Football / Middlesbrough Football Club / Sport

Struggling Boro take on high-flying City in crucial Emirates FA Cup game

Premier League  strugglers  Middlesbrough are hoping for an upset when they host high-flying Man City at the Riverside Stadium in the Emirates FA Cup.

Last time the sides met in this competition Middlesbrough won 2-0 at  the Etihad  Stadium thanks to goals from Kike and Patrick Bamford.

The two faced off earlier in the season again and Boro managed to snatch a last gasp equaliser through Marten de Roon who cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s first half strike.

The teams now play each other in what is set to be an interesting tie as their recent form couldn’t be any more different.

Middlesbrough are without a league win in the last 10 games whereas Man City have only lost twice in the last 10 games.

In the last round of the cup Boro had to beat League One Oxford United, however they made tough work of it.

Two-nil up at half time and cruising thanks to a penalty from Grant Leadbitter and stunning overhead kick from Rudy Gestede, Boro managed to blow their two goal advantage by conceding two goals in the space of two minutes.

With the scores at 2-2 and tie going for a replay Boro grabbed a winner with just minutes left on the clock  when Cristhian Stuani popped up with the eventual winner in the 86th minute.

It took Manchester City two games to beat Huddersfield in the last round of the FA Cup.

City drew their first game away in the cup at Huddersfield 0-0 and had to settle for a home replay at the Etihad Stadium.

In the eventual replay City managed to beat Huddersfield 5-1 but they had to do it the hard way by coming from a goal behind after Huddersfield took the lead in the opening 10 minutes.

City had goals from all over the pitch in their last FA cup game and had Sane, Zabaleta, Iheanacho and two goals from Aguero helped the Citizens into the next round.

In their last game in the Premier League Middlesbrough lost 2-0 away at Stoke City.

The 2-0 loss sent Boro into the relegation zone for the first this season and it has left manager Aitor Karanka under pressure from the fans.

Karanka told the press this week that he still has the chairman’s full backing.

He said: “I am the first critic, so I don’t need to hear the criticism.”

“The most difficult moment for me was when I arrived here, but he was the first one who transmitted his confidence. I don’t need to feel that every day.

“You can feel the spirit of the team and it is just trying to recover their confidence and to show them that they are able to do a lot of good things.

“When we beat Manchester City in the FA Cup two years ago and everybody told me I was the best.

“I have said always that the day I think I am the best, I will go home because that day, I will die.”

Man City go into this game hoping to get back to winning ways after they drew 0-0 midweek at home to Stoke.

After the game Pep Guardiola told BBC Sport: “They defended deep and it was complicated to find the players between the lines.”

“We were there in the last minutes. I don’t have regrets about how they ran, how they fought.

“We created a lot of situations for the last pass and sometimes we missed it.

“When you analyse the chances we had, I don’t really remember more than one Stoke chance.”

Boro will be hoping for a win against Manchester City this weekend.

 

Team News: Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have a fresh set of injury problems and will be without three defenders.

Calum Chambers is missing yet again with the foot problem which has kept in out for the last two games last featuring in Boro’s 3-2 win over Oxford United.

Boro will also be without Daniel Ayala who is also out after suffering a hamstring injury in the opening 10 minutes against Stoke City.

George Friend is also a big doubt and is expected to be out after suffering a calf problem which has side-lined him earlier this year.

The defensive injury crisis could see left-back James Husband get a call-up to the squad for the first time this season, the full-back has been left in cold all season after the impressive form of

George Friend when he’s played and Fabio in recent months.

Other than the three missing defenders Boro have no other injury problems.

Team News: Manchester City

City have no fresh injury concerns from their last game vs Stoke.

19 year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus is side-lined out till the rest of the season.

Jesus has vowed to be back before the end of April however after having surgery on his fifth metatarsal earlier this week.

Other than the absences of Gabriel Jesus City have no other injury concerns and will be expected to play a strong team after resting David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Pablo Zabaleta for this game and all three are expected to start.

Predicted Line-Ups
Middlesbrough:
Valdes, Fabio, Gibson, Bernardo, Barragan, Leadbitter, Clayton, Downing, Traore, Stuani, Gestede

Manchester City:
Bravo, Clichy, Stones, Kompany, Stones, Zabaleta, Garcia, Fernandinho, Sterling, Silva, Navas, Aguero

Prediction:

Middlesbrough 1-2 Man City.

I think City will just about edge this game and beat Boro 2-1.

City go into this game unbeaten in the last 10 games whereas Boro’s only win’s in the last 10 games have been against lower league opposition in the cup. I think Boro will be up for the game and grab a goal but I think City will have the game wrapped up by half time leaving there not enough time for a Boro team lacking goals to get back into the game.

Middlesbrough Last Six Games:

Stoke 2-0 Middlesbrough (L)
Crystal Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough (L)
Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United (W)
Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton (D)
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Middlesbrough (L)
Middlesbrough 1-1 West Bromwich Albion (D)

Manchester City Last Six Games:

Manchester City 0-0 Stoke City (D)
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester City (W)
Manchester City 5-1 Huddersfield Town (W)
Manchester City 5-3 Monaco (W)
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City (D)
Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City (W)

You can watch the game live on BT Sport at the SU – Kick-off 12.15pm.

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