Chelsea needing just five more wins to guarantee the title, we take a closer
look at their remaining fixtures…
Pressure? What pressure? If there was any suggestion Tottenham's lunchtime
thrashing of Watford, which temporarily closed the gap on Premier League
leaders Chelsea to four points, would affect the Blues in their evening
kick-off with Bournemouth they were dismissed by Antonio Conte's side
running out 3-1 winners.
An Adam Smith own goal and further strikes by Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso
restored Chelsea's seven-point advantage at the top of the table and time is
now running out for their north London rivals to make up the difference.
With just seven games left to play, Chelsea are 15 points away from glory.
Here, we take a look at the remaining obstacles in their way…
Manchester United (a) - Sunday, 16 April - live on Sky Sports
On paper, the toughest test remaining for Chelsea is a trip to Old Trafford.
The Londoners have won just three times in the past 12 years away at
Manchester United - but Jose Mourinho's men are currently struggling on
their own patch. United are in danger of recording their lowest home points
total in Premier League history and Chelsea can go there with confidence
after already winning 4-0 in the league and 1-0 in an FA Cup clash at
Southampton (h) - Tuesday, 25 April - live on Sky Sports
Chelsea's energy levels and mental focus will be put to the test by
Southampton later this month, when Claude Puel's side visit Stamford Bridge
just three days after the Blues' FA Cup semi-final clash with rivals
Tottenham. Conte will have to ensure his side are refreshed and ready to go
again regardless of whether they've booked a trip to Wembley. But again,
they can look back on a win over their opponents from earlier this season
Everton (a) - Sunday, 30 April - live on Sky Sports
Goodison Park is never an easy place to go and Everton boss Ronald Koeman
has a formidable group of attacking players to cause concern - not least
former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who is top scorer in the Premier
League. But the capital club hammered Everton 5-0 at Stamford Bridge in
November and will be confident of coming out on top again at the end of
Middlesbrough (h) - Monday, 8 May - live on Sky Sports
Relegation-threatened Middlesbrough could be consigned to a return to the
Championship by the time Chelsea host them at the start of May. But Conte's
side only edged a 1-0 win at the Riverside in November and it could be
another tight contest when the teams meet again. While Boro shipped four
goals to Hull City last Wednesday, their 0-0 draws with Swansea and Burnley
either side of that result were reminders of their ability to frustrate.
West Brom (a) - Saturday, 13 May
West Brom derailed Tottenham's hopes of overhauling Leicester City with a
hard-fought 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in April 2016 and they could play a
key role in the run-in this season, too. Chelsea needed a Diego Costa winner
14 minutes from time to take three points from the reverse fixture in
December and the Blues were beaten 3-0 at the Hawthorns two years ago, in
the penultimate fixture of their title-winning season.
Chelsea and Watford are still waiting for confirmation of when their
postponed fixture will take place. Given Tottenham's 4-0 thrashing of the
Hornets on Saturday, Chelsea will expect to take three points from this
match-up when it happens. But they did need two goals in the final 10
minutes of their clash in August to win 2-1 and Watford have shown with
victories over Manchester United and Arsenal this season that they are
capable of upsetting the odds.
Sunderland (h) - Sunday, 21 May
Chelsea will hope to sign off in style at Stamford Bridge against a
Sunderland side currently bottom of the Premier League. The Blues beat
Sunderland 3-1 on the final day of their 2014/15 title-winning campaign and
there is a nice element of symmetry building two years on. Conte couldn't
ask for a more favourable final fixture, should his team still need points
to secure the crown. They beat Sunderland 1-0 in December.