this game.

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If you don’t watch the Championship much, you tend to think of it as full of long-ball football where teams do little more than rely on set pieces for goals. Still, it says a lot that despite Middlesbrough’s games with the most corners in the division, it’s still fewer than there have been for 11 Premier League sides this season, including Chelsea.

And although Boro’s games have averaged 10.3 corners, 10 of their 18 home games have paid over 10.5 – the most in the league – and five have featured at least 14 corners. The Blues may not have had that many recently, but there have been 11 or more in three of their last five domestic away matches, including at Luton in the previous round. As such, we should be good for More than 11.5 corners here.

Middlesbrough are also near the top of the table for total yellow cards for the Championship, although they are only midpoint for having received them in home games. They have also fared well in their recent FA Cup games against the Premier League big boys, picking up just one booking apiece in those two matches, despite both lasting 120 minutes.

Let’s be honest though, English referees love nothing more than doing their best to make cup matches like these better. They probably got away with all sorts.

Chelsea haven’t been given too many yellows lately and with Paul Tierney running the show there’s no reason to think they will here either, so pop Less than 3.5 cards down on your Bet Builder and enjoy the match, folks.

Chelsea (-1)
Both teams score
More than 11.5 corners
Less than 3.5 cards

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