The Blues demanded the game in the north east be played in front of no fans for “reasons of sporting integrity” because they can no longer sell match tickets, but made a U-turn after coming under attack from the Government, Middlesbrough and a section of their own fans.
There has been plenty of criticism for Chelsea this week but on the pitch under Thomas Tuchel they have not lost the art of grinding out results.
They beat Lille in the Champions League in midweek and have won five straight matches since sanctions were imposed on owner Roman Abramovich.
It is likely to be a tough test against a Middlesbrough side who have already knocked out Manchester United and Tottenham in the FA Cup this season.
The Riverside will be filled to near-35,000 capacity with about 700 seats occupied by those away fans who bought tickets before.
Chelsea have been cleared to fly to Middlesbrough after the Government waived restrictions preventing them doing so.
That should help their cause but Middlesbrough are challenging for promotion to the Premier League and have reasons for confidence.
Here’s everything you need to know…
Date, kick-off time and venue:
The FA Cup game is scheduled for a 5.15pm kick-off time today, Saturday March 19, 2022.
The Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough will host the match.
Where to watch Middlesbrough vs Chelsea
TV channel: The FA Cup game will be broadcast on BBC One.
Live stream: Both the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport Website will provide live streams.
LIVE coverage: Get minute-by-minute updates through Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog.
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea team news
Chelsea trio Reece James, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all doubts and face late fitness tests.
James was named in the England squad this week despite only playing 147 minutes of football this year and missed the midweek Champions League win against Lille due to injury.
Christensen limped off in the first half of the victory in France, while Hudson-Odoi has been struggling with an Achilles issue.
Middlesbrough welcome back striker Andraz Sporar and midfielder James Lea Siliki from illness but Riley McGree, Martin Payero, Darnell Fisher and Sammy Ameobi remain out injured.
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea prediction
Boro have certainly proven a strong team on their way to the final eight but Chelsea are just so strong in cup competition under Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea to win 1-0.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Middlesbrough wins: 31
Chelsea wins: 56
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