Costa Sends Chelsea Top  (Sky Sports)

Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 1

Diego CostaDiego Costa scored his 10th league goal of the season as Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 1-0 to move to the top of the Premier League on Sunday.

The striker reacted quickest to turn home from a corner in the 41st minute at the Riverside.

Pedro fired against the underside of the bar in the second half as Chelsea largely controlled the contest on their way to a sixth straight win and clean sheet.

The victory sends Chelsea a point clear of Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the table, and means they end a weekend at the summit for the first time since they were champions in the 2014/15 season.

While it was not as emphatic as the Blues' 5-0 drubbing of Everton, it was another resolute defensive display as they restricted Boro to few clear openings.

For the first time in the Premier League, Chelsea named the same starting line-up for a fifth game in a row, with Costa and Eden Hazard fit to start despite doubts after returning from international duty.

George Friend missed out for Boro with injury so Fabio made his first league appearance, while Gaston Ramirez came in for Stewart Downing.

Boro had held Arsenal and Manchester City to draws before the international break and they showed their resilience in the early stages while also threatening down the flanks.

The only half chances for Chelsea saw Victor Moses slash a shot wide and Marcos Alonso miss the target with an effort from distance.

But the Blues did step it up as the half wore on and Victor Valdes pulled off a fine save to deny Pedro from Moses' cut-back. Alvaro Negredo headed over at the other end in a rare opening for the hosts.

The breakthrough arrived in the 41st minute as a corner was deflected up into the air and Costa was the first to react to volley into the net.

Chelsea continued to control the game after half-time and Alonso saw a low shot saved by Valdes.

Boro spurned an opening when Ramirez missed the target from the edge of the area, before Chelsea created a couple of clear chances in quick succession.

First, Pedro fired against the underside of the bar from Costa's knock down, before Moses shot over after being slipped through on goal.

The misses kept Boro in the game but they only once tested Thibaut Courtois as Negredo controlled well and then saw a shot tipped around the post.

Otherwise, it was comfortable for Chelsea as they secured another win and clean sheet.

Player ratings

Middlesbrough: Valdes (7), Barragan (6), Chambers (6), Gibson (6), Da Silva (5), Traore (6), Forshaw (5), Clayton (5), De Roon (5), Ramirez (5), Negredo (6).

Subs: Leadbitter (5), Fischer (5), Downing (5).

Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (6), Luiz (7), Cahill (7), Moses (8), Kante (6), Matic (7), Alonso (8), Pedro (7), Costa (7), Hazard (7).

Subs: Ivanovic (5), Oscar (5), Chalobah (5).

Man of the match: Victor Moses.


Middlesbrough Valdes, Barragan, Chambers, Gibson (c), Da Silva (Downing 71), Traore, Forshaw (Leadbitter 89), Clayton (Fischer 73), de Roon, Ramirez, Negredo
Subs Not Used Bernardo, Rhodes, Guzan, Nsue
Booked Clayton, Chambers

Chelsea Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill (c), Moses (Ivanovic 90), Matic, Kante, Alonso, Pedro (Chalobah 80), Costa, Hazard (Oscar 90+2)
Subs Not Used Begovic, Terry, Fabregas, Batshuayi
Booked Azpilicueta, Luiz, Kante
Goals Costa 41

Attendance 32,704

Referee Jonathan Moss

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