It's FA Cup quarter-final weekend and Paul Robinson is predicting a smooth passage into the semis for Manchester City...
"Aitor Karanka will surely have to adopt a bit more of an attacking approach as they need a confidence booster ahead of their continuing battle to survive in the top flight."
Middlesbrough v Man City
Saturday March 11, 12:15 GMT
Live on BT Sport 2
The Boro have made it this far thanks to three wins, all of which were at home. They have beaten Sheffield Wednesday, Accrington and Oxford, so the argument can certainly be made that they have had a kind draw.
It's not so easy this Saturday however as they are against one of the best teams in the country and their record in the Premier League this year has been poor.
Aitor Karanka's men haven't won a league game since a 3-0 victory over a then out of sorts, Swansea, back in December. Since then it's played 10, draw four and lost six - with two of those losses coming from their two most recent outings.
There is no disguising where the issue lies for the Teesiders, as with just 19 goals scored, they are by far and away the lowest scorers in the division. Even at home their supporters haven't had much to cheer about as they've only netted more than once on two occasions this term.
The visitors required a replay to beat Championship outfit, Huddersfield but they got the job done emphatically enough at the Etihad and their aggregate score over their four FA Cup games this season is 13-1.
Pep Guardiola's side have been drawn away from home in each of the three rounds to date but that hasn't been a problem and they beat Premier League clubs, West Ham and Crystal Palace, 5-0 and 3-0 respectively.
A frustrating 0-0 draw against Stoke in the league on Wednesday will no doubt inspire them to give somebody a good hiding and the likes of David Silva and Raheem Sterling should return to the starting XI after missing out against the Potters. However it remains to be seen if Sergio Aguero will get the nod after he played the full 90 minutes.
Middlesbrough [8.6] Man City [1.47] The Draw [4.8]
The hosts are in such a bad run of form that it's difficult to see past a Man City win. They have scored plenty of goals on the road this year and it's very hard to imagine Middlesbrough being able to live with them.
Admittedly, when they met in the league at the Etihad in November, the final score was 1-1, but that's when City were really struggling and back when Boro had recently beaten Bournemouth and drew at Arsenal and West Ham.
Their respective results since have gone in the opposite direction and this is Guardiola's best chance of picking up some silverware in his first year in charge of an English club.
I'm not one to tip a [1.47] shot as a single, so I won't include an away win as one of my recommended bets, but I certainly wouldn't put you off backing them as a single or as part of a multiple.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Over 2.5 Goals [1.83] Under 2.5 Goals [2.16]
The over is slightly favoured in this market and I tend to agree. It's highly likely that Man City will score all three of the goals themselves anyway, but there's more of a chance of Middlesbrough grabbing a goal in a cup tie than in the league as the pressure is off.
Aitor Karanka will surely have to adopt a bit more of an attacking approach as they need a confidence booster ahead of their continuing battle to survive in the top flight.
Of course he will still be defensively minded, but he has to throw a few more players forward than usual and that will in turn open up their defensive unit a bit more.
I'm quite keen on a 0-3 scoreline in this one. I don't rule the hosts out from scoring, but it's slightly more likely that they won't for my money, and City are more than capable of grabbing three. At around the [11.0] mark, it's a decent price.
Manchester City are the top scoring team left in the FA Cup this season (13), with eight different scorers finding the net. David Silva is one of those and he can backed at 9/1 on the Sportsbook to open the scoring.