Middlesbrough v Man City Betting Predictions | Back Away 16/5 with Paddy Power

Back Man City 13/8 @Betfair
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Betting Tip: Backing Man City win with exactly 2 goals 16/5 with Paddy Power

An FA Cup tie is always tougher to call than a Premier League game because there is more immediately at stake. It promises to be a more attacking game with a better tempo, and judging by Boro’s issues throughout this season that will not suit them at all. They have only scored 19 goals, the fewest in the league, and as a result they are edging ever closer to a tough end to the season, and possibly even a quick return to the Championship.

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Their FA Cup form has, admittedly, been slightly better in front of goal. They scored three goals against Oxford in the last round, but they are coming up against one of the best teams in England, so it is unlikely they will get as many opportunities in this game. Aitor Karanka sets his team up with very few creative and attack minded players. The midfield two, usually Marten de Roon and Adam Clayton, are shackled and sit deep to protect the back four, allowing the wingers and attacking midfielder to support Alvaro Negredo, the former City striker, up front.

Theoretically, that philosophy should lead to success, but the issue is players in key areas lack attributes to make it work properly. Gaston Ramirez is the main man behind Negredo, but he lacks pace to help link the midfield and attack consistently. Christian Stuani and Stewart Downing often play on the left hand side, and they have similar issues, but right-winger Adama Traore, explosive in his ability to up the tempo, struggles to provide a regular end product when it comes to goals and assists.

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Other options to Negredo include Rudy Gestede, another striker known for his physique and aerial prowess, does not offer many differences, but utilising Patrick Bamford to give more support in attack could be an option. Bamford is not particularly quick, but his movement can get him in behind a high City line, but there is little doubt Traore is the key man for Boro.

City boss Pep Guardiola will likely name a strong side and will be looking for an immediate response to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Stoke on Wednesday. City also drew 0-0 at Huddersfield in the last roun, but flexed their muscles with a 5-1 win in the replay. Neither Boro fullback is particularly pacey, but rarely pushes up the pitch, so unlocking the door will have to come from players with the ball at their feet, rather than the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane who predominantly rely on pace.

The keys to victory will be playing the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, who impact games in tight, compact spaces. An early goal, given Boro’s stagnant approach, will go along way to reaching the semi finals, but don’t expect City to run riot.


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Man City 16/5 @Paddy