High-flying Middlesbrough will be out to claim another Premier league scalp when they travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal later today, with the Gunners part of Paddy Power’s 10/1 treble.
Aitor Karanka’s side caused one of the shocks of the last round when they travelled to the Etihad and beat Manchester City 2-0 with the trip to the second favourites for the cup their reward.
Get 10/1 on Arsenal, Sunderland and Villa to win today:
‘Boro will at least head to London full of confidence after moving top of the Championship table midweek with a 2-1 win away to Blackpool. The Teesiders have lost just four times on the road in all competitions this season although their Carling Cup defeat to Liverpool was on penalties.
The midweek win over Blackpool came at a price however with former Reds’ defender Dani Ayala picking up a knock that rules him out of Sunday’s clash. The centre-back is set for 3-4 weeks on the side-lines with the injury and his absence causes Karanka a bit of a headache with on loan defender Tomas Kalas also out.
Adam Forshaw is also cup tied however the trio of George Friend, Ryan Fredericks and Emilio Nsue, back from his Africa Cup of Nations exploits with Equatorial Guinea, are all expected to be in the squad.
Arsenal meanwhile could have a debut to winter signing Gabriel. The Villarreal man has been forced to wait with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny showing good form at the back, however he is set to get his chance on Sunday.
Alexis Sanchez could be rested after taking a blow to the knee in the midweek defeat of Leicester while Aaron Ramsey (hamstring, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) Mikel Arterta (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) are all still out.
Jack Wilshere could return following a lengthy absence after ankle surgery but he is likely to be on the bench if he does.