Middlesbrough and Aston Villa go head-to-head in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday at 5:30pm (UK time).
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Having not won any major silverware since the 1995/96 campaign, Aston Villa fans will be hoping for a cup run to go alongside their incredible start in the Premier League. Sitting in second just three points behind leaders Liverpool, it’s difficult for the Villa faithful not to get carried away and dream of a first Premier League title, but it may just be the FA Cup that gives Unai Emery’s side the greatest chance of success this campaign. However, with a tough away fixture against Middlesbrough and their recent record of losing nine of their previous 10 FA Cup ties it won’t be straightforward. In fact, a win here would see Villa go past the third round for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign and see Unai Emery record his first victory in a cup competition for the club.
With Middlesbrough already in the EFL Cup semi-finals, they may choose to prioritise that cup competition rather than this one, but don’t bet against Michael Carrick’s side. Just two seasons ago they reached the quarter-final stages having knocked out Manchester United and Tottenham on the way and will be hoping for another repeat performance. They have won each of their five cup matches so far this campaign, with victories away from home over Huddersfield, Bolton, Bradford, Exeter and Port Vale, proving they are no pushovers.