Things haven’t been going too well for Middlesbrough of late, the Teessiders having fallen into the bottom three in the Premier League thanks to some thoroughly disappointing performances. Aitor Karanka’s men sit three points adrift of safety following back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Stoke City, however they can put their league woes to one side this weekend when they welcome Manchester City to the Riverside Stadium for an FA Cup quarter-final clash.
Middlesbrough’s home form over recent months doesn’t make bad reading at first glance with just a single defeat in eight games, however when one looks a little more closely it becomes immediately apparent that their three wins during that time were against lower-league opponents in this very cup competition and Karanka’s men struggled to secure single points against the likes of Leicester City, Watford and West Bromwich Albion. How does this bode ahead of the visit of high-flying Manchester City? Not too well.
Indeed Middlesbrough have enjoyed a relatively comfortable ride into the FA Cup quarter-finals with Sheffield Wednesday put to the sword relatively easily to the tune of 3-0 in the third round, followed by a narrow 1-0 win over League Two outfit Accrington Stanley and a 3-2 victory over League One outfit Oxford United with Cristhian Stuani saving the Teessiders’ blushes by scoring the winning goal just five minutes from the final whistle after Oxford had drawn level.
Manchester City will be their first real test in the tournament and we firmly believe that it is one which Boro will ultimately fail. Karanka’s side have been struggling badly on the goal-scoring front and this is reflected in their lowly Premier League position. Manchester City should win this tie handsomely and a clean sheet will be the icing on the cake as Middlesbrough’s FA Cup dream comes to an end.