WE’RE down to the Quarter-Finals of the Capital One Cup. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the live Sky match between Middlesbrough and Everton.
Middlesbrough v Everton | Tuesday 19:45 | Sky Sports 1
Ah, the Capital One Cup, how I’ve missed your ugly little face. How does it feel to be so unloved by everyone? I suppose you’ll be able to compare notes with your more pompous brother, FA Cup.
Actually I’m being a little unfair. Arsenal fans certainly cared in the last round when they were pumped 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday. But then I suppose Arsenal fans do love a moan eh? They’d greet about pre-season defeats Gunners fans! Anyway, long day, must stop bitching like the mid-30’s queen I undoubtedly am.
Once again I’m being unfair to this competition as from what I understand both these sides are going to actually try in this match and play strong teams. A strong indicator of that was hearing Ross Barkley tweet about this being a “big game” after what must have been a gut-wrenching draw against Bournemouth on Saturday.
For a club like Everton it must have been a tantalising prospect being this close to a domestic Cup Final. The Toffees are the kind of club that need to make Wembley at least every decade. Proper English club.
For Middlesbrough, their rise continues under the tutelage of Aitor Karanka. Play-off final losers last season they look to be right in the mix this season with 11 wins from their 18 Championship matches and sitting pretty in second place.
Karanka’s men have scant regard for reputation as the domestic cup competitions have shown in the last couple of seasons. Both Manchester clubs have been knocked out in the last two seasons with United coming a cropper in the last round here.
The key strength for the Championship club is their defence. Incredibly they kept clean sheets in five of their last six matches and before that it’s eight in their last 12. Solid.
If you ever needed evidence of why won’t Everton bother the big boys this season is was that 3-3 draw on Saturday. 2-0 up and then 3-2 ahead with less than half a minute left they still managed to leak another goal. Heartbreaking!
Unlike Middlesbrough they’re less solid at the back with just one clean sheet since late-September. Roberto Martinez’s side are banging in the goals though with an incredible 14 notched in their last four matches.
The stakes feel high for both sides here. We’re now at the stage of the competition where clubs care and the rewards are certainly attractive with a two leg semi-final in the New Year.
I like the draw here at 12/5 with Bet365. Boro are unbeaten at home since mid-August and they could be rubbing shoulders with Everton next season in the top-flight.
Instead of a bet on the plain old draw I’ll chuck some quids in the direction of the Correct Score and back 1-1 and 2-2 draws at 13/2 and 16/1 respectively. Will it be the conservatism of Middlesbrough or the enthusiasm of Everton that shines through? Hopefully these selections support both causes.
Middlesbrough v Everton – 1-1 Draw (13/2 888 Sport)
Middlesbrough v Everton – 2-2 Draw (16/1 888 Sport)
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