Chelsea vs Middlesbrough Betting Predictions – Back Chelsea 13/10 with Coral
Of Chelsea’s remaining fixtures, this is the surely the most straightforward opportunity on paper to take three points. At the time of writing, Middlesbrough are on the brink of relegation from the Premier League having not won since December, scoring only 23 goals and winning just once away from home, in August.
Aitor Karanka was sacked in March with the team drifting towards the drop having shown barely any attacking intent all season. While the Spaniard’s departure was perhaps needed, the club’s decision not to hire a senior replacement immediately, instead handing assistant Steve Agnew the reigns until the end of the season has not helped at all.
Agnew may have instilled more attacking intent into his squad, but they have begun conceding more goals and have not won under his stewardship, winning just two point (again, at the time of writing).
Backing Chelsea is an obvious choice, but finding value is tough. The bet we are going for here is a home win with -2 handicap. Bournemouth recently put four past Boro and Antonio Conte’s men are among the top scorers at home this season. It is tough to see any joy at all for those travelling down from Teesside.
Eden Hazard facing Antonio Barragan on Chelsea’s left hand side will definitely worry Agnew. The Spaniard is too often caught out of position and will leave gaps in behind. Hazard needs to learn to go on the outside of defenders more, especially with more teams flooding the midfield.
Middlesbrough have now conceded 3 or more goals in a single game for the sixth time this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 22, 2017
Leaking goals. pic.twitter.com/dZUkKIqFDu
In terms of attack for Boro, they have a focal point in Alvaro Negredo up front, but not enough pace or dynamism in midfield to combine with him. N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic will likely create a barrier Boro will not be able to pass.
The only hope is Adama Traore, statistically Europe’s best dribbler. If he can be released out wide, the 20-year-old can cause Chelsea’s wingbacks to sit in more in attempt to negate the threat, but Agnew has not trusted his youngster much and may not at Stamford Bridge.
The season looks like ending in a whimper for Middlesbrough, who could be in for a long afternoon in West London.