There was an occasion several years ago where both of these sides were on a similar level – but suffice to say, those days are well and truly over. Now, Manchester City are regarded as one of the biggest clubs in the world, while Middlesbrough are still trying to return to the top flight following their relegation several years ago.
Judging by Manchester City’s recent results, don’t be surprised to see Manuel Pellegrini place a significant amount of importance on this competition. They are slowly seeing the title slip away and while there is still a long way to go, the evidence so far suggests that they just won’t be able to retain their crown for a second successive season. This has mainly occurred due to recent form and this could be the reason why Middlesbrough feel as though they have a small chance of netting something at the Etihad Stadium this weekend. City have now dropped points in three of their last four games, while it took a last minute goal to dump Sheffield Wednesday out of the competition in the last round.
Middlesbrough are also vying for a title of their own, even if it is for that of the Championship. Following several seasons of mid-table mediocrity, Boro now seem to be putting together a serious promotion package which sees them trail the leaders by just one point. Additionally, they are taking some superb form into this Saturday’s FA Cup clash. They’ve now not lost in their last six, whilst managing to record four victories out of that collection of games as well. Having also lost just one of their last seven on the road, there’s no doubt that this really could be the perfect opportunity for Aitor Karanka’s men to cause a scalp.
Manchester City have spent the last few days training in Abu Dhabi and it seems as though this approach has done their preparation for this clash no-end of favours. They just have one injury to report on, with Frank Lampard unlikely to be risked after picking up a knock in a practice match during their brief tour. Middlesbrough meanwhile will continue to be without Damia Abella and Ryan Fredericks, as knee and thigh problems hinder the duo respectively. The club have also been dealt a blow in relation to Tomas Kalas, with an ankle injury set to keep him out.
Even though Manchester City have struggled somewhat over recent weeks, and Middlesbrough have some good form to their name, we just don’t think the visitors have what it takes to dislodge their Premier League opponents. They will make it difficult but ultimately, our tip is going to be a 2-0 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s team.