Watch: Chelsea inches closer to EPL title, Middlesbrough relegated with 3-0 result
Chelsea is a win away from the Premier League title, while Middlesbrough has officially been relegated after a 3-0 result at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Chelsea's path to the title is clear, with the club needing just three points to secure the title no matter what second-place Tottenham does in its final three games this season. A win at West Brom on Friday will clinch the Blues' fifth title since the 2004-2005 season and cement its rebound after last season's mid-table finish.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, secured its return to the second tier, as it trails 17th-place Swansea City by seven points and both have two games remaining after Monday's match. Boro joins Sunderland among the teams going down, while Hull City and Swansea City the other two teams most in peril of becoming the third to be demoted to the League Championship.
Diego Costa, Marcos Alonso and Nemanja Matic scored the goals for Chelsea on Monday, with each oddly going through U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan's legs to get on the board.
Alonso came close to giving Chelsea a dream start in the second minute, with his screaming volley tipped off the crossbar by Guzan.
In the 17th minute, Cesc Fabregas missed a chance after being set up beautifully by Eden Hazard. The Belgian's cut-back cross found Fabregas–starting for the injured N'Golo Kante–at the top of the box, but his attempt to pass the ball into the back of the net was pushed just wide of the post.
Three minutes later, Hazard was at it again, timing his run to perfection before settling a long ball over the top. His cross to the goal mouth just evaded Costa, though, keeping the match scoreless.
That score line wouldn't last much longer, though. In the 23rd minute, Costa settled a pass over the back line from Fabregas and put it through Guzan's legs from close range for his 20th goal of the season and one that gave the Blues a 1-0 lead. It marked Fabregas's 10th assist of the season, making him the first to notch six Premier League seasons with at least 10 assists.
Alonso doubled the lead from a tight angle 11 minutes later, hitting it off the inside of Guzan's leg and in to make it 2-0 Chelsea.
Chelsea went five-hole on Guzan again in the 65th minute, with Matic bringing a ball from Fabregas down in the box and then firing through the goalkeeper from close range to make it 3-0.
Departing Chelsea captain John Terry made a late appearance in front of the home fans, who may not get to see Chelsea be crowned should the Blues finish the job on Friday.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte also took a moment after the game to applaud the Middlesbrough supporters, who won't have Premier League games to attend for at least a season.