Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prediction: Chelsea vs Middlesbrough

Verdict: Chelsea to win to nil

Best Odds:4/6

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Chelsea entertain Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Monday night as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table. Meanwhile, Boro still have a mathematical chance of survival and would be happy to take anything from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur’s shock 1-0 loss away to West Ham on Friday night has given Chelsea a huge chance of winning the league. The Blues go into the game against Middlesbrough four points ahead of their rivals and a win would extend their lead to seven points with only three matches left. Antonio Conte’s men could be champions within a week, providing they win on Monday and do the same against West Bromwich Albion next Friday. Chelsea have only lost twice at home this season, and just once since Conte reverted to his trusted 3-4-3 formation that gave him so much success at Juventus.  Since their 2-0 set-back to Manchester United a few weeks back, the Blues have picked up impressive wins against Southampton, Everton and Tottenham in the FA Cup, and it seems just a matter of time before they are crowed England’s best team.  Conte will be ensuring his side are not complacent against a Middlesbrough side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, and will want to tighten things up in defence where they have conceded six times in eight matches.

Team News

David Luiz could miss out after being replaced late on during Sunday’s win at Everton. N’Golo Kante is also a doubt with a thigh injury.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough are currently on the verge of relegation and their fears will be confirmed if they lose on Monday and Hull manage at least a point against Sunderland on Saturday. Steve Agnew’s men have been decent defensively all season, boasting one of the best records outside the top-six, but their main problem has been the fact they have only scored 26 goals in 35 league games. A good 1-0 win against Sunderland was followed by an impressive 2-2 draw against Manchester City but it seems to have come all too late and the Teessiders appear to be destined for Championship football next season. Boro have only managed one win away from home all season and a trip to Stamford Bridge to save their campaign would be the last thing they would have wanted.  Agnew’s appointment has seen his team score more goals, but inevitably, they have started to leak more too and that’s a recipe for danger when facing the league’s soon-to-be champions.

Team News

Gaston Ramirez is likely to miss out after being dropped for the draw with Manchester City. Adlene Guedioura (groin), Victor Valdes (ribs) and Daniel Ayala (ankle) are all doubts

However, skipper Grant Leadbitter is back after missing the last three games with a hamstring problem.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have won each of their last six Premier League games against Middlesbrough without conceding a goal
  • Boro have gone seven league matches at Stamford Bridge without scoring
  • This fixture sees the highest scoring Premier League side in 2016-17 (Chelsea – 72 goals) and the lowest scoring side (Middlesbrough- 26 goals, same as Sunderland)
  • Chelsea have already equalled the points tally of Leicester City in 2015-16 (81) and if they win their remaining four Premier League games they will be on 93 points. Only Chelsea have ever won more than this in 2004-05 (95 points)
  • Middlesbrough have 28 points with three games remaining. The fewest points won by a team to avoid relegation from the Premier League is 34 (West Bromwich Albion 2004-05)

Conclusion

Chelsea look very likely to get the three points at Stamford Bridge on Monday against a Middlesbrough side who look doomed. The Blues should be extremely motivated, especially after Tottenham’s slip up against West Ham and with their extremely strong home record, we can see Conte’s men winning to nil.

Verdict: Chelsea to win to nil

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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