HomeChelsea v Middlesbrough: preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Chelsea v Middlesbrough: preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

-

The State of Play

It’s a crunch week for Mauricio Pochettino as he fights to show the Chelsea project is on track. The west London club have yet to see much on-field improvement despite huge investment in the playing squad from American owner Todd Boehly.

A trip to Wembley would at least display a modicum of progress, not only to Boehly but also a Chelsea fanbase that has yet to be won over by former Tottenham boss Pochettino.

Read our other football news stories here:
Arteta plays down Rice and Gabriel injury fears after Palace rout
Hodgson sympathises with fan protests after crushing loss
Poch ready for crunch clash

To progress, Chelsea must overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit, handed to Middlesbrough by Hayden Hackney’s first-half goal at the Riverside. Chelsea squandered a host of opportunities on the night and will expect to be more ruthless on home turf.

Middlesbrough’s recent form has been patchy. An excellent 3-1 win at Millwall followed the first game against Chelsea but Saturday’s 1-1 draw against rock-bottom Rotherham means Michael Carrick’s men have won two of their last five league games.

Team News

Chelsea continue to be without a host of first-team regulars. Trevoh Chalobah, Malo Gusto, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia, Christopher Nkunku, Robert Sanchez and Lesley Ugochukwu are all sidelined.

Chelsea have recalled Cesare Casadei and Diego Moreira from loans at Leicester and Lyon respectively but the former cannot play tomorrow after appearing for the Foxes in an earlier round of the EFL Cup.

Middlesbrough are hoping captain Jonny Howson and winger Isaiah Jones will be passed fit. Howson missed the Rotherham game while Jones limped off with a hamstring injury.

Striker Emmanuel Latte Lath is definitely out after sustaining an injury in the first leg against Chelsea but Morgan Rogers, the subject of two failed bids by Aston Villa, is fit and will start.

Sam Greenwood, Finn Azaz and Luke Ayling are cup-tied while Riley McGree and Sam Silvera are away on international duty.

Expected line-ups

Chelsea: Petrovic; Gilchrist, Silva, Colwill, Chilwell; Fernandez, Caicedo; Palmer, Gallagher, Sterling, Broja

Middlesbrough: Glover; Van den Berg, Fry, Engel; Forss, Barlaser, Howson, Bangura, Crooks, Hackney; Rogers

What they said

Chelsea boss Pochettino on the second leg

“It is a passport to the final, to visit Wembley. It’s really important for us, the club, for everyone. We want to be in the final but first of all, we need to beat a very good team in Middlesbrough. We could not beat them in the first leg, but we are very confident that we can have a very good game in front of our fans and the energy from the fans.”

Boro boss Michael Carrick on the trip to Stamford Bridge

“The squad is feeling good, preparation has been short. We’re in the rhythm of training and playing games. It’s business as usual in terms of rest and recovering and preparing and getting the balance right. As a group, the boys are hugely looking forward to the game. It’s a great challenge for us to embrace and take on.”

When and how to watch

The game takes pace at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night with an 8pm kick off. It can be watched on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 7pm.

Prediction

Chelsea’s greater depth could prove crucial. Although the home side have a long list of absentees they are still able to field a strong side. Middlesbrough will likely be without six first-teamers and I think that might just tip the game Chelsea’s way.

It may go beyond 90 minutes on the night but I think Chelsea will secure a place at Wembley against either Liverpool or Fulham.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

LATEST POSTS

Chelsea v Everton: Result is biggest embarrassment of career, says Tarkowski after Premier League defeat

Everton defender James Tarkowski has apologised to Toffees fans and said their 6-0 hammering at Chelsea in the Premier League is the greatest embarrassment of...

Chelsea v Everton: Pochettino gives players final warning over ‘really sad’ Palmer penalty row

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino says he has told his squad that he is "not going to accept" any more arguments about which players take penalties,...

Chelsea v Everton: Palmer pushes Jackson as Madueke rows over penalty in Premier League spat

Chelsea players Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke were involved in an extraordinary confrontation after the hosts were awarded a penalty during the second...

Barcelona vs PSG: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play In January, Barcelona were enduring a really difficult run of form and in the aftermath of losing 5-3 at home to a...

Most Popular