Middlesbrough to Hold on for Dear Life
Most pundits and bettors expected Chelsea to have a walk in the park in their EFL Cup Semifinal fixture vs. EFL Championship side Middlesbrough. The Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Semifinal odds listed the Blues as -170 favorites for the first leg. However, Middlesbrough picked up an upset victory and Chelsea trail by one goal heading into the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Middlesbrough will do their best to hold onto their advantage, but the Blues have won their last three home matches. We’ll cover the soccer betting odds and the latest team news ahead of an important match.
⚽ Chelsea vs Middlesbrough ⚽
Location: Stamford Bridge, London, England
On the Carabao Cup schedule two weeks ago, Middlesbrough picked up a surprise 1-0 win over the Blues. Chelsea had many good chances, but Middlesbrough’s Hayden Hackney broke the deadlock in the 37th minute. The win was Middlesbrough’s first over Chelsea since 2006, and it broke a nine-game losing streak vs. Chelsea.
Chelsea and Middlesbrough have only met four times in the last ten years. In the 2022 FA Cup Quarter-finals, Chelsea took down Boro 2-0 at Riverside Stadium. In the 2016-17 Premier League season, Chelsea managed to pick up two shutout wins in this fixture.
Chelsea Rounding into Form
Chelsea last played on January 13th, when they took on fellow EFL Cup Semifinalists Fulham in a Premier League clash. Cole Palmer scored a penalty for Chelsea, which was the match’s only goal. The Blues have won four of their last five games in all competitions and are on a three-game winning streak in the EPL. Palmer has been a key player since joining from Manchester City and is Chelsea’s leading scorer this season, with nine goals in all competitions.
Palmer did miss some big chances in the reverse fixture vs. Middlesbrough, but he could certainly be a goalscoring threat here. Chelsea forward Nicolas Jackson, who has scored eight goals this season, is out at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal. Raheem Sterling has also added seven goals, provided four assists, and has played much better in his second season in London.
Mauricio Pochettino does have an injury crisis on his hands, with a bunch of players out. Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, Marc Cucurella, Robert Sanchez, Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah, and Wesley Fofana could all miss Tuesday’s match. Currently, the Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Semifinal odds price the Blues as -375 favorites, regardless.
Middlesbrough Close to First Final in Nearly 20 Years
Middlesbrough’s promotion hopes this season are still alive. The EFL Championship club is just three points outside of a promotion playoff spot at the moment. Over the weekend, though, they failed to defeat last-placed Rotherham. Middlesbrough needed a late goal from Marcus Forss to equalize and draw 1-1 at the Riverside Stadium.
They are on a three-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which started with the 1-0 win over Chelsea. The victory was unexpected, and Middlesbrough are just a draw away from their first major cup final since the 2005-06 UEFA Cup. Boro did win the EFL Cup final 20 years ago as well, but success has been few and far between since then.
Middlesbrough players do feature prominently in the EFL Cup stats, though. Morgan Rogers has scored four goals and is joint-leader. Meanwhile, Daniel Barlaser is joint-leader in assists, with three, and Tom Glover leads the competition, with three clean sheets. While all of these players are available on Tuesday, Thomas Smith, Darragh Lenihan, Sam Silvera, Riley McGree, and Alex Bangura are out.
Match Analysis & Odds
Chelsea slipped up in their last match vs. Middlesbrough, but they’ll be motivated for the second leg. This is their best chance to win silverware this season, and it would undoubtedly give Mauricio Pochettino some added job security if the Blues are able to go on and win the competition. Even with the first leg Semifinal loss, Chelsea shows +225 odds of winning the EFL Cup.
Plus, the Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Semifinal odds price the hosts as -375 favorites. If the Blues can win by more than a one-goal margin, they’ll advance directly to the final. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough will be going for a win or a draw here, which would be enough for them. Boro are +800 underdogs, while a draw comes in at +475 odds.
Chelsea have won five of their last six home games in all competitions, and Chelsea -1.5, -2 sits at -115 odds for this one. Meanwhile, bettors can take Boro +1.5, +2 at -115 odds. Should the match finish in a one-goal Chelsea win, the fixture will go into extra time. Overall, Chelsea to qualify is priced at -300 odds, despite their deficit. Middlesbrough, to qualify, sits at +220 and under 3, 3.5 goals at -115.