Boro vs Everton – League Cup Preview

Middlesbrough vs Everton
The Riverside Stadium
Tuesday 1st December 7:45pm KO

(It’s Wednesday for me 6:45am)

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 Team news

  • Middlesbrough come in to this game with a near full strength squad. All key players will be available to play.
  • Cristhian Stuani could return to the starting line up for Boro after recovering from his recent injury.
  • Everton may potentially be without centre midfield duo Gareth Barry and James McCarthy (huge loss) after they picked up knocks vs Bournemouth over the weekend.
  • Leighton Baines could return to the bench tonight, but it’s unlikely he will feature against Boro’s pit bulls.
  • Both teams are likely to continue using their reserve goalkeepers for the tie. Tomas Meijas has been excellent in every cup game over the last two seasons, in particular last seasons 2-0 victory over Man City. Not forgetting his heroics in the previous round vs Man United.

Form

  • Boro’s home form in the Championship this season has been really good, as they’re currently sitting in second place on the home table.

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  • Karanka’s home stats are P49 W31 D10 L8 / 30 Clean Sheets. This isn’t including cup games.
  • They are currently on an impressive run of  SIX clean sheets in all competitions.
  • Only conceding in two games at home with one in each.
  • Everton away games this season have featured plenty of goals for either side. Obviously apart from the two 0-0 before somebody points this out.

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  • Everton are likely to start their main man in form, Romelu Lukaku. He has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season (17 apps).
  • Everton don’t have the best record away record in the cup, but that counts for nothing. Here is their form over the past seasons.

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Predicted starting 11

Middlesbrough –
………………………….. Meijas ……………………………..
Nsue ………… Gibson …….. Ayala ………. Friend
………….. Leadbitter ………… Clayton …………………..
Stuani ……………… Downing …………….. Adomah
………………………….. Nugent ………………………………

Everton –
……………………………. Robles ……………………………..
Coleman ……. Stones …….. Funes Mori …… Galloway
………………. Gibson ………… Besic …………………..
Deulofeu ……………… Barkley ………………… Mirallas
………………………….. Lukaku ………………………………

My opinion

  • The form of Boro at home and the amount of clean sheets we rack up, the biased Middlesbrough fan in me, I will be happy with a 1-0 win.
  • With Friend, Nsue, Coleman in the sides, It’s likely the game will feature heavily down both wings. 
  • My key battles:
    1) Friend vs Deulofue – I think Deulofue will cause Friend a few problems and that could lead to him picking up a booking. Friend is up and down the wing, like a yo yo in nearly every Boro game, so hopefully he doesn’t get caught out of position.
    2) Ayala vs Lukaku – Nobody can handle Lukaku in their recent games, which the forward bagging 5 goals in as many games. His power and ability to bully defenders looks like a daunting task for the former Liverpool youth player. But as we know, Ayala on his day is as absolute animal! He’s proved he can compete on many occasions against great sides and although he has the odd hand ball/penalty in him, he’s one of the first on my team sheet. I honestly think this will be a great battle and hopefully Ayala comes out on top.
  • Aitor takes every game as it is and never looks beyond his next fixture, so I’m not sure if he will field a weakened team vs Everton. We have a tough away game on Friday night vs Ipswich, so hopefully we don’t see extra time.
  • Everton fans/players thought they had the 3 points in the bag on Saturday vs Bournemouth, after Ross Barkley fired them in to a 3-2 lead in the 95th minute. With the Everton fans rushing on to the pitch in celebrations adding more injury time to the game, Bournemouth then went on to equalise in the 98th minute giving us a great clip from Kammy and spoilers for the Toffee’s.

My Prediction
Heart 1-0 Boro
Head 1-1/1-2 Everton.
A huge game for Dani Ayala.

 

The blogocks is back from semi retirement! Why? Because I haven’t found a decent preview on the web for the game between my boys Boro and Everton. I’m not saying that this preview is decent by the way. This won’t be a regular occurrence as well.

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