The Spain international is making only his 11th start of the season in the English top flight and will line up alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield.
Kante has been struggling with a knock but David Luiz is fit to play despite being replaced by Nathan Ake after being hurt in the victory over Everton last weekend.
Otherwise the Blues line up as usual, with Pedro picked over Willian and Thibaut Courtois continuing to play through an ankle problem.
Middlesbrough opt for a 4-3-3 formation with Adama Traore and Stewart Downing flanking lone striker Alvaro Negredo.
Arsenal loanee Calum Chambers starts at centre-back, while ex-Chelsea youngster Patrick Bamford is included among caretaker boss Steve Agnew's substitutes.
Following Tottenham's defeat to West Ham on Friday night, Antonio Conte's side are two wins away from winning the Premier League title.
They can go seven points clear with three games remaining by winning against 19th-place Boro, who will be relegated if they do not at least secure a draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.
Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Ake, Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Willian.
Middlesbrough: Guzan; Fabio, Chambers, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Traore, Negredo, Downing.
Subs: Konstantopoulos, Barragan, Bernardo, Leadbitter, Guedioura, Gestede, Bamford.