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Middlesbrough vs Chelsea Odds, Prediction Carabao Cup Preview
Updated:2024-04-30 12:10    Views:199
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea OddsTuesday, Jan. 92 p.m. ETESPN+Middlesbrough Odds+500Chelsea Odds-180Draw+330Over / Under2.5 -170 / +130Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Middlesbrough and Chelsea meet for the first of two legs to decide who goes to the Carabao Cup final.

The Championship side played well in a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Saturday and really shouldn't be in the middle of the table in the Championship. They had a bad start to the season and sold away some of their high value assets, but still have been putting up great underlying numbers. They've had a pretty easy path to get to the semifinals by not having to face a single Premier League team, but given their performance against Aston Villa, there is hope they can overcome Chelsea to get to the League Cup final.

Chelsea have now won back to back matches surviving against Luton Town and beating Preston in the FA Cup this weekend. However, Chelsea are still struggling to make their way up the table in the Premier League and despite all the money they've spent, the Blues don't look anywhere near a top four team.

Here is how I'm betting Middlesbrough vs Chelsea.

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Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have had a very interesting season. They started out horribly, failing to win any of their first seven matches and then went on a run to get back into the playoff picture, but now they have gone through another bad run of form and find themselves in the middle of the table in the Championship.

The thing is, though, their underlying numbers have been really impressive. Middlesbrough are sitting with a +0.50 xGD per 90 minutes and is averaging 1.60 xG per 90 minutes, both of which are in the top five in the Championship.

Michael Carrick has been in charge of Middlesbrough for over a year now and what he done with them tactically has turned them into a force in the Championship that makes them a real threat here against Chelsea. They play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it’s incredibly fluid, especially on build up play. Middlesbrough will typically push a full back high when they start building out of the back, which creates a 3-2-5 build up shape. That allows them to create overloads against the last line of defense.

That is the same build up shape that you see from a lot of top tier sides in the Premier League and given Middlesbrough's underlying numbers, they've been able to utilize it to great success.

Middlesbrough did lose the xG battle 1.6 to 0.6 to Aston Villa on Saturday, but they were dangerous on the counterattack, getting two shots off of direct attacks, which is encouraging playing against a Chelsea side that is bad in transition defense.

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Chelsea may have created over four expected goals against Preston on Saturday, but there are still times where there are questions as to what the tactical plan is under Mauricio Pochettino. Chelsea have switched their build up from a 3-1-6 to a 3-2-5 because the 3-1-6 was getting too disjointed in the final third. However, the idea of the 3-2-5 build up is to not only to overload the last line of the defense, but also allow the freedom of the two attacking midfielders to help aid in build up. That is not happening currently at Chelsea. Just take a look how far apart the midfield is from the front line of five.

Look how far apart is our midfield is & then try to tell me the players are to blame, what’s the plan? pic.twitter.com/0Rr6j2BMSp

— Johyan (@JohyanCruyff) January 6, 2024

That has been the story with Chelsea all season. The Blues will put up countless expected goals to make everyone believe they are a top tier team, but the tactics and the personnel they have on the pitch is what is holding them back.

Chelsea's overall metrics defensively are good, but there is one key area where they are struggling: transition defense. Chelsea are 18th in final third to box entry conversion rate allowed and basically all of the chances they've allowed have been when teams play very direct against them. Even Luton Town destroyed them in transition, putting up 2.6 expected goals two weeks ago.

If we look at what Chelsea matches have been like since the start of November, chaotic would be the word that comes to mind. The Blues have created the most expected goals during that time frame, but they have also allowed the fifth-most at 1.81 per 90 minutes.

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough

Prediction

Even though the underlying numbers for Chelsea have been really good, there are too many things to question with them tactically, specifically with their build up and getting beat in transition despite having Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo in their midfield.

Middlesbrough are a really good Championship side with a great tactician in Michael Carrick at the helm. Their style of play has been very dominant in the Championship given the underlying numbers they've put up, but as they showed against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, they can be dangerous on the counter.

Given how good the underlying numbers have been for Middlesbrough in the Championship, I like the value on them +1 at -103.

Pick: Middlesbrough +1 (-103 via bet365)