Chelsea claims Premier League lead after beating Middlesbrough

Author : acclimature1989
Publish Date : 2021-04-07 14:16:32


Chelsea claims Premier League lead after beating Middlesbrough

A back line of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci became one of the stingiest in Europe and dominated in Italy.

Having moved to England's Premier League after Italy's quarterfinal exit at Euro 2016, his new club Chelsea started this campaign with just one clean sheet in its opening six games, culminating in a 3-0 humiliation against Arsenal at the Emirates.

Those half-dozen matches were played with four defenders -- then came the switch.



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Conte's decision to revert back to his preferred three-man defense has worked wonders, with the Blues beating Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunday to make it six consecutive Premier League victories without conceding a goal.

'It was a good performance against a team that is very strong,' Conte told Sky Sports after his team went a point clear of Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table. 'Don't forget they drew with City and Arsenal and for this reason I'm pleased with the attitude of the players.

'This is the sixth game in a row that we don't concede and we showed it (the system) is good for us.'

Read: Giroud earns Arsenal late draw again Man United, Toure return inspires Man City

Middlesbrough also entered Sunday's game in buoyant mood, despite being only just above the relegation zone, having been undefeated in three matches including those draws against title challengers Manchester City and Arsenal.

While Chelsea lacked the usual attacking verve that has made it joint second highest scorer in the Premier League, Pedro nonetheless should have put the game beyond doubt.

Only a world-class save from former Barcelona teammate Victor Valdes kept him at bay in the first half, before he saw a late strike crash against the underside of the crossbar.

'When you create many chances to score you need the goals, because you can get to the end and you doubt (the result),' Conte added.

'At a corner or cross anything can happen in the Premier League.'

Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez was Boro's focal point, regularly shifting positions and orchestrating play from all over the pitch.

Read: Cristiano Ronaldo hits hat-trick as Real beats Atletico in Madrid Derby

Barcelona graduate Adama Traore troubled Chelsea with his pace and power -- completing more successful Premier League dribbles than any player since 2011 -- but was regularly let down by poor end product.

With Middlesbrough's defense looking impenetrable in the early stages, it took a lack of concentration from a set piece for the visitors to break the deadlock.

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Eden Hazard's corner hit a group of Boro defenders, before ricocheting into the air and Diego Costa reacted faster than five gawping red shirts to prod the ball home.

It was the Spaniard's 10th league goal this season, two more than closest rival Sergio Aguero of Manchester City.

Visit cnn.com/football for more news and videos

And there was a good omen for Chelsea to finish on: This was the first time it ended a weekend top of the Premier League since being crowned champion in 2014-15.

Could this be Conte's year?

Only a world-class save from former Barcelona teammate Victor Valdes kept him at bay in the first half, before he saw a late strike crash against the underside of the crossbar. Barcelona graduate Adama Traore troubled Chelsea with his pace and power -- completing more successful Premier League dribbles than any player since 2011 -- but was regularly let down by poor end product. A back line of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci became one of the stingiest in Europe and dominated in Italy. Visit cnn.com/football for more news and videos Eden Hazard's corner hit a group of Boro defenders, before ricocheting into the air and Diego Costa reacted faster than five gawping red shirts to prod the ball home. Read: Cristiano Ronaldo hits hat-trick as Real beats Atletico in Madrid Derby Barcelona graduate Adama Traore troubled Chelsea with his pace and power -- completing more successful Premier League dribbles than any player since 2011 -- but was regularly let down by poor end product. Conte's decision to revert back to his preferred three-man defense has worked wonders, with the Blues beating Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunday to make it six consecutive Premier League victories without conceding a goal. Those half-dozen matches were played with four defenders -- then came the switch. Have your say on our Facebook page With Middlesbrough's defense looking impenetrable in the early stages, it took a lack of concentration from a set piece for the visitors to break the deadlock. With Middlesbrough's defense looking impenetrable in the early stages, it took a lack of concentration from a set piece for the visitors to break the deadlock. Barcelona graduate Adama Traore troubled Chelsea with his pace and power -- completing more successful Premier League dribbles than any player since 2011 -- but was regularly let down by poor end product. Middlesbrough also entered Sunday's game in buoyant mood, despite being only just above the relegation zone, having been undefeated in three matches including those draws against title challengers Manchester City and Arsenal.

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