Diego Costa’s goal enough to place Chelsea on top of the league
Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League table after defeating Middlesbrough 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium.
Diego Costa’s first-half goal was enough to take the Blues across the line, in a game which really could have gone either way.
After winning the past five games in style, you would have perhaps thought we would be quick out of the blocks today. That was, however, not the case and it took us a little while to get going.
The first twenty minutes were all Middlesbrough. Gaston Ramirez and Adama Traore both threatened, but the back-three held their ground and we survived the early pressure.
As the first-half went on, Chelsea grew into the game. We started moving the ball faster and Eden Hazard began to get more involved. It was Hazard who played a key role in the creation of our first opportunity of the game. The Belgian played a beautiful over-the-top pass to Victor Moses, who smartly cut the ball back to Pedro as he arrived into the Boro penalty area. Pedro couldn’t have done much more, but his side-footed effort was remarkably tipped over the bar by Victor Valdes. It was an astonishing save from the former Barcelona man.
We did, eventually, find the breakthrough through Diego Costa – who else?
As the ball spun up in the air in the penalty area, the home side’s defenders watched the ball fall to the ground, but Costa wanted it the most. The Spaniard ensured that he was first to it, prodding home from close range with his left-foot. It was Costa’s tenth Premier League goal of the season, and we’re only in November.
The remainder of the first-half was spent with Boro holding on to their hats. A Chelsea onslaught, but no more goals. The tides turned at the break, though, once again Middlesbrough were the fast starters. Just like the first-half, however, they didn’t test Thibaut Courtois. The best opportunity fell to Ramirez, but he blazed over the crossbar.
Chelsea went up the other end of the field and almost killed the game through Pedro. David Luiz played a perfectly executed ball into the penalty area, which was nodded down by Costa into the path of Pedro. He side-footed it with some power, but it cannoned off the Boro crossbar and clear of the goal. It really wasn’t Pedro’s game, he could have had a hat-trick.
Courtois made his first save of the game last in the second half. Negredo audaciously controlled Traore’s pass with his heel before firing the ball into the ground and towards goal. Our big Belgian was, thankfully, equal to it.
David Luiz came closest to finding a second and subsequently killing the game. After Hazard fell under the challenge of Ramirez, Luiz stepped up to take the free-kick, but his effort was just wide of the post.
Another win and another clean-sheet made it six on the bounce, an real purple patch for us – long may it continue. It’s a great feeling finishing the weekend at the top of the league, let’s hope that we can stay there.