When Chelsea hosts Middlesbrough of the Championship to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, they will be looking to overcome a one-goal disadvantage.
Michael Carrick’s team has the edge going into this match since Hayden Hackney’s 37th-minute effort proved to be the difference between the two sides at Riverside Stadium in the first leg.
Chelsea had eighteen shots in the first leg of the competition at Riverside Stadium, and Cole Palmer had enough opportunities to score a hat-trick. However, the Blues were punished for their lackluster finishing, so they still have work to do to go to the EFL Cup final this season.
It is undeniable that Chelsea’s season has been dismal, but they prevailed 1-0 over Fulham in their most recent game. Palmer’s penalty in the first half gave Chelsea the advantage and moved them up to ninth place in the Premier League standings.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team has won four of their previous five games across all categories, including a 4-0 victory against Preston North End in the FA Cup third round. They are really just one point behind seventh-placed Manchester United in the top division.
Chelsea’s next Premier League game isn’t until January 31 at home against Liverpool; they play Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday.
The five-time League Cup winners, the Blues, have defeated AFC Wimbledon, Brighton & Hove Albion, Blackburn Rovers, and Newcastle United to get to this competition’s semi-finals.
Although Hackney’s brilliant strike from an Isaiah Jones cross in the first leg gave the Championship team something to cling to going into this encounter, Middlesbrough knows they will be up against it on Tuesday night.
Boro has also seen success at this level of the competition previously, having won the League Cup in 2004 after defeating Bolton Wanderers in the final and Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
This season’s EFL Cup winners, Carrick’s team, have defeated Huddersfield Town, Bolton, Bradford City, Exeter City, and Port Vale. They will come into this game fresh from a 1-1 draw in the Championship on Saturday against Rotherham United.
Middlesbrough placed fourth in the Championship the previous year, but they were eliminated from the second division for at least another year after losing to Coventry City in the playoff semi-finals.
Boro is presently just three points outside of the playoffs and will once again aspire for a top-six finish. However, their whole attention is focused on Tuesday’s match at Stamford Bridge, which is sure to be an exciting one.