The quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup sees Premier League side Everton travel to Middlesbrough as Aitor Karanka’s side hope to cause another cup shock.
Boro knocked out Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United on penalties in the last round and were rewarded with a home tie against the Toffees and they go into the tie knowing that they can beat top flight teams.
Roberto Martinez’s side have knocked out two Football League opponents in the Capital One Cup this season after defeating Barnsley and Reading in the second and third rounds respectively.
Here are THREE things to look for in the match……..
1. Changes for both sides
Everton face a tough Crystal Palace side at the weekend and Roberto Martinez may use the game as a way of resting of his key players, in order to keep them fit for a busy Christmas schedule.
Aitor Karanka tends to make changes for every game and this will be no different. Captain Grant Leadbitter is back from suspension after sitting out his side’s victory over Huddersfield and he could start the game.
Both sides are expected to make some changes and it wouldn’t be a shock if both sides looked significantly different from the team that played last weekend.
2. An end-to-end game
Middlesbrough have knocked Manchester City and neighbours United out of cup competitions in this calendar year, and they go into the game knowing that they are to book their place in the semi-final.
Everton, on the other hand, will be looking to get back to winning ways after a late Junior Stanislas goal meant they left Bournemouth with just a point at the weekend, and Martinez will be hoping to end the Toffees’ 20 year run without a trophy.
Both sides will certainly be going for this game and they will both be desperate to win and generate some momentum.
3. A test of Boro’s Premier League class
Pundits and fans alike often claim that Boro’s squad is Premier League quality, and the Capital One Cup tie with Everton is a good opportunity to prove that.
Players like David Nugent and Stewart Downing will be hoping to show that their decisions to drop down to the Championship was justified with a victory over a side that is just six points outside of the Champions League spots.
The tie will be a true test of whether Boro’s players are ready to make the step up to the Premier League and some of their players will be determined to show that they can.
Middlesbrough and Everton fans…what are your predictions for the match? Can Boro cause another cup upset? Will Everton’s Premier League class be too much for the Teessiders? Let us know what you think in the comments below!