Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough – FA Cup Fifth Round
Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, February 15th – 4:00PM
Match Odds: Arsenal 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Middlesbrough 11/2
Arsenal take on Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend and the Championship side will travel to the Emirates with confidence despite this looking like a one-sided tie on the surface.
Middlesbrough currently sit at the top of the Championship and are well on track to gaining promotion back to the Premier League after a six-year absence.
Boro manager Aitor Karanka has seen his side win their last six games in all competitions, including that incredible 2-0 win at Manchester City in the fourth round of the competition, and the Championship leaders are now unbeaten in ten and boast the best defensive record in the Championship.
They have lost just one of their last 19 in all competitions and travel to Arsenal in fine spirits, knowing another upset is a real possibility.
Arsenal will be aware of how good Middlesbrough have been this season and Arsene Wenger will have to make sure his side don’t take their foot off the pedal to ensure they reach the quarter-finals.
The Gunners are the favourites to win the competition and retain their trophy after Manchester City and Chelsea crashed out in the last round and Arsenal have a very strong home record in the FA Cup, having lost just one of their last 40 in the competition (W30 D9 L1)
Arsenal’s home record in all competitions: Played 18 – Won 12 – Drawn 4 – Lost 2
Arsenal beat Hull City 2-0 at home in the third round and then sealed a 3-2 victory at Brighton in the last round. Middlesbrough have yet to play at home in the FA Cup this season before the win at City they beat Barnsley 2-0 in the third round.
Middlesbrough’s away record in all competitions: Played 19 – Won 11 – Drawn 5 – Lost 3
The visitors will be without defenders Daniel Ayala, Damia (injuries) and Tomas Kalas (loan conditions) as well as midfielder Adam Forshaw (cup tied).
Aaron Ramsey picked up an injury in Arsenal’s win against Leicester on Tuesday and joins Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby and Mathieu Debuchy in the treatment room. Alexis Sanchez picked up a knock against Leicester and might not be risked while Jack Wilshere is back in training but this game could come too soon for the English midfielder.
This will be the eighth FA Cup tie between the two sides. Arsenal have won five of the previous seven and Middlesbrough two.
Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/L/W
Middlesbrough’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W
Key Stat: Middlesbrough have only conceded one goal in their last six away games in all competitions.
Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The French forward has scored five goals with four assists in his 10 FA Cup appearances, including an assist in the last round at Brighton.
Score Prediction: Arsenal 1–1 Middlesbrough – Boro to remain solid and take this to a replay.