Chelsea vs Middlesbrough: Can Boro Hold On

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough: Can Boro Hold On

Analysis

Football

January 23rd, 2024

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough is set for a thrilling conclusion on Tuesday night as the two sides clash at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final. Middlesbrough stunned the football world with a 1-0 victory in the first leg thanks to Hayden Hackney's goal, leaving Chelsea with a mountain to climb in their quest for a place in the final.

History can be made on Chelsea vs Middlesbrough GAME

Hackney's heroics sent the Riverside Stadium into raptures, and another goal at Stamford Bridge would see him join Paul Merson (1997-98 vs Liverpool) as only the second player to score in both legs of an EFL Cup semi-final for Middlesbrough.

Chelsea, however, are no slouches in the second leg department. They've reached the final on two of the last three occasions they've lost the first leg of a semi-final, with both those second legs taking place at Stamford Bridge. History could be on their side, but Boro are no strangers to success at this stage either. They've progressed from their last three EFL Cup semi-finals, since winning it against Arsenal in 2003-04 on their way to lifting the trophy.

Michael Carrick's men are aiming to rewrite history, hoping to become the first lower-league side to eliminate Premier League opposition at the semi-final stage since Bradford City's triumph over Aston Villa in 2012-13. Meanwhile, Chelsea are desperate to avoid becoming the first top-flight team to lose both legs of a semi-final tie to a lower-tier side since their own defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in 1990-91.

Against All Odds

Stamford Bridge historically favors Chelsea against lower-league opposition. They've won 15 of their last 16 League Cup home games against such sides, with their last defeat coming in October 1999. The Blues have averaged a staggering 3.3 goals per game in these matches, suggesting they could be a real threat in front of their home crowd.

Middlesbrough, however, are riding a wave of momentum. They've won all six of their EFL Cup games this season, putting them in esteemed company as only the third team outside the top-flight to achieve such a feat, following in the footsteps of Bristol City (1987-89) and QPR (1966-67).

Predicting the hero of "Chelsea vs Middlesbrough" is a guessing game. All six of their EFL Cup goals this season have come from different players, highlighting their attacking depth. Christopher Nkunku, however, will be absent, ruled out by manager Mauricio Pochettino. Injuries continue to plague the Blues, with Reece James, Malo Gusto, Robert Sánchez, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Lesley Ugochukwu and Roméo Lavia also sidelined.

Middlesbrough have their own injury concerns, with Emmanuel Latte Lath ruled out and Isaiah Jones a doubt after picking up a knock at the weekend. Luke Ayling, Sam Greenwood and Finn Azaz are cup-tied, limiting Carrick's options.

Head To Head Chelsea vs Middlesbrough

Chelsea hold a significant advantage. They are unbeaten in their last 21 home games against Boro in all competitions, with their last defeat coming way back in 1975. In fact, the Blues haven't conceded a goal to Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge in their last nine meetings, making them a tough nut to crack at home.

Middlesbrough followed up their first-leg win with a 3-1 victory at Millwall but then stumbled to a 1-1 draw against Rotherham. Chelsea, meanwhile, beat Fulham 1-0 in their last game before the winter break.

This Chelsea vs Middlesbrough clash promises to be an edge-of-your-seat encounter. Can Boro hold on to their lead and create a giant-killing upset, or will Chelsea's Stamford Bridge dominance and hunger for silverware see them roar back and book their place in the final? Tune in on Tuesday night to find out!

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tag: Chelsea , Middlesbrough

Klind Parangoni Author

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