Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea: FA Cup Odds, Preview and Prediction
Who: Middlesbrough FC vs. Chelsea FC
What: FA Cup, Round 5
Where: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England
When: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 19:45 GMT/2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes (USA)
Worldwide Streams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Referee: FA Cup Website Link
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -225, Middlesbrough +700, Draw +350
Total: Over 3 -115, Under 3 -115
2-Way Odds: Chelsea -1½ -140, Middlesbrough +1½ +110
Alternate Odds: Chelsea -1 -175, Middlesbrough +1 +135
Alternate Total: Over 2½ -185, Under 2½ +145
Source: Bovada (Kahnawake, Canada)
Odds FA Cup: Chelsea 6/1, Middlesbrough 350/1
Source: Sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Chelsea heads to Middlesbrough in search of its 52nd win against lower-ranked sides in 53 games in FA Cup play in fifth round action on Wednesday.
The Blues (14-7-6) fell to fourth place in the English Premier League after Tottenham Hotspur rallied to beat West Ham United, 3-2 at the Boleyn Ground on Monday on a late Gareth Bale goal and are now just two points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal in the league table.
Middlesbrough (17-3-16) currently sits in seventh place in the npower Football League Championship and is scoreless in its last five matches against Chelsea which has shut out the Teesiders an unbelievable nine of the last 11 times the two sides have met.
Although Boro have lost just three of its last 22 FA Cup matches at The Riverside Stadium, upsetting the European champions in this one will be quite the undertaking, especially with the club's second-leading scorer Lukas Jutkiewicz (7 goals) listed as doubtful heading in.
With Jutkiewicz absent, expect Boro manager Tony Mowbray to look to go to Curtis Main to team up with top scorer Scott McDonald (10 goals) up top while defenders Stuart Parnaby and Justin Hoyte will also be out putting extra pressure on Teesiders goalkeeper Jason Steele.
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Boro's Jonathan Woodgate and Julio Arca will also be unavailable while Kieron Dyer is cup-tied and will also miss the game.
Middlesbrough has been pretty effective on its own home soil in league play (11-1-5, 33 goals for, 21 goals against) but has just one win in its last nine league matches (1-1-7) in the Championship and has been outscored 19-7 in the process.
The Teesiders made it to this point in the world's oldest football competition by defeating Hastings United in the third round (4-1) and Aldershot Town in the fourth round (2-1).
Chelsea advanced to the fifth round by hammering Southampton in the third round (5-1) and then blanking Brentford (4-0) in the fourth round in a replay at Stamford Bridge on Feb. 17 after the two deadlocked 2-2 at Brentford on Jan. 27.
The Blues are 8-0-2 in their last 10 matches against Middlesbrough, shutting out the Teesiders in all eight wins and outscoring them 18-5 along the way and are currently in the midst of a mind-boggling 26-game unbeaten run in the FA Cup.
Interim manager Rafael Benítez has used Blues backup goalkeeper Ross Turnbull intermittently in the tournament but expect Petr Čech to get the start here with so much at stake in the department for the top flight team.
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Playmaker Juan Mata, defenders Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole and striker Demba Ba may also get some rest in this match so captain John Terry and Ryan Bertrand could be in the back four with Oscar, Victor Moses and possibly Marko Marin all starting in the advanced midfield.
Fernando Torres—now scoreless in his his last 14 games—should start at striker and really needs to be more productive these last three months if Chelsea is to even consider keeping the 28-year-old Spaniard around next season.
Who will be the first goal-scorer in Wednesday's match?
Look for Middlesbrough to expend a lot of energy and push the pace early in front of the raucous home crowd but with the Blues undoubtedly still in a foul mood after Sunday's 2-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City and as healthy as they have been in months, Chelsea should find a way to win this one.
The bad news for the winner here is that waiting for them in the quarterfinals (March 10) is league-leader Manchester United who is eyeing a treble with the EPL crown, an FA Cup trophy and a UEFA Champions League title all now in its sights.
Chelsea's next league game is against West Bromwich Albion at home in West London on Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel, 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT).
PREDICTION: Chelsea 3, Middlesbrough 0
BETS: Chelsea -225, Chelsea -1½ -140
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