Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough

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  • Blues won 1-0 on Nov. 20
  • Boro scoreless in seven-straight vs. Chelsea
  • Chelsea leads all-time 54W-29D-31L

Chelsea can doom Middlesbrough to the Championship and move to within a win of the Premier League title with a win at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Tottenham’s surprising loss to West Ham on Friday gives Chelsea the opportunity to move seven points clear of Spurs with three matches to play in the Premier League season. With wins on Monday and Friday at West Brom, Chelsea would win the league before Spurs next kick a ball in anger.

Boro needs a point to stay alive in the race to avoid relegation, but really only a win will do the trick. Boro is seven points back of Swansea City and six behind 18th place Hull City. The Smoggies cannot catch Crystal Palace.

The match-up points to Chelsea in many ways, including a seven-match winning streak in the series which extends back to 2006. All seven of those Chelsea wins have been clean sheets. The last win came in stoppage time via Mark Viduka.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on the season“In this season, if Chelsea had not performed in this way, Tottenham would win the title without difficulty. Only this great season from us is pushing them to fight and, maybe, to win or not to win the title.”

Boro’s Steve Agnew on the Chelsea challenge“Any team that beat Chelsea are going to have to work extremely hard. We can talk about tactics and formations, but the bottom line is that they put in a hell of a shift. That’s what we’ll aim to do as well. The position Chelsea are in, I don’t think they will be complacent – they’ll be committed as always. But what I will say is that they will get a proper game of football.”

Prediction

Boro will battle, and its players will also know they are in the store window regardless of their safety plight. But the fact that Boro can’t just settle for a point means Chelsea will have its chances, and pull away with a 3-1 win.