Diego Costa sends Chelsea to top of Premier League
Diego Costa Rocketed Antonio Conte’s side to the top of the England Premier League as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win away to Middlesbrough.
It was Costa’s 10th league goal of the season as he reacted fast to turn home from a corner in the 41st minute at the Riverside.
Chelsea dominated most of the match and had other chances to add more goals to their tally, but Pedro was unlucky to hit the underside of the bar in the second half.
It was also a sixth straight win and clean sheet for Chelsea.
Chelsea are now 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.
Middlesbrough have now lost their last six Premier League games against Chelsea, failing to score in each match.
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 the distance.
The Blues increased their pressure and were rewarded in the 41st minute as a corner was deflected up into the air and Costa was quick to react to volley into the net.
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 entering the area unhindered.
The misses kept Boro in the game but they never really came close to scoring.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte celebrates the victory over Middlesbrough Photo: AP