Our EPL scribe previews Monday night’s Premier League clash between Chelsea and Middlesbrough.
Two contrasting fates come head to head in a Monday night fixture that could have a huge bearing on the outcome of the Premier League title this year. Spurs loss to West Ham has essentially gift wrapped Chelsea the title, with the Blues only requiring two more wins from their remaining four games. ‘Boro may have the odds stacked against them, but they do appear to be ready to go down with a fight.
So Monday night’s game should have all the guts and glory that for some obscure reason seem to be amplified on Monday nights.
Chelsea v Middlesbrough Stamford Bridge | Monday 8 May | 21:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Chelsea 1/7 | Draw 6/1 | Middlesbrough 16/1
Chelsea’s ruthless dismantling of Everton just reeked of professionalism. One area of possible concern may be the knock sustained by David Luiz. It seems a possibility that he may not be quite a hundred percent for this game. In that instance, one should expect Kurt Zouma to come into the back three. Fabregas and Willian will be pushing for starting berths after starring off the bench last week.
Kante and Matic will feel that they can dominate a Boro midfield that is more frenetic than finesse.
Obviously, Hazard and Pedro will feel that if they isolate Gibson or Fabio, they will likely be able to reap great rewards here. Costa will look at Friend and Chambers and feel that he could boss them this week. ‘Boro may it difficult for the Blues when they visited Riverside earlier this season, with Conte’s men only managing a scrappy 1-0 victory. But with title success so perilously close, I can’t see this Chelsea side faltering.
You have to give Agnew’s side a lot of credit in the wake of that 2-2 draw with City. They were humiliated against Bournemouth 4-0 and could have easily dropped tools. But they were resilient and seemed to benefit from adopting a more carefree approach. How nice it was to see Stewart Downing contributing to the side. Negredo seemed far happier as Boro were producing more in advanced areas.
Grant Leadbitter could come back from injury this week. Victor Valdes could also return from a rib injury, while Daniel Ayala looks close to a return. However, I feel that Agnew owes it to the side that performed last week to start the same eleven. They have nothing to lose and need all three points here anyway. Sitting back and playing it cagey against this Chelsea side is just not going to work. They have to take a few risks and hope that something happens. The potential absence of Luiz may give them some hope: Zouma was rather erratic in his last outing.
Verdict: Correct Score – Chelsea to Win 2-0 – 17/4
There is really little value in backing Chelsea at this point, and I just can’t see an upset. I think that Boro will fail to break Chelsea down. All this has led me to a correct score prediction. Chelsea will find Boro resolute, and perhaps when they get to 2-0 they may consolidate. Seems like a good price for a likely result.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets