Search

Preview: Arsenal v Middlesbrough (Sunday, 4pm)

17:12 12 February 2015

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford

EMPICS Sport

Lowdown

Relegated from the Premier League in 2009, Middlesbrough have rarely threatened to return – but there is a growing feeling on Teesside that this could be their year.

Boro have flourished since Spanish coach Aitor Karanka arrived to replace Tony Mowbray in the Riverside dugout at the end of 2013 and they moved to the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win at Blackpool on Tuesday.

Karanka’s team put together an eight-match unbeaten run in the autumn –including their drawn Capital One Cup tie at Liverpool, eventually settled after a record-breaking penalty shoot-out that finished 14-13 in the hosts’ favour.

However, Boro’s current sequence puts that in the shade – they have won their last six games in all competitions and have not been beaten since a 2-0 loss to promotion rivals Ipswich just before Christmas.

Their defensive record is far and away the best in the Championship, with 20 goals conceded in 30 games, and they also claimed the FA Cup scalp of Manchester City, triumphing 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Key players

Karanka has made good use of his past association with Jose Mourinho by borrowing several Chelsea players, including defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Tamas Kalas and forward Patrick Bamford.

Bamford has made a significant impact, netting 11 goals to date – although he is one behind former Ipswich man Grant Leadbitter, who forms part of a solid midfield partnership with Adam Clayton.

Lee Tomlin is also in double figures, while Boro’s other attacking options include Ghana international winger Albert Adomah, Spanish forward Kike and on-loan Belgian frontman Jelle Vossen.

Last time

Cesc Fabregas registered a goal in each half at the Emirates in April 2009 as the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners against a Middlesbrough side sliding towards the drop.

Boro, who have drawn on their other two previous visits to the Emirates, last tasted victory against Arsenal seven years ago, with Tomas Rosicky scoring a late consolation as the visitors went down 2-1 at the Riverside.

The two sides last met in the FA Cup during the 2003-04 season, with Middlesbrough’s Joseph Desire-Job cancelling out Dennis Bergkamp’s opener at Highbury before Freddie Ljungberg’s double and a David Bentley strike secured Arsenal’s 4-1 fourth round victory.

Prediction

Brighton were no pushovers in the last round – and the in-form Championship leaders should be even less so. This looks like a 1-1 draw and a Riverside replay.

Latest Islington Sports News

20:11
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

07:15
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits out against England in 2015

James Franklin has warned that Middlesex cannot expect his former New Zealand team-mate Brendon McCullum to single-handedly transform their fortunes in one-day cricket.

Yesterday, 12:00
Rugby league player Aston Stephenson

There aren’t too many boys who grow up in north London and go to university in rugby union’s heartland – and then become rugby league internationals.

Yesterday, 10:00
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

While it may be a cliché, to get a first-class hundred for the first time at Lord’s – the home of cricket – was an absolute dream come true.

Wed, 17:14
St Aloysius' RC College U14s won the ESFA PlayStation Cup at the Madejski Stadium, Reading

Left-back Prosper Keto headed in the only goal at Reading’s Madejski Stadium as St Aloysius’ Under-14s collected their first national 11-a-side trophy for 16 years.

Wed, 16:52
Summer Eytle-Rock (left) of Activities4U U12s

Summer Eytle-Rock produced another big game for Activities 4U Under-12s as the Islington side defeated Hackney Jedis 26-14 to book their place in the Community Basketball League play-off semi-finals.

Wed, 16:52
Beth Potter (right) is pursued by her British rivals Kate Avery and Jessica Andrews (second from left), who eventually won the race on the Parliament Hill athletics track. Pic: Mark Shearman

Former world record-holder Dave Bedford says Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs is a “fascinating event” which is “of great value” to the world of athletics.

Wed, 13:27
Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett (left) exchanges high fives with Sam Solia

Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett blew away the Indian Gymkhana batting with the division’s first six-wicket haul of the season to put his side top of the Division Two table.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe