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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: MIDDLESBROUGH V CHELSEA

TACTICAL BRIEF
Chelsea travelling to Cleveland in the FA Cup provokes memories of Wembley 1997 and that record-breaking early goal. What are the potential game-changers this evening?

Key battles
It is difficult to assess how Boro boss Tony Mowbray will approach this game because, as terrace critics charge, he constantly changes things round. He has countered that claim by pointing out that the same approach was successful in the first half of the season.

He seems to prefer a 4-4-1-1 formation but has used 4-5-1, 4-1-4-1 and 3-4-3 set-ups in the last few months. Injuries and the lack of success over recent weeks have contributed to him continually experimenting with his personnel and formations.

This evening, again, he will pick a side he thinks is right for this match rather than stick with a trusted formula. It is in defence that he has the most concerns - Millwall were able easily to exploit misunderstandings at the back to win 2-1 last weekend.

The Boro manager will hope experienced players such as centre-half Jonathan Woodgate are fit and ready, although he has a problem at right-back as Justin Hoyte and Stuart Parnaby are both injured.

Whoever plays wide left for Chelsea may see an opportunity to go at the temporary solution there, Nick Bailey, who is generally a midfielder. On the other flank George Friend likes to join the attack and the Blues will hope to exploit gaps between him and whoever plays centre-back tonight.

Also in doubt is the participation of Lukas Jutkiewicz, second-top scorer with eight goals behind former Celt Scott McDonald (10), who damaged his ankle in the 1-4 defeat by Palace.

Boro's is a young squad but peppered with Premier League experience. Midfielder Grant Leadbitter, who usually handles corners, has played Chelsea four times previously (for Sunderland) and was on the losing side each time.

His former and present teammate Julio Arca has better memories from his six matches against the Blues. He was part of the Mackems side that beat the Blues twice in 2000/01: a 1-0 at the Stadium of Light and a surprise 4-2 win at the Bridge. However the 32-year-old has to watch from the sidelines as he is recovering from a toe operation.

In the 1-2 defeat by Millwall at the Riverside Mowbray implemented a 4-3-3 with Chelsea's highly-rated youngster Josh McEachran in an unfamiliar deep-lying midfield role. Josh, who generally plays further forward, is ineligible for this evening's meeting.

Kieron Dyer (pictured below), more better known as a winger, played up front in the centre, dropping deep to bring wide men into play. Marvin Emnes, the striker who has netted once since October, was on the left, with 20-year-old goal threat Curtis Main, signed from Darlington, on the right.

Dyer and Ferreira


Whichever personnel are upfront for Boro they will face a Chelsea defence missing injured right-back Cesar Azpilicueta and virus victim Gary Cahill. That almost certainly means a return at the heart of defence for John Terry, who scored in the previous round of this competition against Brentford.

Most teams devise special measures to restrict supply to the influential Juan Mata, who can be such a threat on the edge of the area and has a fine goalscoring record in this competition.

With West Brom in the league looming, though, the creative burden may land on the shoulders of others. Oscar, Fernando Torres and Victor Moses began the game at Eastlands on the bench and may start tonight.

Torres and fellow forward Demba Ba will both look to tonight to end their personal goalless spells.

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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: MIDDLESBROUGH V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
Chelsea in the FA Cup
Winners: 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012
Runners-up: 1915, 1967, 1994, 2002
Semi-finalists: 1911, 1920, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1965, 1966, 1996, 2006


Chelsea are unbeaten in 26 FA Cup matches in open play (excluding penalty shoot-outs). Our last defeat in the competition was at Barnsley five years ago in March 2008.

The Blues suffered our second away defeat at Manchester City in our last 12 away games in all competitions (seven wins, three draws, two defeats)

This is the 26th successive midweek that our players have either played for the club or been away on international duty. The last clear week all the players were at Cobham training was the last week of August, leading up to the Super Cup against Atlético Madrid.

Last 10 seasons in the FA Cup
2002/03 - Quarter-final
2003/04 - 5th round
2004/05 - 5th round
2005/06 - Semi-final
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Quarter-final
2008/09 - Winners
2009/10 - Winners
2010/11 - 4th round
2011/12 - Winners
 

Last six results
Feb 2 Newcastle (a) L 2-3
Feb 9 Wigan (h) W 4-1
Feb 14 Sparta Prague (Europa League a) W 1-0
Feb 17 Brentford (FA Cup h) W 4-0
Feb 21 Sparta Prague (Europa League h) D 1-1
Feb 24 Manchester City (a) L 0-2

 

2012/13 scorers
Mata 17, Torres 15 (1 pen), Lampard 13 (5 pens), E Hazard 10 (2 pens), Oscar 9 (1 pen), Cahill 6, Ivanovic 6, Ramires 6, Moses 5, D Luiz 4 (2 pens), Ba 3, Bertrand 2, Sturridge 2, Terry 2, Cole 1, Marin 1, Romeu 1 (pen), own goals 3. Total 106.


