Saturday 25 November 2017

Chelsea and Middlesbrough are heading for very different championships after the Blues' 3-0 win

Chelsea need just one more win from their next three games to win the league.

By Max McLean

After Tottenham lost 1-0 at West Ham on Friday, Chelsea had three long days to wait to make it count in the title race – their 3-0 win against Middlesbrough has all but assured them of the Premier League title.

But the result had implications at the bottom of the table as well as the top, as Middlesbrough were relegated to the Championship with two games remaining.

It was a game which, in truth, Middlesbrough rarely looked to have a chance of winning.

Relegation has been a long time coming for Boro, who have won just one Premier League game since the new year.

The fans were still in fine voice however, despite heading back down to the Championship.

Meanwhile it was a very different kind of championship Chelsea were heading for, namely one with a small ‘c’.

For a while it looked as though Chelsea winning the title was a foregone conclusion – defeats against Crystal Palace and Manchester United in April changed the complexion of the race however.

But the Blues have responded in champion fashion, winning tricky games against Southampton and Everton before beating Middlesbrough.

The result is that Antonio Conte’s side go seven points clear of Tottenham with three games left – it was a night to enjoy for the home fans at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s points tally could go as high as 93 by the end of the season.

The title could be decided on Friday, with Chelsea playing again in four days’ time.

And despite the importance of the win, Conte showed class in going over to the Boro fans at the end of the game.

Surely now it is a matter of when, not if Chelsea win their fifth Premier League title.

Press Association

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