Chelsea to squeeze past well-drilled hosts

Chelsea travel the slow way up to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday to face a Middlesbrough side that has already dispatched both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in successive rounds of the FA Cup. Read our preview here:

Balogun's locked and loaded

Chris Wilder's side lie outside of the Championship play-offs by the thinnest of margins and will be hoping to make these high-profile matches against vaunted opposition a more frequent feature in 2022/2023. The hosts only have joint-top scorer Andraž Šporar listed as a doubt ahead of the weekend, which should mean that fellow loanee Folarin Balogun continues up top. The Arsenal striker has had a slow start to life on Teesside, but it is important to remember that this spell represents the bulk of his senior level experience to date. Both he and partner Aaron Connolly will be hoping to make the headlines.

Hakim the dream

At the time of writing, a bid for the club has not yet been accepted and the whole off-field situation continues to put many dark clouds over the futures of players and staff alike. This has not yet affected results however, with Hakim Ziyech proving to be an important cog in Thomas Tuchel's tactical machine. Some changes are expected after their aggregate win over Lille in the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek. Trevoh Chalobah could well line up as the right-sided centre back, given Andreas Christensen was forced off last time out because of injury.

Betting tip

Can Boro do it a third time? It's a tall order, especially even getting into the final third of the pitch with any regularity. betway have odds of 2.50 for a Chelsea win with only the visitors finding the net.

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