Chelsea vs Middlesbrough. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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The hosts face a tough task - they need to bounce back after 0:1 in the first leg. Who will eventually qualify for the final?

Chelsea FC will host Middlesbrough FC in the English Football League Cup semi final match at the Stamford Bridge Stadium. The fixture will take place on Wednesday, January 24, beginning at 01:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Chelsea News & Current Form: 

The Blues are still very unstable, but they have picked up some momentum lately. Chelsea will not fight for the title, but they can fight for a place in the UEFA Champions League zone if the circumstances are right. At the moment the team is in ninth place in the Premier League table with 31 points, trailing the leading Liverpool by as much as 17 points.

In the last games of the championship the wards of Mauricio Pochettino managed to outplay Fulham FC (1:0), Luton Town FC (3:2) and Crystal Palace FC (2:1, but lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (1:2). Before that there was a victory over Sheffield United FC (2:0), and in the Emirates FA Cup at the stage of 1/16 finals Londoners will play against Aston Villa FC.

Having failed to live up to expectations in the championship, the club has made the League Cup a priority target for the second half of the season. The team from the capital of England has already passed four stages of the tournament, beating AFC Wimbledon(2:1), Brighton and Hove Albion FC (1:0), Blackburn Rovers FC (2:0) and Newcastle United FC (1:1, 4:2 on penalties). However, a sensational defeat in the first leg against Middlesbrough jeopardized their progression to the final (1:0).

Cole Palmer of Chelsea FC scored the decisive goal in the game against Fulham FC

For the first time in the last nine years, Chelsea lost to a representative of the lower division in official matches. It should be noted that in that meeting the Londoners had 18 shots on goal, and Cole Palmer alone had enough chances for a couple of goals, but the realization let them down. 

After the game, head coach Pochettino received another portion of criticism. Some say he failed to properly set up his team. To qualify for the final, Londoners need to beat the opponent with a difference of two or more goals. If the return meeting ends with one goal, the winner of the confrontation will be determined in extra time or in a penalty shootout. 

“It’s hard for me to say we were completely bad. We created chances but we couldn’t manage our chances properly. I believe we are capable of reaching the final. We will have enough time to prepare for the return game,” Pochettino remarked.

By the way, in the next game against Fulham (1:0), Palmer made amends by converting an 11-meter penalty. Having beaten their opponents, the Blues extended their winning streak in the English league at Stamford Bridge to four games, the last time they managed such a feat under Roman Abramovich.

Gradually, Chelsea are becoming what everyone is used to seeing. And all thanks to Mauricio Pochettino, who has managed to give the team quality team football, built on ball control and high intensity. As a result, the number of marriages and defeats has noticeably decreased.

The coaching staff of Londoners still can not count on a number of their leaders: goalie Robert Sanchez and Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu and Trevoh Chalobah – all of them are injured.

The condition of Christopher Nkunku remains in question, with forward Jackson (7 goals) traveling with Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations. Winger Cole Palmer (9 goals and 4 assists) will be out in attack alongside Raheem Sterling (5 goals and 3 assists) and they will be supported in midfield by Enzo Fernandez.

In addition, Chelsea have recalled winger Diego Moreira from his loan at Olympique Lyonnais. The London club signed the 19-year-old Portuguese as a free agent in the summer of 2023 after the player left SL Benfica. Moreira made his debut for the Blues in an FA Cup match against Wimbledon in August and was soon loaned out to Lyon. In the French club Moreira took part in 7 matches in Ligue 1, without scoring.

Middlesbrough News & Current Form: 

The team from the city of the same name performs in the Championship, but, most likely, will not enter the EPL at the end of the current season. The team from Middlesbrough is a solid mid-table team from the 11th place, which has 40 points after 28 games.

In recent games Michael Carrick’s wards played a draw with Rotherham United FC (1:1), beat Millwall FC (3:1) and lost to Coventry City FC (1:3), and before that there was a victory over Huddersfield Town FC (2:1), a defeat from Rotherham (0:1) and victories against West Bromwich Albion FC (1:0) and Swansea City AFC (2:1).

As for the League Cup, Middlesbrough started from the first round and have already managed to pass Huddersfield (3:2), Bolton Wanderers FC (3:1), Bradford City AFC (2:0), Exeter City FC (3:2) and Port Vale FC (3:0). 

Boro sensationally made it to the semi-finals of the League Cup, however, the team had no Premier League opponents until this stage. The last time the team achieved such a resounding success was in the 2003/2004 season. Then in the semi-finals managed to pass Arsenal FC, and in the decisive game defeated Bolton. 

If we talk about the first cup match against Chelsea, Carrick was very pleased with the level of performance of his team:

“We battled for each other and I’m proud of my lads. We controlled the space well and realized our moment. Chelsea could have come back but we were a bit lucky. Anyway, we played a great game against a big team from the Premier League”, – says gaffer.

Top scorer of Middlesbrough FC – Emmanuel Latte Lath

It is worth noting that the club have made remarkable progress since the appointment of former Manchester United FC midfielder Michael Carrick as head coach. Last season they finished in the play-off zone for the EPL, but in the semifinals they lost offensively to Coventry (0:0 and 0:1).

The White and Reds have been performing well away on recent tours, with four victories and only one defeat. The visitors’ infirmary is also overcrowded: defenders Alex Bangura, Darragh Lenihan and Tommy Smith are injured, as well as the team’s top scorer Emmanuel Latte Lath (5 goals in the Championship). 

