CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) assesses Monday night’s game between Chelsea and Middlesbrough.
Chelsea v Middlesbrough | Monday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
The prize is in sight. It’s within touching distance. Friday night could see Chelsea crowned as champions if they beat West Brom. First though, they have to beat Middlesbrough on Monday.
It’s an equally big game for the North East side though, as if they fail to win here they will be consigned to an instant return to the second tier.
Boro showing more fight
Fair play to Middlesbrough, they’ve showed a bit more fight since Steve Agnew took the reins from the dispatched Aitor Karanka.
They gave Arsenal a good game in defeat three weeks ago, beat Sunderland at the tail end of last month and played very well against Manchester City last Sunday as they drew 2-2.
Of course though, it’s all too little too late and Boro are heading back to the Championship. That is long odds on to be sealed on Monday night and it’s hard to fathom a situation where that won’t happen.
Chelsea = Sea The Stars
Chelsea have been like animals in the last few months. They’ve barely flinched form their strong belief that they are the best side in England. Whenever questions come their way after surprise defeats they smash the doubters way out the ball park.
Antonio Conte’s side for me were expert grinders in the first few months of 2017. They never really hammered anyone but just relentlessly put them to sleep. A bit like Sea The Stars during his 2009 season.
Since their arrogant win over Tottenham in the FA Cup Semi-Final though they seemed to have moved up another level. When you can beat Spurs with two of your key players on the bench, you really are the real deal.
Following that game, Southampton were beaten 4-2 while the tricky hurdle of Everton was flown over with grace in a 3-0 win at Goodison.
As you can imagine, Chelsea are short here. 2/11 best price in fact and for me that rules out any handicap bet with the Blues.
Instead, I’ll pin my faith on Middlesbrough to make this bet happen. They’ve showed grit against Arsenal and Man City in recent weeks and have everything to fight for here with their league status on the line.
Quotes on them scoring look too big on Monday when you assess their situation and the fact Chelsea have leaked in 11 of their last 12 league matches.
For me, the 7/4 for both teams to score and Over 2.5 Goals looks too big at Coral and it’s my Monday night pick here at the Bridge.
Chelsea v Middlesbrough – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (7/4 Coral)