08/05/2017 Match of the Day


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Tottenham are trying to keep the title race interesting but it must


feel like they're winning game is a standstill at times. Dele Alli! What


a goal. The gap has closed to four points. Can anybody stop Antonio


Conte's Chelsea? He gets the shot away now...


Chelsea, be concerned, because Tottenham are coming. It is in! They


will be cheered just as loudly as Tottenham. Brilliant! Absolutely


brilliant! Three crucial points. They say, Spurs, over to you now.


What a fantastic goal! Not just a win, a statement of intent from


Chelsea. It is in, Dele Alli has turned it in. Is that the moment


that Spurs' challenge dies? After the battles of recent


weeks, Chelsea were two wins away from sealing


the Premier League title. Defeat for Middlesbrough tonight


would consign them to relegation. Jermaine Jenas and Mark Schwarzer


are here to reflect Your commentator at Stamford


Bridge was Steve Bower. Chelsea have been in pole position


in the race since early November, that chequered flag is now firmly


inside as they look for a smooth ride to the finishing line. Antonio


Conte has made only 38 changes all season. His one tonight is in force,


Cesc Fabregas is recalled because of injury. Diego Costa needs one more


goal to equal his best Premier League tally. One change for


Middlesbrough as well, Traore starts and Negredo has three goals in his


last five starts. A game that both are desperate to win for very


different reasons. You do feel the opening exchanges are crucial for


Middlesbrough if they are to get anything tonight. Chelsea, trying to


win a Premier League home game for the 13th time in 14 home games.


Fabregas floating it into Alonso, who has already got too much room,


and very nearly gave Chelsea in the lead in less than 90 seconds. Marcos


Alonso already has five goals this season, with the opportunity here


look at the room he's got. Brilliantly found by Fabregas, and


it got through Guzan. Thankfully, as far as Middlesbrough are concerned,


not into the back of the net. Of course victory tonight for Chelsea


would mean a win at the Hawthorns on Friday night would clinch the title.


He might have something to say about that though. Traore all alone at the


moment, surrounded by blue shirts, and Cahill wins it back.


Costa has made his way to the back post, he has picked out Fabregas


instead, who will be disappointed that he couldn't find the target.


Diego Costa, then hazard involved. Just what Fabregas. Nowhere anywhere


near him, all the time to assess the situation. He has been at the top


for 148 days, looking to be only the fifth manager to win the Premier


League title in only his first season at the club.


That man did the league and FA Cup double in his first season, which is


what Antonio Conte has in his sights. Eden Hazard, trying to pick


out cost. He ended up in the back of the net, the ball didn't. He felt he


was impeded. Diego Costa initially wanted the pull-back, it went


across, and you can see his interpretation of the incident.


Fabregas. Fabio didn't get there, Costa did, and Costa scores. He


wasn't going to miss that. 20 league goals for the season and the top


scorer has just calmed the nerves inside Stamford Bridge. They have


been knocking on the Middlesbrough door, and midway through the first


half they found the way through. Fabregas had to be involved, he


delivered the ball, Fabio should have done better. Call us you like


from Costa. Fabregas has had a terrific start of the game, he knows


this is a big night. 1-0. The way by Gibson, clever little


touch from hazard. So was that. Moses... Wonderful move, just nobody


on the end of it. Middlesbrough thankful for that. Look at this from


hazard. That was inviting from Victor Moses. It has been a long,


hard season for everyone connected with Middlesbrough, no one feels it


more than him. Extremely hard work for Middlesbrough out of possession.


Alonso... He squeezed it low! Six goals for the season for Marcos


Alonso, who beats Brad Guzan at his near post. 11 minutes before


half-time, Chelsea already have a two goal advantage, and already you


feel they are moving within one victory of the title. A long period


of possession. Guzan won't want to see that again, but Alonso got there


off the knee of Brad Guzan and into the back of the net. Already this


looks a mountain for Middlesbrough. 2-0. They have only accumulated two


points from losing positions in the Premier League all season. Fabregas


again, into Moses. Look at the time and space he has got. He was unable


to keep that one out. Cesc Fabregas is single-handedly running the show.


