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Defeat in the League Cup semi-finals put Brentford’s 16-game unbeaten run to an end, but Jose Mourinho fielded his star players with silverware a must on his agenda, and his team put in a controlled performance to shut down any chance of an upset.
The Bees had won four on the trot prior to the trip across London, including victories over current top-five Championship outfits Reading and Bournemouth, as well as Premier League side Newcastle.
In fact, other top-flight teams Southampton, West Brom and Fulham were all knocked out in Brentford’s run.
Thomas Frank is in his third season at the helm and he’s won both of his third-round FA Cup games at home to Barnet and Stoke, as last term it took Leicester City to edge them out in the next round.
By contrast, Middlesbrough limped out of the League Cup at home to Barnsley back in September, and their recent run isn’t enough to convince us they’ll progress further in this tournament.
Both Teams To Score
Middlesbrough come into this fixture having won four of five matches, though the fixture list has been kind to them of late as each opponent currently resides in the bottom half of the Championship.
Worryingly, they’ve managed just two clean sheets in nine appearances, and that will be music to the ears of a high-scoring Brentford side.
VAR denied the Bees a goal against Tottenham by a tight margin, but Mourinho’s men are a cut above the visitors here and Brentford should get back to scoring ways.
They had scored twice at a minimum in seven of their previous 10 games, failing to score in just one of these, as they’ve bagged 12 goals in their past five against Championship opposition.
One goal is unlikely to do for Neil Warnock’s side, as Brentford had suffered defeat in just two of 25 matches before facing Spurs, but still scored twice on both occasions as Stoke and Preston were made to work hard.
Brentford To Beat Middlesbrough
Brentford have been giving up goals themselves however, as both teams have found the net in each of their past five encounters with Championship sides, as well as four of five on home turf alone.
Despite some easier assignments of late, Middlesbrough have still managed 12 goals of their own over their past five games, with both teams scoring in each of the past three as they beat Birmingham (4-1) and Wycombe (3-1), while losing out to Sheffield Wednesday (2-1).
The visitors are good enough are good enough to claim a goal, but Brentford’s firepower should steer them through.