Middlesbrough have earned two impressive draws against Arsenal and Manchester City in their last three matches when using a 4-5-1 formation. They are expected to opt for the same tactics against a rampant Chelsea side.
Chelsea have won each of their last five matches at an aggregate scoreline of 16-0. They have been immense since switching to 3-4-3 and it will take a huge effort from the home side to take points from Antonio Conte’s side here. The fact Eden Hazard and Diego Costa come into this fixture with slight knocks could help them, however.
These two sides haven’t met since 2013 but Chelsea have won each of their last six matches against Middlesbrough, and ominously, haven’t conceded a goal in that time. In fact, Boro haven’t scored against Chelsea since 2006 when Mark Viduka and Emanuel Pogatetz gave them a 2-1 win over Chelsea. It’s hard to see them getting anywhere close to that result on Sunday. Naijabet.com
Middlesbrough – Middlesbrough can welcome back Gaston Ramirez to the team after he missed their 1-1 draw with Manchester City through suspension.
Daniel Ayala has been sidelined for two matches with an ankle injury and remains a doubt here. James Husband, meanwhile, lacks match fitness.
George Friend is a doubt after picking up a knee injury in training, which means Nsue may come in at right-back and Antonio Barragan reverts to left-back to deputise in Friend’s absence.
Aitor Karanka’s side are expected to stick with the 4-5-1 formation that has held both Arsenal and City to draws in recent weeks.
Chelsea – Marco Van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma are now on the verge of making their senior returns after stepping up their recovery with the under age groups in recent weeks.
Diego Costa was forced to withdraw from the Spain squad with a groin injury and is a doubt for Sunday’s match away to Middlesbrough, although he is expected to start.
Eden Hazard was forced off midway through Belgium’s match against Estonia during the international break, but like Costa, is expected to recover in time for the weekend.
Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are also injury concerns for Antonio Conte’s side.
All in all, no changes are expected from Conte for Sunday’s match.
Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in their last 6 matches against Middlesbrough in all competitions.
Chelsea have won their last 6 matches against Middlesbrough in all competitions.
Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in their last 5 Premier League matches.
Chelsea have won their last 5 matches in Premier League.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Chelsea’s last 11 games (Premier League).
Chelsea have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 4 matches in Premier League.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Middlesbrough’s last 5 Premier League games.
Chelsea have scored at least 2 goals in 9 of their last 11 matches (Premier League).
Chelsea have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches against Middlesbrough in all competitions.