Chelsea relegated Middlesbrough with goals from Diego Costa, Marcus Alonso and Nemanja Matic, taking them seven points clear of Spurs and within reaching distance of their fifth Premier League.

Provided the Blues beat West Brom next Friday, they will win the league before Spurs even get on the pitch again, after the Lillywhites slipped up to West Ham last Friday.

Middlesbrough booked their place in the 2017-18 Championship season after getting walked over: they now sit seven points behind Swansea with two games to go.

N’Golo Kante’s absence was not missed as Cesc Fabregas put in a commanding performance for the Blues in the midfield, creating Chelsea’s first and last goals, although he was only officially credited with one assist.

Chelsea’s first came courtesy of the man-of-the-match as Fabregas curled a flat cross behind right-back Fabio, whose outstretched toes couldn’t prevent Costa controlling the ball and slotting it between Brad Guzan’s legs.

Azpilicueta mimicked his compatriot Fabregas minutes later when he collected the ball centrally before curling a cross in behind Boro’s right side to Alonso, who hammered the ball against the inside of Guzan’s leg from a tight angle and into the net.

Matic’s first goal at Stamford Bridge involved the regular sight of a decisive pass from Fabregas and the sight of the ball flying between Guzan’s akimbo legs, as the Serbian chested down a delicate chipped ball from the outside of the Spaniard’s boot and drilled the ball home through the American for a hat-trick of nutmegs.

It was 3-0 on the night and the Blues now have the chance to be crowned champions this coming Friday.