Way, way back in October 2016 naysayers were gleefully rubbing their hands at the travails of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea who cut forlorn figures having dropped eight points in succession to Swansea, Liverpool and Arsenal. However, a quick shuffle to three at the back from the Italian tactician and the Blues hit pay dirt, and with victory tonight, they will pretty much confirm themselves as Premier League champions.
Middlesbrough go into this game as rank outsiders with the relegation trapdoor gaping beneath them. In simple terms, nothing less than victory will suffice for them – it is all or nothing – and that should make for an entertaining game for the neutral and an evening of nail-biting torment and agony for fans from Teesside.
Realistically, these 90 minutes will determine whether Boro play Premier League or Championship football next season. If they want the former, they must believe they can do it.
As the late, great Bill Shankly once said:
“Aim for the sky and you’ll reach the ceiling.
Aim for the ceiling and you’ll stay on the floor.”
Premier League Football – Chelsea v Middlesbrough Monday 7.00pm on Sky Sports 1.