Middlesbrough take a surprise lead into the return game at Stamford Bridge. Can Mauricio Pochettino’s men turn it around? We look ahead to this EFL Cup semi-final second leg with our Chelsea vs Middlesbrough prediction and preview.

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Chelsea big favourites to win the second leg, predicting they do so 71.3% of the time.
  • Chelsea have progressed to the final on two of the last three occasions they’ve lost the first leg of a EFL Cup semi-final tie, with the second leg coming at Stamford Bridge both times (against Arsenal in 1997-98 and Tottenham in 2018-19).
  • Middlesbrough are looking to become the first side from a lower division to eliminate Premier League opposition at the EFL Cup semi-final stage since Bradford City in 2012-13 (against Aston Villa).

Match Preview

Few people will have expected Middlesbrough to beat Chelsea in the first leg at the Riverside Stadium two weeks ago. Our supercomputer gave them just a 19.5% chance prevailing, but they did just that thanks to Hayden Hackney’s first-half goal.

The Premier League side weren’t without their chances though, attempting three times as many shots as their hosts yet failing to score despite an expected goals total (xG) of 2.6.

Middlesbrough v Chelsea stats

Hackney’s winner sent the home crowd into jubilation in the first leg. Find the net again at Stamford Bridge and the England U21 international will become only the second player to score in both legs of a League Cup semi-final tie for Middlesbrough after Paul Merson in 1997-98 against Liverpool.

Chelsea still have the second leg to turn things around, and will fancy their chances of doing so. The Blues have made it to the final on two of the last three occasions they’ve lost the first leg of an EFL Cup semi-final tie, and on both occasions the second leg was at Stamford Bridge.

But Middlesbrough are no strangers to success at this stage. They’ve progressed from their last three EFL Cup semi-final ties, most recently against Arsenal in 2003-04 en route to winning the trophy. They have, however, been eliminated from the competition both times their semi-final second leg was away from home, despite avoiding defeat in the first leg each time (against Manchester City in 1975-76 and Manchester United in 1991-92).

Michael Carrick’s men are looking to become the first side from a lower division to eliminate Premier League opposition at the EFL Cup semi-final stage since Bradford City in 2012-13 (against Aston Villa). Meanwhile, the last top-flight side to lose both legs of a semi-final tie against a lower-tiered side were Chelsea (against Sheffield Wednesday in 1990-91).

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea generally do well at home to lower-league opposition in this competition. They have won 15 of their last 16 League Cup home games against sides from a lower division (D1), with their last such defeat coming in October 1999 against Huddersfield Town (1-0). The Blues have scored 53 goals across these 16 games at an average of 3.3 per game.

Middlesbrough have had a great run to this point, winning all six of their EFL Cup games this season. Only two teams have won more in a row while consistently outside the top-flight – Bristol City’s eight between 1987 and 1989, and QPR’s nine between 1966 and 1967.

It’s anyone’s guess as to who the hero could be for the home side. All six of Chelsea’s EFL Cup goals this season have been scored by different players. They last had more different goalscorers in a single campaign (excluding own goals) in 2017-18 (7).

It won’t be Christopher Nkunku, though, who was ruled out by Pochettino on Monday. Chelsea also continue to be without Reece James, Malo Gusto, Robert Sánchez, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Lesley Ugochukwu and Roméo Lavia.

Middlesbrough will also be missing some key players, including Emmanuel Latte Lath after he was taken off injured early in the first leg. Isaiah Jones also went off injured at the weekend but hasn’t yet been ruled out of Tuesday’s clash, while Luke Ayling, Sam Greenwood and Finn Azaz are all cup-tied.

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Head-to-Head

Middlesbrough may have won their most recent meeting at the Riverside Stadium, but Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 21 home games against them in all competitions (W15 D6), dating back to a 2-1 loss in the top flight in March 1975.

Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in their last nine against Middlesbrough at home, with Alen Boksic the last Boro player to score at Stamford Bridge in September 2001.

Recent Form

Middlesbrough followed up their 1-0 win in the first leg against Chelsea with a 3-1 victory at Millwall in the Championship, thanks to goals from Lukas Engel, Jones and Marcus Forss. They only drew 1-1 at home to bottom-placed Rotherham United on Saturday, though, with a late equaliser from Forss sparing their blushes.

Chelsea have played just one game since the first leg, beating Fulham 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League thanks to a penalty from Cole Palmer before their winter break.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off in this match, here are the Opta Power Rankings for both sides.

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Prediction

Chelsea v Middlesbrough Opta predictor

Chelsea will need to win to give themselves any chance of advancing to the EFL Cup final, and the Opta supercomputer believes they will, giving Pochettino’s side a 71.3% chance of victory in 90 minutes.

Any other result after 90 minutes would be enough for Middlesbrough to dump their illustrious opponents out, and they achieve a draw or a win in 28.7% of pre-match simulations.

Enjoy this? Subscribe to our football newsletter to receive exclusive weekly content. You should also follow our social accounts over on XInstagramTikTok and Facebook.