Competition: FA Cup
Market: Aston Villa win
Odds: 4/7 @ Pribet
Looking to extend on their FA Cup adventure this weekend, Aston Villa will make the trip to Championship outfit Middlesbrough on Saturday evening.
Starting with the hosts, while Middlesbrough might have had their sights set on clinching another play-off ticket this season, Michael Carrick’s side have continued to struggle with their consistency. Now tipped as a real outside contender in the top-six chase, the ex-Manchester United coach will be bracing himself for another stern examination here. Opening 2024 with a nightmare performance at the Riverside as they slumped to a 3-1 drumming at the hands of Coventry, Boro have lost five of their previous eight Championship appearances and they are currently clinging onto their spot in the top-half of the table. Likewise, recording just a single second-tier clean sheet since the end of November, Carrick will also have a real headache over his side’s extended struggles on home soil. Including a 2-1 loss against Hull last month, Middlesbrough have lost three of their previous four contests at the Riverside. Almost sat in Championship limbo, Carrick’s men are rightfully tipped as an underdog contender here.
As for the visitors, managing to make a welcomed return to winning ways on New Year’s Eve, Aston Villa have continued to gain a string of plaudits this season. Breaking a string of records, it is no secret that Unai Emery’s men have their sights firmly set on securing a famous Champions League ticket in 2024. Opening the New Year with an action-packed 3-2 win at home against relegation scrappers Burnley, the one-time Arsenal boss has seen his high-flying squad lose just one of their previous 12 appearances across all competitions. With that extended purple patch stemming all the way back to November 5th, Saturday’s guests have also impressed with their clinical performances in the final third. Looking to extend on their FA Cup adventure here, Emery’s squad will also be excited by their most recent showdown against Middlesbrough. Cruising their way to a routine 3-0 romp when they welcomed Boro to Villa Park for a Championship battle back in March 2019, Emery’s side should be smelling the chance to extend on their remarkable purple patch this weekend.
Bet: Aston Villa 4/7 to beat Middlesbrough in Saturday’s FA Cup tie @ Pribet
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