Nobody went with Moses again. Hazard's interception. Here is


Pedro... Inches away from number three. In the first minute of the


second half, all too easy again. Let the ball come across him, crash it


against the crossbar. 16 Premier League games that Middlesbrough have


failed to score in, and that sums up their season in a nutshell.


Fabregas. Time for Pedro to turn, and look at the space for Alonso.


Then Costa! Chelsea, I'm sure, cannot believe the time and space


they are being offered here. Nobody close to Pedro, nobody anywhere near


Alonso and Costa very nearly finished that off. That's how close


he was to his second and Chelsea's third.


Alonso. Misjudged by Traore. Costa. Cahill! He caught that, beaten away


by Guzan. Won back by Matic. Chelsea free kick. This one from Gary Cahill


was certainly travelling. He has never scored in three consecutive


league games in his career. What a pass that is. Hazard. Fabregas...


Deflected. Just wide. These chances keep coming. Off the head of


Chambers, could have easily been an own goal. He knows his team are on


the brink. Fabregas. I'm not sure he has broken sweat tonight. Lovely


play from Moses. Drilled it into wards Costa, gives it away. Chelsea


corner. Middlesbrough don't want Chelsea to


run riot. Hazard running into the penalty area, space for Fabregas,


then Matic! Brilliantly worked. Fantastically finished. The Serbian


has his first Premier League goal of the season and Chelsea are one win


away from the title. That was a goal made with the confidence and quality


of the team close to being champions. Look at that touch from


Fabregas, one from the chest of Matic, and in the back of the net.


Middlesbrough are bamboozled. They know their time in the top flight


this season will come to an end, and Chelsea are threatening to run riot


here. 20 minutes of the second half gone, 3-0. The game is won. Do we


freshen it up, save a few for Friday?


Leadbetter. First save from Thibaut Courtois. Routine, to say the least.


Fabregas has space to run into, and has David Luiz. Pedro... This could


have at least been double, the scoreline, by this stage. In the


end, Pedro got underneath it. Into wards Costa, then it came back


to Moses! Good save by Guzan. All of this without Kante.


Chelsea on the brink. They can reach out and almost touch that trophy.


The cork is certainly loosened up the top of the bottle. One more win


away from being Premier League champions again. A complete contrast


in emotion for Middlesbrough, they are relegated from the Premier


League for the fourth time. It has finished at Stamford Bridge, 3-0.


I am delighted for my players because I think they are deserving


this. All this season, they put themselves in the team, in our


philosophy, and I think we are showing we deserved to win this


league. You have three games to do it, how important is it to do it


against West Brom? Not easy because West Brom is a tough team, physical


team, very strong and they will want to play a good game against us, but


we are ready. It's about the football and the players to rest and


prepare for this game. From a personal point of view, how much did


you enjoy tonight? As usual when I played this year I enjoyed because I


feel I contributed a lot to the team, personally and collectively I


think it's been a fantastic year for the club and hopefully we can make


it nearly perfect. Steve, can you put into context how you are feeling


now? Gutted, as we all are. We are bitterly disappointed with the


result this evening and obviously what it means. We have now lost our


Premier League status and that is something that we take great pride


in. I have just left a very silent dressing room. Commiserations, how


are you feeling now? That is the lowest point of my life really.


