Exeter City - Middlesbrough predictions and free betting tips [31/10/2023]
Today as part of the English League Cup's 1/8 finals, Exeter City will host Middlesbrough at their home ground. In the previous round, the hosts defeated Premier League newcomers, Luton Town, while Michael Carrick's squad easily overcame Bradford City with a 2:0 scoreline.
Exeter: Sinisalo; Fitzwater, Aimson, Hartridge; Mitchell, Carroll, Trevitt, Harper; Muskwe, Scott, Wildschut.
Middlesbrough: Glover; Dijksteel, Fry, Clark, Engel; Howson, Barlaser; Silvera, Rogers, Gilbert; Latte Lath.
The match will take place on Exeter's St. James' Park.
To reach this stage of the Cup, Exeter first defeated Crawley Town (2:1) and Stevenage (1:1, winning on penalties), before surprising everyone with a victory over the Premier League representative, Luton Town (1:0), thanks to a goal by Dimitri Mitchell in the 83rd minute. The team has only made it to the fourth round of the tournament twice in their history: in the 1989-90 season, they faced a two-legged encounter against Sunderland. Currently, Gary Caldwell's charges are struggling in League One (3rd Division): they hold 17th place out of 24 teams in the league standings and are just 3 points above the relegation zone. Over the past weekend, the hosts ended a streak of five straight losses with a 1:1 draw against Lincoln City at home.
What's concerning for the fans is that since August, Exeter has struggled to score more than one goal per game, having found the net only seven times in their last 14 encounters. Just five minutes after the decisive goal against Luton, Exeter's left-back, Mitchell, was sent off for a second yellow card, but he'll feature in this Cup game, having served his suspension in the League One match against Northampton Town. Pierce Sweeney, a defender, picked up his second caution of the competition in the third round and will miss the match due to suspension. Regarding the injuries, Jack Aitchison and Reece Kall had been sidelined even before the game against Lincoln, therefore, expect them to be replaced by Tom Carroll, Kyle Taylor, and Yanic Wildschut.
In previous rounds, Middlesbrough played each match on the road, but managed to defeat Huddersfield Town (2:3), Bolton (1:3), and Bradford City (0:2). In the Championship, Paddy McNair's squad is currently 10th in the overall rankings, just three points behind 6th place, the final slot that leads to the playoffs at the end of the regular season. Following six straight victories, the team suffered a setback over the past weekend. Despite having home advantage, Middlesbrough fell to Stoke City (0:2). The "Potters" not only ended the fabulous winning streak of the white and maroons, but also became the first team to stop their nine-match scoring run since Queens Park Rangers. Now, the visitors' thoughts of making the top six have taken a backseat, as the 2004 League Cup winners are looking to book a quarterfinal berth for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign.
The visitors' loss to Stoke City might be somewhat explained by an awful injury situation that intensified last week: defender Tommy Smith suffered an Achilles injury that, it is anticipated, will keep him off the pitch until at least the spring. Marcus Forss (thigh), Riley McGree (foot), Darragh Lenihan (Achilles), and Lewis O'Brien (ankle) are also under medical supervision. Still, there's some good news: Hayden Hackney is back from his suspension. Hackney and Lucas Engel have both recovered from injuries sustained during a recent victory over Norwich, while Emmanuel Latte Lath is likely to spearhead the attack on Tuesday.
These teams have never faced each other before in history.
Match Prediction for Exeter City - Middlesbrough
Exeter seems doomed to finish their League Cup journey, even if the opponents resort to rotating their injured players. The hosts have been in woeful form and have not tasted victory for over a month, while the white and maroons are striving to make amends for their disappointing defeat over the weekend. Michael Carrick's side outperforms the red and blacks not only in terms of player selection but also in experience. I don't expect any surprises here and am backing a comfortable victory for the Welsh side.
Total Goals Prediction
Middlesbrough has managed to score at least twice in six out of their previous eight matches. Considering that the current opposition is of significantly lower quality, I'm betting on an individual total of over 1.5 for the visitors.