Capping a remarkable turn-around in their fortunes of late, Chelsea overtook Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
- Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 1
- Hosts produce few chances
- Costa scores the winner
- Blues in complete control
While the Boro did manage to produce 12 shots at goal during the match, most of them were from long range and only one of them was on the target, while Chelsea's forward movements were much more threatening throughout.
In the end, Diego Costa's 10th goal of the season, in the 41st minute, was all the Blues needed to secure the win and top spot in the English top flight.
Middlesbrough's plan was clear from the onset and they bombed a long ball forward just about every time they got the feet on the ball, obviously in a bid to negate Chelsea's on-song midfield.
It worked, to a fashion. While the Blues were unable to muster anything too threatening early on, it did also mean Boro had very little possession to work with.
However, some cracks began to appear in the home side's back line and Eden Hazard was able to slip a neat ball between two defenders for Victor Moses, who dragged his shot wide.
Boro then nearly undid themselves when Victor Valdes had to rush out of his box to clear a poor back pass. The clearance fell to Marcos Alonso, who had a cheeky go from 40-yards out at the empty net, but he couldn't hit the target.
The visitors continued to pressure and were denied the lead by a brilliant Valdes save. Moses burst down the right before pulling it back for Pedro, who took it first time, but was Valdes made the diving stop.
They eventually found the breakthrough in the 41st minute when Costa was the quickest to react to a deflected corner and got to the ball first to volley Chelsea into the lead.
The Blues should have extended their after half time with Alonso forcing another smart save out of Valdes, before Pedro hit a thunderbolt of a shot into the crossbar.
Boro's best chance of the game fell to Gaston Ramirez. After Alvaro Negredo put in an excellent challenge to win the ball back for his team and the ball made its way to Ramirez on the edge of the box, but he sent his shot inches over the bar.
On the balance of play, Chelsea fully deserved their win and, on current form, their place at the top of the Premier League Standings.
The Blues are still yet to concede a league goal since manager Antonio Conte famously changed their formation and they are looking a very dangerous outfit at the moment.