Cannot put into words. Now is not the time to go into details but we


have to reflect and think about what's gone wrong and tried to put


it right. You know the chairman better than most, I mean everybody


at Middlesbrough will feel for him more than anybody tonight. Yes, he


and the fans deserve Premier League football. People talk about him is


the best chairman in the country, without a doubt he knows Premier


League football. Middlesbrough are relegated, do you have a degree of


sympathy for the team in that situation? Yes, only England you can


see this and it's fantastic. Really, you've never experienced that


before? No, this must be an example for other countries and it's great


to see this. I felt in my heart to go and to Clarke the -- clap the


supporters. Let's hope your supporters are clapping you on


Friday. The victory means Chelsea are seven


clear and can clinch the title with a win at West Brom on Friday night


and a defeat for Middlesbrough confirms their relegation along with


Sunderland to the Championship. It was so comfortable wasn't it? It


certainly was, you look at the options that Chelsea have, the best


Player of the Season N'Golo Kante is injured and they can revert to


somebody like Cesc Fabregas and how he ran the show and dictated play


today. Albeit against a team in Middlesbrough who did not give


themselves a chance. How comfortable it was, did that surprise you in


anyway, that there might be nerves coming for a side going for the the


side going to try to stay up might have battled more? Not really, from


the Middlesbrough point of view they have played that way the majority of


the season which is why they have been relegated. I thought Chelsea


were brilliant. They completely dominated the game. 3-0 and it could


have been five or six. It was a very easy evening of work for Chelsea.


Cesc Fabregas took his performance in his stride in that interview but


he was without doubt Man of the Match. Yeah, he was, it shows the


calibre of the player. He wants to play every week. He's got so much in


his locker. Able to pick out players from anywhere in the position on the


pitch. Outstanding. He might be lacking pace but his reading and


understanding of the game is still world-class. Every time Chelsea want


to try to find an option, an outlet, they go to Cesc Fabregas and he is


knocking the ball from all over the park and it's easy for him in this


game because he's not getting put under pressure. All day he had the


options as well because the wingbacks are moving forward, they


stretched Middlesbrough from the off. Key is 30 years old, 11 starts


this season, do you sense a changing role for him over the coming years,


whether that is that Chelsea or somewhere else? Potentially, I think


in many other teams in the Premier League he would easily be a starting


player. It depends on if he wants to make the change. We know he loves


being in London, this season, the way he has conducted himself has


been outstanding. The ultimate profession. More and more as a


quarterback that we could talk about? Ten or more assists in a


Premier League season which he's done for six seasons, more than any


other player in the Premier League, do you sense that quarterback role?


He's done that the majority of the season and he's been a huge weapon.


What an array of players were on that list. You talk about Cesc


Fabregas, he's a European Championship winner twice and the


World Cup winner. I think you are doing a slight disservice that he


could only play that quarterback role because I think throughout


large periods of the season when he's come on, he would come on for


Pedro will Leanne in the right-hand forward position -- come on for


Pedro Oriol will I think what is good about Cesc is


that at the start of the season I am not sure Antonio Conte thought he


would get the reaction he got when he left him out, I thought he might


have thought he could spit his dummy out and say he should be playing and


he's obviously knuckled down. He's a huge part of the team in terms of


going forward. He benefited and other Chelsea players benefited from


a lot of space this evening. Work, first and foremost you have to


understand it's tough to go to Stamford Bridge. You have to go


let's make it difficult for them to break us down but what Middlesbrough


did, someone has to get close to Fabregas because he is running the


game and he's going to tear you apart and I just felt nobody within


the team or the midfield spotted it at any stage. When he's on the ball


your backline cannot be that high up the pitch, it just cannot be.


Negredo has a hard enough job as it is up front on his own, but the


three in midfield, I am not sure what they are doing. One of them has


to release themselves and go and engage Fabregas, close him down. As


we run it on, he does what he did for the majority of the game, got


his head up, picked out his man. Fabregas that time, but another man,


Azpilicueta in acres of space because Middlesbrough play so deep.


You cannot let defenders run, get their head up and pick a pass. When


you have runners like Hazard and Diego Costa, Willian when he was


playing. In the heat of the battle should the Middlesbrough players


recognise this? This ends up being a goal, Adam Forshaw has got to have a


go and impact the ball. He just ambles out. This is Chelsea at


Stamford Bridge, you have to have more intensity in the midfield area,


all over the park as well, you have to be intense. It's OK dropping off


but to a certain point and then you start to engage and get lively to


keep them away from your goal. Ki just accepted today I felt. So if


players are not spotting it, the management should? You have to see


some might Fabregas, you know he won't get around you, sprint past


due. He might pass a you but he's not going to sprint past due. I


would have man marked in the whole match, if he gets the ball... They


had three players in the, in the midfield, you could have easily, if


I was playing midfield... They would have been in even more trouble!


