Best Odds: 5/2
Midweek football is back in our lives as the Carabao Cup reaches the Round of 16 phase. With so many clubs being just a handful of games away from a spot at Wembley, things could certainly get interesting as they battle it out for the right to compete in the final. Two such teams who will be doing so are Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace, and while they may be separated by a division, they certainly aren’t all too far away from one another when it comes to their abilities.
Middlesbrough are considered to be a yo-yo team by many, and there’s good reason for that. They’ve never been able to solidify themselves as Premier League regulars for longer than a few seasons, and once again, they find themselves on the verge of a promotion push despite many fans knowing that their inconsistency could easily prove to be their downfall. They’ve got the squad necessary to gain promotion, but in terms of the Cup, we’re curious to see how much it actually means to them.
Assombalonga will be viewed as the main source for goals by the hosts, with Downing and Howson providing great attacking coverage.
Crystal Palace have been very hot and cold throughout the course of the season thus far, and that seems to be the way they like to operate. The Eagles are likely going to be involved in the relegation battle for most of the season before likely pushing on towards the top half, although under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, you really don’t know what could be around the next corner. Either way we’re fascinated to see what they can produce in a cup competition kind of environment, especially given that their unpredictability led them towards the FA Cup final just a few years ago.
Joel Ward could miss out on this one through a muscle injury, with Scott Dann not being set to return until at least November. Max Meyer, on the other hand, could be awarded a rare place in the starting line-up.
Factors to Consider
- The game will be played at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.
- Crystal Palace lead the head to head standings 21-17 with 11 draws.
- In their last meeting back in February 2017, Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough 1-0.
- Middlesbrough have two wins, three draws and one loss in their last six games.
- Crystal Palace have one win, two draws and three losses in their last six games.
Crystal Palace certainly have the quality necessary to overcome Middlesbrough, but the pressure of being the favourites could easily have an impact on them. We think they’ll start off quite nervously with Boro getting the best of them physically, mainly because we can’t see Palace putting out their strongest starting XI. We’re predicting goals and lots of them, though, because both teams play quite open football, and in terms of an official prediction we’re going with 2-2 before Boro win it on penalties.
Best Odds: 5/2
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!