FA Cup | Middlesbrough-Oxford United
Kick Off: 15:00 Hrs
Venue: Riverside Stadium
Sat 18th Feb 2017
Middlesbrough vs Oxford United Match Prediction
Middlesbrough welcome Oxford United to the Riverside Stadium on 18/02/17 as the Premier League outfit look to avoid being on the end of an FA Cup shock. Boro’s lack of firepower came back to bite them once again at the weekend, drawing 0-0 at home to Everton. Read on for a full match preview complete with betting tips and predictions.
Middlesbrough are now eight games without a win in the Premier League after their 0-0 draw with Everton last time out. Once again, Aitor Karanka’s men struggled in front of goal once again, although overall they probably won’t be too disappointed with having come away from this tie with a point. Currently two points out of the relegation zone, Middlesbrough are on an alternative run of form to the likes of Swansea and Hull, both of whom have had a real boost from new managerial appointments. With just one win in their last eleven Premier League outings, Boro’s struggles in front of goal are now threatening their chances of retaining their top-flight status next term. From those eleven games, they have failed to found the back of the net on seven occasions, scoring just six times in total during that period. In the FA Cup, they have enjoyed a relatively comfortable route to this stage of the competition, beating Sheffield Wednesday and Accrington Stanley in home ties without conceding. Given the fact they have had no trouble against lower league opposition thus far, Boro will feel they should have more than enough in their tank to come through this one.
The distraction of this FA Cup tie appeared to weigh heavy on the minds of Oxford United’s players last time out, as their winning run came to an end at the hands of Southend United at home on Tuesday night. Coming into the game, Michael Appleton’s men had won five in a row, suffering just one defeat in ten in all competitions, but that run was swiftly put to an end by the Essex outfit. Veteran striker Marc-Antoine Fortune opened the scoring for the away side just past the hour mark, as Southend themselves attempted to close the gap on those in the relegation zone. Substitute Theo Robinson then made the game safe in the closing minutes, finding the net after a swift counter-attack which the forward finished convincingly. Oxford have already beaten opposition from the north-east in this competition, eliminating Championship leaders Newcastle United 3-0 in the fourth round. Away from home, Oxford have suffered just one defeat from their last nine travels, winning six of their last seven during that time; a statistic which will give them real confidence when they travel to the Riverside Stadium this time around.
Middlesbrough Team News
Antonio Barragan (hamstring) and George Friend (calf) are both doubtful for this one after missing recent outings. Patrick Bamford will hope to have his first Boro start since rejoining the club in January.
Oxford Team News
Defenders Christian Ribeiro and Sam Long are both ruled out for the away side in this one. Other than the injured pair, boss Michael Appleton has no fresh injury concerns coming into this one.
Betting Tips and Predictions
Middlesbrough have been extremely professional in the FA Cup this season and will be fully expecting to seal their place in the quarter-finals here. Despite Oxford’s recent history of cup upsets, I’m expecting Boro to be the side to progress here.