LAUGHTER Moving on, moving on. If they did


not have the bodies to get around Chelsea players or support Negredo?


Again, I think Middlesbrough have wasted what I classed as a very good


weapon in the armoury this season. They have left him isolated too many


times all season. What is he supposed to do with this? The ball


comes into him, by Chelsea players around him. When the ball eventually


goes into him, if it gets to him, what's he supposed to do? He has no


support, nobody looking to get a hold of him. Eventually he drops


deeper, the Chelsea defence tell him he can have it because he won't


affect the backline from there. To the white men to get closer? Yes,


midfielders need to gamble more and get closer. Negredo is at his best


in and around the box. Get the ball in towards his feet or get


deliveries into the box and he can cause havoc. Nine goals of their 26


this season he has scored, I feel like they have wasted, they have


wasted what is a very good striker for this week. If we are talking


attacking threat a lot of the Chelsea attacking threat throughout


the whole season has come from the wingbacks. Certainly after the first


ten games when they went to a back three. The players who benefited the


most were Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses has had


problems getting in the team over a number of years at the club and


Antonio Conte has identified him as a perfect wingback. He is quick and


powerful and has been coached on the defensive side. When they are so


attacking minded he does not have to worry so much because they have so


much cover at the back. Alonzo, you look at him, he has the ability to


score goals, six this season, Victor Moses has scored three. When it is


one-on-one, Marcos Alonso on one side Victor Moses on the other,


often they are the two most forward players on the pitch. And they have,


only Diego Costa, Pedro and has erred have had more shots than


Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses this season. Going forward will teams


work out how to try to stop them? Yeah, I think against bigger sites


like Manchester City, Manchester United, they work them out,


Tottenham. They put more pressure on the wingbacks, that is one aspect


where you think OK, Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses in the defensive


side of things coming up against better opposition find it more


difficult to cope. It interesting, the games they missed, Victor Moses


injured during the Crystal Palace game and they lost, Marcos Alonso


away at Old Trafford, they did really miss both those guys when


they were out of the side. If as we assume Chelsea win the title they


will be praised and examined over the next couple of weeks so let's


focus back on Middlesbrough, the signings they brought in in the


summer, were they not particularly ambitious with the players they


brought in? I think they were very cautious. They did not really bring


in enough experience, when you look at the stats of how many experienced


players or players that had Premier League experience under their belt


at the club, Stewart Downing 378 games, Brad Guzan the second


goalkeeper for the vast majority of the season. The rest only had a


handful of games between them so it was always going to be a really


tough order for them to stay in the league. They had the momentum after


promotion as most teams do but it wore thin quite early on and they


just did not have the bite and experience. Cautious in your first


season back is not necessarily a problem, Sean Dyche said they came


up and went down and then decided this summer that they would roll the


dice a little bit more with the players they brought in. You are


going to get the fitting right? I would think Middlesbrough have got


some decent players, the centre-halves, Gibson and Chambers,


England internationals if not U21 internationals, sorry. In the


midfield, Clayton, Adam Forshaw, decent footballers. But how they


were set up and asked to play was too defensive. And now they have a


managerial appointment to think about over the course of the summer.


Certainly, it'll be a big decision, it will be interesting which


direction they take, what decision Steve Gibson makes, it's quite


enormous for the club's future. Thank you very much gentlemen, that


is it from us this evening. Middlesbrough have lost their


Premier League status and Chelsea are one step closer to the title.


Goodbye. A game that both are desperate to win for a very


different reasons. Fabregas floating it into words Marcos Alonso who


already has too much room and almost gave Chelsea the lead. Trying to


pick out Diego Costa. Fabio did not get there, Diego Costa did, Diego


Costa scores. Marcos Alonso squeezing it home. Total dominance


from Chelsea. Pedro! Inches away from number three. He knows his team


as it stands are being relegated tonight. 'S base for Fabregas,


Matic. MUSIC: Fire


by Beth Ditto


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