It may have been a distinctly average season for Chelsea so far but they’re just 180 minutes away from Wembley. Standing in their way are Championship side Middlesbrough.
The first of their two-legged semi-finals kicks-off tonight at the Riverside in a match that’ll conjure memories of the 1997 FA Cup final, won by the Blues thanks to goals by Roberto Di Matteo (remember that one?) and Eddie Newton (doubt you’ll remember that one!).
Back then Boro boasted superstars Emerson, Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli but they don’t quite have the same quality these days as they battle to get back to the top table.
They kept Aston Villa at bay until the 87th minute on Saturday before exiting the FA Cup but they only managed one shot on target in the 90 minutes which doesn’t bode well against top flight opposition tonight again.
It’s not a fixture Boro have enjoyed. You have to go back to 2006 for their last win and they’ve failed to score in the last nine meetings between the sides, losing them all to nil.
Chelsea are in just about their best form of the season so far, the only blot on their copybook being a defeat at Wolves, their only loss in the last six.
They breezed past Preston, who sit just one point below Boro in the Championship, on Saturday thanks to four second half goals.
They’re 8/15 to win tonight which, given they’ve got another 90 minutes to get the job done, seems a bit skinny.
It’ll likely be a cagey affair in the opening stages and one bet that’s served us well is backing against an early goal. Once again no goal before 26:00 appeals at 5/6 as does no first half goal at 5/2.
We’re into the last 16 in the EFL Trophy and there’s four ties tonight.
Since Academy teams have been included in the competition in 2016-17 only five have made it to the quarter finals stage and only Chelsea U21s have gone as far as the semi-finals in 2018.
Tonight Brighton and West Ham’s kids are shooting for a place in the last 8.
The young Hammers have been really impressive in the tournament so far, winning all three group matches then following that up with a handsome 4-0 win at Colchester. They’re currently second in the Premier League 2 and are 16 unbeaten in all competitions including notable wins over Celtic (5-0) and Valencia (1-0) as well as a draw with Lyon (1-1).
They’re away to Wycombe Wanderers tonight and could be worth an interest at 3/1.
The Chairboys are 16th in League one but topped their four-team EFL Cup with three wins from three which included a 92nd minute winner against Crystal Palace’s U21s.
Upcoming Match Previews & Tips
For Tuesday's action Rizzel has picked out his three strongest fancies from Market Rasen and Southwell. Cairnzy also makes a welcome return with four selections raing from 9/4 to 16/1
- Racing tips: Venetia's Mare should have no worries serving it up to the lads at Market Rasen
- Cairnzy's Racing Tips: Lagonda can continue good form for Williams yard
As always, post your betting tips for today in the comments section below.