Chelsea had 18 shots in the first leg at the Riverside Stadium, with Cole Palmer having enough chances to score a hat-trick, but the Blues were made to pay for poor finishing, so they have work to do in order to advance to the final of this season’s EFL Cup.
There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing season for Chelsea, but they managed to record a 1-0 win over Fulham in their last match, with Palmer’s first-half penalty securing the points to move the capital outfit into ninth position in the Premier League table.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are only actually one point behind seventh-placed Manchester United in the top flight, while they have won four of their last five games in all competitions, including a 4-0 success over Preston North End in the third round of the FA Cup.
Chelsea will meet Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday, with their next Premier League match not coming until January 31 at home to Liverpool.
The Blues, who have won the League Cup on five occasions, have overcome AFC Wimbledon, Brighton & Hove Albion, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United to advance to the semi-finals of this competition.
Middlesbrough know that they will be up against it on Tuesday night, but Hackney’s cool finish from an Isaiah Jones cross in the first leg has given the Championship outfit something to hold onto heading into this match.
Boro have also enjoyed previous success in the League Cup, winning the competition in 2004, beating Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively before overcoming Bolton Wanderers in the final, so they have previous at this stage of the tournament.
Carrick’s side, who have beaten Huddersfield Town, Bolton, Bradford City, Exeter City and Port Vale in this season’s EFL Cup, will enter this match off the back of a 1-1 draw with Rotherham United in the Championship on Saturday, with the result leaving them 11th in the table.
Middlesbrough finished fourth in the Championship last season, but they were beaten by Coventry City in the semi-finals of the playoffs to keep them in the second tier for at least another campaign.
Boro are only three points off the playoffs at this stage, and a top-six finish will be their aim once again, but their full focus is currently on Tuesday’s game at Stamford Bridge, which is shaping up to be a fascinating affair.