In addition, main goalkeeper Seny Dieng (Senegal), midfielder Riley McGree (Australia) and striker Sam Silvera (Australia) are currently with their national teams. Defender Anfernee Dijksteel was also absent from Boro’s bid last weekend and his participation remains in doubt. Marcus Forss will probably act in the center of the pitch in place of Morgan Rogers

Chelsea form guide: L-W-W-W-L-W

Middlesbrough form guide: W-L-L-W-W-D

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Head-To-Head Record:

  • May 8, 2017: Chelsea 3 : 0 Middlesbrough (Premier League);
  • March 19, 2022: Middlesbrough 0 : 2 Chelsea (FA Cup);
  • January 9, 2024: Middlesbrough 1 : 0 Chelsea (League Cup).

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Predicted XI:

Chelsea’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, T Silva, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Sterling; Palmer.

Middlesbrough’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Glover; Ayling, Fry, Clarke, Engel; Barlaser, Howson; Hackney, Rogers, Azaz; Forss.

Statistical preview of the match Chelsea vs Middlesbrough:

  • Chelsea’s First XI average age is 24.8 years, Middlesbrough’s First XI average age is 26.1 years.
  • The total value of Chelsea’s squad is 980 mln euros, while the total of Boro comes up to just 70 mln euros.
  • John Brooks has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served 18 games this season, showing an average of 4 Yellow Cards and also whistles 23.39 fouls per game. 
  • Statistically, 10.69 corners are awarded in Chelsea’s home games and 10.68 in Middlesbrough’s away games. 
  • In 7 previous games in this tournament, the Londoners have won only three games in regulation time (2 draws and 2 defeats). 
  • No more than two goals scored per 90 minutes in 12 of Chelsea’s last 13 matches in the English League Cup.
  • Chelsea has a 9-match unbeaten streak at home in regular time in this tournament (5 wins and 4 draws).
  • Boro have a 6-match winning streak in this tournament.
  • Middlesbrough have won in five previous away games in the English League Cup.
  • Michael Carrick’s side have scored at least two goals in their last five away games in this tournament.
  • Three or more goals have been scored in regulation time in 7 of Middlesbrough’s 8 previous away games in the English League Cup. 

What has been said before the match:

Mauricio Pochettino of Chelsea FC about the results of the first game against Middlesbrough:

“We felt very disappointed after the first game because when you analyzed it, we deserved more. But in football, sometimes it’s not about what you deserve. It’s about being clinical, aggressive, scoring goals, and defending actions that the opponent forces you into near your goal.”

“We were all disappointed but we have 90 minutes to fix the situation and win. We will respect the opponent because they are going to be tough. But it’s a massive chance for us to have a possibility to go to the final and fight for a title.”

“It’s a passport to go to a final, to visit Wembley. It’s a really important game for us and we need to show it’s important for the club, for us, for everyone. We want to be in the final but first we need to beat a very good team, Middlesbrough, that in the first leg we couldn’t beat.”

“Of course, it’s going to be tough, but we are confident that we can have a very good game against Middlesbrough in front of our fans. We need to take advantage of playing at Stamford Bridge with all the energy that will translate from our fans.”

Gaffer of Boro Michael Carrick ahead of the semi final clash in the Cup:

“Part of football is creating hopes and dreams and the passion and excitement, the fairytale. I was exactly the same when I was purely a supporter. That is what it should be.”

“It is very different when you are in it. You have to be concentrated and a bit more business-like. That doesn’t take away the buzz and excitement and the passion to do well. It is just slightly different.”

“But certainly the supporters should be dreaming and making the most of it and wanting to play the very best, because that is the beauty of football.nThere’ll be the psychological factor, 100 percent. It’s not a copy and paste performance, it doesn’t work like that.”

”We know that, but the boys will take a lot of belief from feeling they can compete against teams and players like that. But the next game is always a brand-new scenario. They just have to go and play well and express themselves and play exactly as they’re capable of doing. “

“In any profession you want to push yourself and see what the best looks like. For some of the boys it is the first time they have faced that level of player – can you cope? What does it feel like? How good are they when you come up against them? The boys have coped with that fantastically well and felt like they belong there.”

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Prediction:

In the first match, Middlesbrough withstood on their own pitch and didn’t even concede, although it was outright luck. The stats vividly prove it: 72% possession for Chelsea, 17:5 shots, 2.46 xG for the Londoners and only 0.80 expected goals for the hosts at the time. A classic scenario where underdogs knock teams far superior to them out of tournaments, sometimes all it takes is a couple of half chances and a dash of fluke.

Now the match will take place at Stamford Bridge, and the support of the home stands gives the Aristocrats even more advantage. Londoners are now on a certain upswing, plus they have a slightly improved situation with injuries, chemistry is developing and they are confident in their abilities. Mauricio Pochettino’s men, for instance, know how to get results at home: seven wins and a draw in eight previous matches. At least two goals have been scored in six of those fixtures. Chelsea will be able to put the upstart EFL Championship side in their place and seal their passage to the final.

The probable nature of the meeting does not suggest a bright counter course offensive showdown. Middlesbrough have been timid in attack on their own pitch, and in the return game they may close down and completely focus on defense, which would be a logical decision. At the same time, Carrick’s squad have scored a lot of away goals at a rate of 2.18 goals per game, but with the adjustment for the general level of the Championship. Chelsea should own the initiative and put pressure on the opponent’s defenders right from the kick-off whistle, yet the hosts have a well-known problem with conversion of goal scoring chances – 1.75 goals on average in home games while creating 2.18 xG. It won’t be easy for the Blues to breach the visitors’ solid backline time after time, so an abundance of goals is not expected.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Chelsea will not lose and the match total will be less than 3.5 goals – Yes.

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