Preview: Chelsea v Middlesbrough

Chelsea will be looking to go seven points clear of Tottenham when the welcome relegation threatened Middlesbrough in their English Premier League encounter on Monday evening.

Premier League
Date: 9 May 2017
Gameweek 36
Kick-off: 02:00 (HKT)
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: A Holmes, S Long
Fourth official: L Mason

Head-to-head summary:


Chelsea 92 43 25 24
Boro 97 24 25 43

Previous encounter:

Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea 20/11/16 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorer: Diego Costa (41′)

Players to watch:

For Chelsea Eden Hazard will be the one to look out for against a stubborn Boro defence that will no doubt defend with a deep line.

The visitors will be looking to park the bus and hopeful nick a goal on the counter against the title favorites and Hazard will be crucial in finding space in and around the area with his dribbling ability and close control.

Steve Agnew’s side new goals to stay up and Alvaro Negredo is likely to bee their only hope for a savior in the final run-in.

@alvaronegredo_10 ? #UTB

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The robust Spain international has led the line alone for most of the season with admirable fashion and will need adequate service to break down one of the best defences in the division.

Team form and manager quotes:

After the 3-0 thrashing of Everton in the previous league outing, Chelsea come into the game brimming with confidence. And manager Antonio Conte praised his squad’s mental state ahead of the Monday night fixture.

“I can see the right concentration, the right focus, about my players,” the Italian told reporters.

“Don’t forget we started this season with a lot of problems and now we have a fantastic possibility to reach a great target and win the Premier League, and also to play the FA Cup final.

“These two big targets for us are very, very important, the most important things for us.”

Middlesbrough head coach Steve Agnew is aware his side can be relegated on Monday, their 1-0 win over Sunderland last week handed the Teesiders a glimmer of hope but if Hull better their result – they will be mathematically in the Championship next season.

“We’ll have one eye on the Hull result, but there’s nothing we can do to affect that,” Agnew said. “Of course, if it goes our way then we’ll look forward to Monday.

“I would say that we’ve not had much luck this season. If that comes our way over the next few days, then it’s something we’ll take.”

Team news:

Chelsea pair David Luiz and N’Golo Kante are injury doubts for Monday’s game against Middlesbrough and will face late fitness tests.

Gaston Ramirez is likely to miss out with a pelvic problem, while Victor Valdes and Daniel Ayala are serious doubts for Steve Agnew’s team selection.