Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Wednesday's FA Cup clash between Middlesbrough and Chelsea.

Hosts Middlesbrough go into tomorrow's FA Cup tie against Chelsea having not scored against their visitors in their last five attempts.

What's more, the Blues have also kept clean sheets in nine of their last 11 matches against Boro in all competitions.

Boro last beat Chelsea back in August 2006 when Mark Viduka scored a winner in stoppage time.

If the hosts are to reverse those fortunes at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night, they will have to do so without England youth international Josh McEachran. The midfielder is ineligible to play because he is on loan from Chelsea.

However, having come on at the weekend as a substitute following a spell on the sidelines, striker Scott McDonald should be included in the starting lineup.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez will be without the services of defensive duo Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta, who are ill and injured respectively.

Cahill's absence is likely to hand a starting opportunity to captain John Terry, who has found opportunities hard to come by ever since his recovery from a knee complaint.

The winners of this tie will take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-finals.

Recent form

Middlesbrough: LLWLDL

Chelsea: DWDLWL

Possible starting lineups

Middlesbrough: Steele; Bikey, Williams, McManus, Friend; Carayol, Leadbitter, Dyer, Hailliday; McDonald, Main

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires, Marin; Hazard, Torres, Mata

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Cesar Azpilicueta in action for Chelsea against Arsenal on January 20, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool23138254282647
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton24410102435-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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