Depending on what title-challengers Tottenham Hotspur do at West Ham United later today — and anything but a Spurs win would be a surprise — Chelsea could be entering Monday night’s kick-off at Stamford Bridge with just a one-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Confident as we may be, that’s some pretty serious pressure and not much margin for error that will require a few nerves of steel to handle properly.
Our opponents Middlesbrough will need a few steady hearts as well. While their relegation is all but confirmed at this point, there exists a mathematical possibility still that they will somehow escape that inevitable fate. It would require a series of unlikely results, including as many wins (four) in their final five games as in the previous 33, as well as multiple points dropped by both Hull City and Swansea City, but, it’s not over until it’s over, right, everybody?
“Chelsea are flying, and I think they will be the champions. But we have to go there and put in the type of performance we did at the weekend, and we must hope that we can get something.”
“We don’t have it in our hands now, and that is always difficult. They (Hull) have to lose, and we have to win at Chelsea. The only thing we can do now is try to win all the three games we have left. We can just do our bit, and keep going to the end.”
That’s Boro midfielder Marten de Roon, whose four goals are tied for the second highest total on the team — a perfect illustration of their struggles in front of goal this season. But they did put two past Manchester City in the 2-2 draw last weekend and even with Brad Guzan in goal, they’re capable of playing strong defence. And lest we forget, we only managed a narrow, albeit still comfortable 1-0 in the reverse fixture.
“I think the team was good against City. I think the balance was good, and we can take many positives from that. Sunderland was a win, but it was a bad game. But the (Man City) game was a good performance and a good mentality, and I think a good game to watch.”
“We have to go to Chelsea and do that again – play well against a good team and try to win the game. If we are organised and take our chances, then everything is possible.”
-Marten de Roon; source: Northern Echo
Hull City host Sunderland on Saturday, and if they beat the worst team in the league, they will have just about relegated Middlesbrough. Boro would technically remain alive, but just on goal difference. An early Chelsea goal could very well put them out of their misery.