FOOTBALL

AUTHOR: davidstewart

STAR PREVIEW Sat: Middlesbrough v Chelsea

Chelsea will need to put their ownership worries to one side when they make the trip to North Yorkshire for an FA Cup quarter-final clash with Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.

Middlesbrough have been one of the stories of this year’s FA Cup with Wilder’s plucky Championship side having knocked both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur out of this year’s competition.

At Old Trafford, Boro stood firm; taking the tie to penalties before Anthony Elanga suffered the ignominy of missing the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. Their game against Spurs was similar in its caginess, but the tie was won in extra-time through a powerful strike from academy product Josh Coburn.

Now, they face another test against one of the Premier League’s big-hitters with a place in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on the line at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

Andraz Sporar, who has been a key man for Wilder’s men this season, is unlikely to be available due to injury but the former Oxford United boss was able to welcome Anfernee Dijksteel back to his side for the recent win against Birmingham City.

Middlesbrough v Chelsea
FA Cup Quarter-Final
17:15 BBC One / BBC iPlayer / BBC Sport Website

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough
NOV 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea
FEB 2013 FA CUP Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea
JAN 2009 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough
OCT 2008 PREMIER LEAGUE Middlesbrough 0-5 Chelsea
MAR 2008 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 1-0 Middlesbrough
OCT 2007 PREMIER LEAGUE Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea
FEB 2007 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough
AUG 2006 PREMIER LEAGUE Middlesbrough 2-1 Chelsea
FEB 2006 PREMIER LEAGUE Middlesbrough 3-0 Chelsea

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Chelsea Football Club with their current ownership status overshadowing anything going on on the pitch at the moment.

Due to current owner Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the UK government, Chelsea have been left in limbo with the club unable to sell tickets to matches – including this one – until a new owner takes control.

But, despite this, Thomas Tuchel has been able to keep his players focussed and steered the Blues into the Champions League quarter-finals this week with a win over Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Chelsea will certainly be looking to retain their Champions League crown this season, but the FA Cup might well be their best shot at further silverware to add to the Club World Cup they won in February.

Middlesbrough have already shown that they have the ability to go toe-to-toe with top sides in this competition this season and keep things tight, having not conceded a goal to either Manchester United or Spurs. We do think Chelsea will pip them to a spot in the semi-final but don’t expect it to be a high-scoring affair. We’re backing Chelsea and under 2.5 goals here.


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