Chelsea's next three games
Sat 2 Mar West Brom home 3pm
Thu 7 Mar Steaua Bucharest (Europa Lge rd of 16) away 6pm UK time
Sun 10 Mar Fulham away or Manchester United (FA Cup QF a) away 1.30pm or 4.30pm


MILESTONES
Frank Lampard needs one goal to reach 200 goals for Chelsea and three to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling.

If selected Frank will make his 50th start for Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Juan Mata's next appearance will be his 100th for the Blues.


BORO STATS
Formed 1876

Middlesbrough in the FA Cup
Runners-up: 1996/97
Semi-finals: 2001/02, 2005/06
 

This season's FA Cup campaign
Jan 5 (3) Hastings United (h) W 4-1
Jan 26 (4) Aldershot Town (h) W 2-1

 
FA Cup scorers
Jutkiewicz 2, Zemmama 2, Halliday 1, Miller 1. Total 6.

Middlesbrough have won one of their last nine FA Cup games against top-flight opposition.


Boro's recent FA Cup matches against Premier League opposition
2011/12 R4 rep Sunderland (h) L 1-2 aet
R4 Sunderland (a) D 1-1
2009/10 R3 Manchester City (h) L 0-1
2008/09 QF Everton (a) L 1-2
R5 Rep West Ham (h) W 2-0
R5 West Ham (a) D 1-1
2006/07 QF Rep Manchester United (a) L 0-1
QF Manchester United (h) D 2-2
2005/06 SF West Ham (Villa Park) L 0-1
QF rep Charlton (h) W 4-2
QF Charlton (a) D 0-0



Boro dropped out of the Championship top six for the first time since October after losing at home to Millwall on Saturday.

The Riverside has a capacity of just under 35,000 with an average in the Championship this term of 17,500.

Boro have won 13 of their 19 home games this season in league and cup but have lost two of their last three.

On loan Josh McEachran has played in 30 of Boro's 41 league and cup games this season; 29 from the start. He cannot play tonight.


Last 10 seasons in the FA Cup
2002/03 - 3rd round
2003/04 - 4th round
2004/05 - 4th round
2005/06 - semi-final
2006/07 - quarter-final
2007/08 - quarter-final
2008/09 - quarter-final
2009/10 - 3rd round
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - 4th round


Manager Tony Mowbray
Days in charge: 855
Played 127
Won 57
Drawn 29
Lost 41

 

PMB



Last six results
Feb 2 Ipswich (a) L 0-4
Feb 9 Barnsley (h) L 2-3
Feb 12 Leeds (h) W 1-0
Feb 16 Crystal Palace (a) L 1-4
Feb 19 Burnley (a) D 0-0
Feb 23 Millwall (h) L 1-2


2012/13 scorers
McDonald 11, Jutkiewicz 10, Miller 6, Emnes 5 (2 pens), Haroun 4, Ledesma 4, Zemmama 4, Carayol 3, Main 3, Smallwood 3, Bailey 2, Reach 2, L Williams 2, Bikey 1, Halliday 1, Hines 1, Hoyte 1, Leadbitter 1, Park 1, Woodgate 1. Total 66

 

League One top six
Pld Gd Pts
1 Cardiff 33 +21 70
2 Watford 34 +25 62
3 Hull 34 +9 62
4 Crystal Palace 34 +18 58
5 Leicester 33 +28 57
6 Brighton 33 +12 52
7 Middlesbrough 34 0 51
8 Nottm Forest 34 +3 48

 

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The referee is Martin Atkinson. This will be his third Chelsea game this season and the first outside London; two of them were wins over Arsenal, the other the defeat at West Ham. His most recent Boro game was a 1-0 home win over Blackburn on Boxing Day.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.

Josh McEachran and Sammy Ameobi are ineligible due to the terms of their loan.

David Luiz and Ramires are two bookings away from a two-match domestic ban for reaching 10 yellow cards before the second Sunday of April.

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