Reigning English champions Manchester City play host to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round with a tough clash very much on the cards for the Premier League side.
Middlesbrough are flying high in this season’s Championship and they will be confident of causing an upset against a Manchester City side which will be in low spirits following their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal last weekend.
The hosts will be fresh from their break in Dubai where they played Hamburger SV in a friendly yesterday. They will likely field a very strong side in this clash and as such, we don’t really see much chance of any upset at the Etihad.
That’s not to say that it will be a walkover for the home side however. Middlesbrough are sitting second in the Championship following an excellent first half of the season and boast the division’s best defensive record with a mere 18 goals conceded in all 27 league matches so far this term and five successive clean sheets before their 2-1 victory against Cardiff.
The Teessiders forced Liverpool to a penalty shoot out at Anfield in the League Cup earlier in the season and the north-east side will have no fear as they look forward to their trip to the Etihad, cheered on by over 5,000 travelling fans.
Patrick Bamford will be up front for ‘Boro and will be hopeful of adding to his nine-goal tally for the season so far and we certainly believe that the visitors can get their names onto the scoresheet in this fixture.
Indeed, City needed a late goal to squeeze past Sheffield Wednesday in the last round of this competition and Pellegrini will be hopeful of a more comprehensive display from his charges on Saturday. He will be fielding his strongest possible team for this clash, Frank Lampard likely to be included alongside Jesus Navas, Eliaquim Mangala and Stevan Jovetic.
Middlesbrough will hold fond memories of beating City 8-1 in the Premier League some seven years ago, however much has changed since then and City are now a huge global football superpower with Middlesbrough languishing in the second tier of English football for the sixth successive season.
‘Boro will certainly be giving priority to a promotion to the top flight, however that’s not to say that we won’t be seeing a spirited display form the visiting side. Nevertheless we will be backing City to win, although it won’t be as comprehensive as many believe and we’ll go for a City win by a single goal margin.
City will have the bigger share of possession and the gulf in class between the sides will become more obvious as the match progresses. Boro will be a tough nut to crack, however City will likely take the lead after some early pressure. As such we’ll be backing a half-time draw and a City win at the final whistle.
Our betting tips
Manchester City win with both teams scoring – Coral 21/10
Manchester City win by a single goal – Ladbrokes 3/1
HT Draw, FT City win – BetVictor 18/5
For our full FA fourth round reviews and accumulator tips click HERE