Single Diego Costa goal enough to send Chelsea top

A first half Diego Costa goal was enough to give Chelsea a win at Middlesbrough on Sunday, a result which sends them to the top of the table.


The Blues travelled to the Riverside Stadium on the back of five straight wins, but faced a home side who have shown they are capable of mixing it back in the top-flight having taken points off both Arsenal and Manchester City. However, Aitor Karanka’s men were unable to repeat such heroics against Costa and his pals.

The Spain international, like many of his team-mates, struggled to find anything like his best form last season, but his goal on Sunday was his tenth of the campaign. And it was an important once in terms of the early standings in the Premier League, with Antonio Conte’s side leapfrogging Liverpool and City into pole position.

“I knew this game would be difficult because this team is well organised and they are in good form,” Conte told the BBC following this latest victory. “But we deserved to win because we scored the goal and created many chances for a second goal. We didn’t concede and stopped any opportunity for them to score.”

Like Arsenal, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Manchester United, Liverpool also dropped points on Saturday when Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to break down Southampton at St Mary’s. There was drama at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham Hotspur came from 2-1 down to beat West Ham United 3-2 thanks to two late Harry Kane goals.

Sunderland recorded a 3-0 win over Hull City at the Stadium of Light to move off the bottom of the table, a position now occupied by Swansea City despite a creditable 1-1 draw at Everton. Leicester City’s woes continued as they slumped to a sixth loss of the season, this time at Watford, and Bournemouth moved into the top-half of the table courtesy of a 1-0 win against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

The other match on Saturday marked the surprise return of Yaya Toure. The Ivorian had been overlooked by Manchester City as Pep Guardiola awaited an apology for comments made by the midfielder’s agent earlier in the season, but the midfielder was back in the line-up to score both goals in a 2-1 triumph at struggling Crystal Palace.

“I was prepared mentally and I knew that one day my manager would need me,” said the 33-year-old. “I am very happy to be playing football. My team-mates are very important to me. They have always been brilliant with me, always supportive. I always want to be there to help them. I am professional, I always want to improve my game.”

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