FA Cup Preview: Middlesbrough vs Sunderland

This will be the 148th competitive fixture between Middlesbrough and Sunderland

Middlesbrough Wins: 49 / Draws: 37 / Sunderland: 61 

Did you know? This will be the 9th time Boro have faced Sunderland in the FA Cup. The first FA Cup tie between Boro and Sunderland was in 1877.

Stats

  • In the league, the two clubs met as recently as November, with Middlesbrough winning 1-0 at home thanks to a 6th minute strike from Marcus Tavernier.
  • Boro will be playing an FA Cup game at the Riverside for the sixth consecutive fixture, winning three of the previous five (L2).
  • Sunderland are looking to win their first FA Cup game since February 2015, losing three of the last four (D1), scoring just once.

Thoughts Before the Preview

The appointment of Tony Pulis is a strong appointment by the Boro board, the Welshman is exactly what the team needs at the moment and I believe he is the right man to take the club forward.

There is a number of reasons why Garry Monk didn’t succeed at the club, it could be the number of players, style changes, disgruntlement with players, speaking with another club, who knows but it never seemed to click.

We’re still in a great position in the league, we have the ability to make changes and we have time to still make this a successful season. It will be difficult to get things right, but I’m sure we will be in the right direction come May. 

Boro Predictions

Tony Pulis is set to make more changes to the Boro team following the victory against Preston. Boro were excellent second half after Pulis made changes to the team, in the first half Boro could have been 3 / 4 – 1 down at the break and the team deserves credit for coming back and winning the game.

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With Pulis making changes to the side, he explained in the press conference Boro will be without Martin Braithwaite due to a thigh strain, Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw who are dealing with injuries.

Fabio is expected to miss the remaining games following his transfer request to Botafogo and Striker Ashley Fletcher has been linked with Barnsley in a loan deal and could miss the game too.

Sunderland Predictions

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman is facing an injury crisis ahead of tomorrow’s cup tie. The Welshman has 10 first team players out injured and will be looking to a number of their u23 squad to help fill some gaps.

Darron Gibson is the latest first-team player to join the Black Cats Treatment room after sustaining a groin injury in the previous defeat to Barnsley.

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He is joined by Full-back Adam Matthews (Calf), Lynden Gooch (Hamstring), Lee Cattermole (thigh), Didier Ndong (ankle), Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Jonny Williams (shoulder), Lamine Kone and Duncan Watmore (both knee) and Marc Wilson (Calf) in the treatment room.

However, midfielders Paddy McNair and Aiden McGeady will be assessed, but are doubtful.

Lewis Grabban has returned to Bournemouth following his successful loan spell, Grabban scored 12 goals for Sunderland during his loan spell and is set to join league leaders Wolves in the coming days. 

Tactics

Chris Coleman likes to set Sunderland up in the 4-2-3-1 formation with Calum McManaman and Aiden McGeady providing width.

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Although Pulis is expected to name a strong side, he will be looking at different players in to find his best team. Furthermore, I expect Pulis to pick up on Sunderland’s tendency to concede against set pieces and try to play the short corner or the quicker throw in.

Predicted XI

Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend. Leadbitter, Baker, Tavernier, Downing, Gestede, Bamford (4-4-2)

 Tony Pulis will look to tinker with his squad for the forthcoming weeks and I would not be surprised to see Guedioura in the fold again. Furthermore, Pulis wants to look at Boro’s academy players such as Marcus Tavernier who was excellent during his small stint in the first team and he may be recalled after his goal in the previous derby.

Also, Patrick Bamford may be preferred to Britt Assombalonga up front, with Britt dropping to the bench and recovering after playing every league game this season.

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Score Prediction

Cup games tend to have everything and you never know which way they are going to go. In previous years, the cup games between Boro and Sunderland have been highly entertaining and I expect this to be the same.

Middlesbrough 3-0 Sunderland

 

 

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