Chelsea moved to within one win of the Premier League title and confirmed Middlesbrough’s relegation with a consummate performance and emphatic victory at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s side can become champions with victory against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Friday night while Middlesbrough must contemplate a future back in the Championship after they were swept aside on Monday.
The Blues had already created a succession of chances before Diego Costa turned in man of the match Cesc Fabregas’ pass after 23 minutes.
And the contest was effectively over when Marcos Alonso scored at the far post via the legs of Middlesbrough keeper Brad Guzan 11 minutes before the break.
Fabregas created Chelsea’s third which Nemanja Matic converted as the hosts laid siege to Boro’s goal, with the final whistle bringing contrasting emotions.
Chelsea will be crowned champions if they are able to win at West Brom on Friday, while Boro drop back to the Championship after a single season’s stay in the top flight.
A crushing triumph extends the Blues’ series of successes against Boro to seven without conceding a single goal, as Steve Agnew’s side were unable to cope with the quality of the champions-elect.
Tottenham’s loss at West Ham on Friday opened the door to Chelsea and their coronation as champions is now imminent, with Conte even able to give captain John Terry a cameo from the bench – to a rapturous reception – as he nears his departure from the club.