José Mourinho's Tottenham travel north to Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup looking to avoid any sort of shock.
The hosts sit 16th in the Championship and have experienced a huge upturn in form having won four games on the bounce to ease any sort of relegation fear. They are managed by former Tottenham centre-back Jonathan Woodgate.
Meanwhile, Mourinho will want a response from his side that lost away at Southampton. Spurs sit sixth in the league but are now six points off fourth place in their search for Champions League football.
A shock here isn't off the cards. Middlesbrough are in their best form of the season so far while Spurs are certainly not firing on all cylinders.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick-Off?||Sunday 5th January|
|What Time Is Kick-Off?||14:01|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Riverside Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1|
Jonathan Woodgate has a few injuries to contend with especially across the backline. Ryan Shotton and George Friend are definitely sidelined while Daniel Ayala was subbed off in their win against Preston due to injury.
Striker Britt Assombalonga will also miss out through injury while goalkeeper Darren Randolph is still recovering from a thigh problem.
There's big injury news for the visitors as Harry Kane limped off with a hamstring injury during the 1-0 loss to Southampton. Record signing Tanguy Ndombélé is injured once again while Huge Lloris remains a long term injury.
Eric Dier may also miss out through illness as well as Danny Rose and Ben Davies. There should be a return for Son Heung-Min after his suspension.
|Middlesbrough||Pears; Howson, McNair, Fry; Spence, Wing, Saville, Coulson; Tavernier; Gestede, Fletcher|
|Tottenham||Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Sessegnon; Winks, Sissoko; Son, Lo Celso, Lamela; Lucas|
The record between these two is absolutely perfectly symmetrical. They have been 93 clashes with both claiming 35 wins each with a further 23 draws.
Recently, though, there has been a period of dominance for Spurs as Middlesbrough have only won once in the last 11 meetings, which came in August 2008 in a 2-1 win thanks to goals from David Wheater and Mido.
Tottenham won both games during the 2016/17 Premier League season - both by a solitary goal. The last meeting ended 1-0 at White Hart Line with Harry Kane scoring a penalty.
Spurs have been very up and down of late, and to be honest that has been the story of their season so far. They've won and lost two of their last five while drawing the other away at bottom side Norwich.
Mourinho hasn't quite yet been able to work his magic as his Spurs side are yet to keep a clean sheet under his management. They have also lost to both of his old clubs, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford and losing 2-0 at home to Chelsea.
Middlesbrough, however, have been on a great run of form as of late winning all of their last four to climb away from the bottom three.
Prior to this run, they'd won just four of their opening 22 league games and Woodgate was under increasing pressure to turn them around. They are now just seven points off the playoffs and have created separation between themselves and the teams below.
Here are both side's last five results...
|Preston 0-2 Middlesbrough (1/1)||Southampton 1-0 Tottenham (1/1)|
|West Brom 0-2 Middlesbrough (29/12)||Norwich 2-2 Tottenham (28/12)|
|Middlesbrough 1-0 Huddersfield (26/12)||Tottenham 2-1 Brighton (26/12)|
|Middlesbrough 2-1 Stoke (20/12)||Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea (22/12)|
|Swansea 3-1 Middlesbrough (14/12)||Wolves 1-2 Tottenham (15/12)|
This is a harder game to predict now than it would've been about two weeks ago. Middlesbrough are in great form while Spurs have no Kane and are coming off two disappointing results.
It's a long journey for José's side who would have had to travel from the south coast back to London and then up to Middlesbrough in the span of three days.
With all things considered, this looks like a very tough draw for Spurs and Middlesbrough will push them all the way and force a replay.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Tottenham