Kick Off: Monday, May 8, 2017. 19:00 GMT
Venue: Stamford Bridge
It’s Monday night football, and it’s a huge game for Chelsea, because a win against Boro will all but guarantee the league for Chelsea this season.
A unique thing about this game is that it’s between table toppers Chelsea and relegation battlers, Middlesbrough. Both teams desire the three points for two very opposite reasons.
Chelsea are top of the table with 81 points, while Middlesbrough are 19th with 28 points, and while a win will almost guarantee Chelsea the league title, a loss will all but guarantee Boro a place in the Championship next season, pending Hull City and Crystal Palace’s next games.
Chelsea have won four of their last six league games and lost two, while Middlesbrough are in terrible form, having won just once in their last six games, losing three and drawing two. However, their last game was a 2-2 draw against Manchester City.
Chelsea won the reverse fixture 1-0 away from home, in what was a very difficult game against Boro. Prior to that, the last time Chelsea met Middlesbrough was in the FA Cup in 2013, and the Blues were 2-0 winners at the Riverside Stadium.
Middlesbrough gained promotion to the topflight this season, and the last time they were in the Premier League was in 2008/09 season. Chelsea won both fixtures convincingly – 5-0 at the Riverside Stadium and 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are vying for a 13th Premier League home win in 14 attempts.
Chelsea have won seven successive meetings against Boro without conceding a goal, including the last six Premier League encounters.
Middlesbrough have gone 18 league matches without a victory at Stamford Bridge since a 2-1 top-flight triumph in March 1975 (D6, L12). Boro have only scored five times in those games, and none in the last seven visits.
Antonio Conte would hope Chelsea keep consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since January.
My prediction: Boro will play out their hearts, and so will Chelsea. The quality in the Chelsea side will carry the day. Chelsea 3 vs 0 Middlesbrough