And so begins a week that could prove the culmination of nine months of hard work, improvement, and commitment. Thanks to Spurs losing to West Ham, Chelsea need just six points from the last four games to win the league. With a game on Monday and on Friday, the title could be ours before next weekend.
Should Chelsea then win out, we would even set a new record for most wins in a Premier League season with 30. Chelsea already hold the record with 29, achieved in both 2004-05 (when we also set the points record with 95) and 2005-06.
This is still no time to relax of course. Chelsea must take care of business, first in the league, and then in the FA Cup final, before even starting to think about trophy celebrations and summer vacations.
Date / Time: Monday, May 8, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Craig Pawson — Pawson’s been a bit of a bad omen this season, with Chelsea losing both of his previous matches in charge 2-1 (at home vs. Crystal Palace and against West Ham in the League Cup). On the other hand, Middlesbrough have also lost both of their Pawson-refereed matches this season, to Burnley and Stoke, both away. We can’t both lose again!
Forecast: Breezy but warm-ish.
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: The Blues have scored 11 times in the last three games in all competitions and against Everton even kept a clean sheet! Things seems to be clicking at both ends of the pitch at the right time, with Eden Hazard finishing the season strong and Diego Costa getting back into the saddle for one last Chelsea rodeo.
Unfortunately, injuries seem to be popping up with increasing regularity as we wind down the season. While Thibaut Courtois is managing his re-aggravated sprained ankle, both David Luiz (groin) and N’Golo Kanté (thigh) could miss out. Nathan Aké and Cesc Fàbregas are expected to deputize should that be the case. That’s not necessarily the ideal application of the 3-4-3, but it should do.
Middlesbrough team news: Boro have not yet been relegated officially, but they’d need to win all three of their remaining games and hope that results elsewhere go their way as well (namely Swansea City and Hull City to not pick up more than two and three points, respectively, in their two remaining matches). It’s doable but unlikely, and anything other than three points on Monday night would confirm a swift return to the second tier.
Caretaker manager Steve Agnew will no doubt take heart from their draw versus Manchester City last weekend, but while results at home have improved a bit (5-5-4 in their last 14 at home in all competitions!), their away record remains atrocious. Boro have not won away from home since August (their second match of the season) and have scored just 3 goals in their last 10 trips while giving up 16.
Nothing should be taking for granted in the Premier League, but anything other than a comfortable Chelsea win would be shocking.
Previously: Costa scored his 10th of the season against Boro in the reverse fixture. He can score his 20th today.