Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Everton
Venue: Riverside Stadium – Sunday, November 20 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)
Match Odds: Middlesbrough 5/1 – Draw 29/10 – Chelsea 4/7
Before the international break, Boro had been enjoying a solid run of form, picking up six points from five games, including impressive draws against Arsenal and City.
Aitor Karanka knows his side have the capability of upsetting anyone this season. Middlesbrough are sitting 15th in the Premier League and are giving a good account of themselves on their return to the top flight.
Worryingly for Boro, they have not managed a positive result against Chelsea in their last six attempts, losing all of those games, what a time this would be to bring that run to an end.
Chelsea were flying as they headed into the international break. Antonio Conte has seen his side win every league game (5) since switching to 3-4-3. Their 5-0 demolition of Everton last time out sent out a message to the rest of the title chasing sides.
The Blues haven’t conceded in those fives games and are now sitting second in the league. They will be seeing this as an opportunity to make it six wins in a row.
If history is anything to go by, this should be a routine win for Chelsea, not only have they won their last six in a row against Middlesbrough, they have also kept a clean sheet in all of those games.
The Chelsea squad has been hit by a few injuries in the last few weeks, which only heightens the importance of depth, something they have in abundance.
Middlesbrough could be without three for the visit of Chelsea as James Husband, George Friend and Daniel Ayala are all doubts.
Chelsea’s main concern will be over the fitness of their two most important players this season, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, who both returned from the international carrying knocks. Conte will still be expecting to be without Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Middlesbrough’s last five: D/L/D/W/D
Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/W
Key Stat: Chelsea have won their last six games against Middlesbrough in all competitions.
Key Player: Pedro – The Chelsea winger has been completely revitalised under Conte. He is playing with the confidence that resulted in his move to the West Londoners. Pedro’s energy and ability to provide both goals and assists has caused trouble for opposition defenders this season and he will be looking to play a key role this weekend.
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea – Boro to come unstuck against a Chelsea side who are expected to take all three points here. The Blues have shown a real togetherness under Conte and are relishing playing in the 3-4-3. Middlesbrough will be able to cause Chelsea problems, but given their defensive strength and energy in the side, they’d be forgiven for falling short here.