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Chelsea vs Middlesbrough – LIVE Reddit Soccer 19/03/2022

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough – LIVE Reddit Soccer 19/03/2022

Chelsea have been handed a fresh concern with Andreas Christensen ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. The Danish centre-back was taken off injured after 33 minutes against Lille in the Champions League due to a suspected muscular problem and has joined long-term absentee Ben Chilwell on the sidelines. Thomas Tuchel will have to assess Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s issues ahead of the quarter-final, while Saul Niguez and Ross Barkley were left at home in midweek – the latter of which was presumably a tactical decision, while Saul has confirmed that he has contracted COVID-19.

A raft of changes from the Blues should start with Kepa Arrizabalaga replacing Edouard Mendy in goal, while Christensen and Thiago Silva could make way for Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr at the back. Marcos Alonso’s spot on the left could be safe despite the option of Kenedy, but Cesar Azpilicueta may be handed a rest as Hakim Ziyech takes on a wing-back role at the Riverside. N’Golo Kante could be sacrificed from the midfield here, with Mateo Kovacic only playing 45 minutes of the second-leg win over Lille and Jorginho ready to go once more if Saul’s absence in midweek proves to be injury or illness-related.

Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku are all ready to freshen up the attack, with the latter two on target in the fifth-round win over Luton Town earlier this month. Seeking yet another memorable scalp in the FA Cup, Middlesbrough welcome Chelsea to the Riverside Stadium for Saturday’s quarter-final battle. The Championship side made it this far by overcoming Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the fifth round, while the Blues had to do it the hard way to beat Luton Town 3-2.

As if victory at Old Trafford over Manchester United was not remarkable enough for them, Middlesbrough were paired with another Premier League Big Six side in Tottenham for a place in the last eight, and the Riverside giant killers ensured that Spurs’ barren run without a trophy would be extended to 14 years. After a goalless 90 minutes on March 1, 19-year-old forward Josh Coburn came off the bench to score the winner after just 11 minutes of action in extra time, and Antonio Conte’s side could not find a way through in the time that remained as scenes of delirium erupted in Middlesbrough.

The dreaded international break is nearly upon us. But clubs across Europe are yet to conduct plenty of important business before now and then. In England, the FA Cup and league football will simultaneously be played. And the action on the day will end at the Riverside Stadium, where Middlesbrough will play hosts to Chelsea, with a place in the cup semi-finals on the line.

Middlesbrough reached the FA Cup quarter-finals by embarking on a giant-killing mission that has seen them get past Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the last two rounds. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign has featured wins over lower-league opposition, with the Blues beating Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle and Luton Town to progress to the latest stage.

As for results of late, Boro’s recent form has been hit and miss, with Chris Wilder’s men winning only five of their last ten games across all competitions. The run of results has also left them looking over their shoulders in the race for a promotion playoffs spot in the EFL Championship.

On the other hand, grafting has been the name of the game for Chelsea, with the Blues putting the off-field distractions surrounding Roman Abramovich to one side. As a result, the Blues are currently on a five-game unbeaten run, with their last defeat in regulation time coming over two months ago.

Chris Wilder has been handed a major boost on the team news front ahead of the visit of Chelsea for the FA Cup quarter-final. On Saturday, the Middlesbrough manager will be bereft of the services of only two first-team players, with Riley McGree and Martin Payero still on the sidelines.

The good news is that Andraz Sporar and James Lea Silki should be at Wilder’s disposal following their recoveries from their respective illnesses. But with most of his resources at his disposal, the Middlesbrough boss will be able to name his strongest starting eleven.

Chris Wilder’s side also got their playoff bid back on track at the weekend thanks to a 2-0 win over Birmingham City, with Premier League loanees Folarin Balogun and Aaron Connolly on target, and a first semi-final FA Cup appearance since 2005-06 is firmly in their sights. Not since the 2016-17 season have Middlesbrough taken to the pitch for an FA Cup quarter-final – bowing out to Manchester City 2-0 that year – while their semi-final venture in the 2005-06 campaign under Steve McClaren ended in heartbreak to West Ham United.

Attempting to get one over the European champions is a slightly different kettle of fish to an inconsistent Man United or Spurs side, but Boro are on an incredible nine-game winning run at the Riverside Stadium in all competitions and have only let in four goals in that stretch. While off-the-pitch issues continue to bedevil Chelsea – whose inexplicable request to have the quarter-final played behind closed doors led to an amusing response from Middlesbrough – Thomas Tuchel’s side are continuing to do their talking on the turf.

There were fears that the Blues would not be able to fulfil their Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Lille under the rules of their special operating licence, but the European champions made it to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy and progressed to the last eight as Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta cancelled out Burak Yilmaz’s penalty. Victory over the French champions marked a fifth win in a row for Chelsea – who had to come from behind twice to beat Luton Town 3-2 in the fifth round of the FA Cup – while Chesterfield and Plymouth Argyle have also fallen victim to Tuchel’s side in this year’s competition.

Tuchel will inevitably be forced to bat away questions regarding the club’s ownership, but his side head into the quarter-final on a five-game winning streak away from home and will endeavour to make the final four for the third season running this weekend. Chelsea and Middlesbrough have not locked horns since the Blues eased to a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the 2016-17 Premier League season – their eighth win and eighth clean sheet on the bounce versus the Championship side, whose most recent win in this fixture came all the way back in 2006 under Gareth Southgate.

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