Chelsea Dagger: Sharp Costa Kills Off Blunt Boro


SO, THAT’S the third clash with red hot title contenders in four games and while Boro never managed to bank a point from this one there were still positives. Boro rode their luck at times but battled bravely to contain Chelsea and stay in the game only to be punished from a set-play just before the break as otherwise quiet ‘argument in an empty room’ merchant Diego Costa showed deadly predatory skills after Boro switched off.

In the second half Boro pressed up more, applied a lot of admittedly scrappy pressure and created a couple of half chances to no avail – but it is telling that both players and supporters came away disappointed not to have got something.


But the team continues to develop, grow into the pace and intensity of the league and they are learning fast. To lose 1-0 to Chelsea is disappointing but not a disgrace and if they can maintain the steady rise performance levels in the bread-and-butter games then Boro will stay ahead of the hot spots.

Here’s my colour bit saying all that in more length and detail. 

Here’s my player ratings from the match. Having watched the game back again, maybe they are a bit harsh on Fabio who was generally comfortable on the ball in his first league start this season and wasn’t always helped out by Ramirez in front of him – although Moses did still have a postcode of space to operate freely in the left-back slot.

And here’s Aitor’s assessment… “almost perfect.” 

Chelsea have been awesome since switching to a 343 – five wins on the spin with an aggregate score of 16-0 – and it is a very effective system…  but there are chinks in the armour that can be exploited. I did a bit earlier in the week you should read looking at Chelsea’s tactical tweak and how Boro can counter it. And I think Aitor did well to contain the most potent elements of Chelsea’s attack and still offer something going forward.



216 thoughts on “Chelsea Dagger: Sharp Costa Kills Off Blunt Boro

  1. GHW

    Totally approve over mental health issues but Xmas? There are bigger concerns than who brings the presents.

    Some children wont get any and that is a far bigger problem.

    1. This is the point. In the “naughty or nice” stakes if a child doesn’t get what it wants then they must not deserve it. This leads to families going in to debt.

      1. Av u seen the Harry Porter scene GW? The one where his adoptive parents lavish loads of prezzies on their lickle darling son, whilst Harry doesn’t get so much as a mini candle in a cup cake?
        Well, the only thing the fat kid suffers from is being spoilt, whilst Harry, being a smart kid, just shrugs his shoulders and retires to his haven of peace and tranquility under the stairs.

        What’s yer point Spartak? Well, glad you asked. Take it from me that getting or receiving prezzies at anytime does not result in ‘mental health issues’ per se. Mental health has to do with a set of genetic, internal psychological and sociological variables that when in their most toxic of states triggers a mental health episode.

        So one person given the same situation would be nonchalent, the other has a meltdown. I heard it said that latent mental health issues can be carried around for a lifetime but due to not being exposed to the trigger setting nothing happens. Conversely, a person without the LMHI can be exposed to great stress and come out of it relatively unharmed.

        A conclusion could be suggested that MHI is subject to a broad almost indeterminate range of triggers (some being more frequent than others). Whilst, with at risk professions i.e. armed forces service at times of war, people could be tested to determine their LMHI risk factor and screened accordingly.

        Just sayin like 🙂

  2. About the match at Leicester, lucky for us that their leading midfielder is missing, do we play with our defence firmly in place? Or do we go for gold and attack full on, hmm, difficult, is it not? On good win, especially away, would put us on the road to boring midtable, which would be nice. So, it’s make your mind up time. Lets see what happens.

    1. Good thiughts, Plato!

      My tuppence worth is full on defence for 70mins with occasionl break aways, Negredo wandering around aimlessly. Then, with 20 mins remaining Leadbelter is introduced with instructions to wack a 30-40 yard sreaming thus stealing 3 points and elevating AK to the status of ×10 Ancient Greek Apollo’s no less. Other than that a point is as good as a win will prevail. I don’t want to think of the other alternatives.


  3. The problem with Leicester is that they want you to attack, we are not obliged to be gung ho and give them the space to attack us.

  4. Just like that, let the opposition do the attacking then break forward at pace.

    In the build up to the Baggies against Burnley match there were sundry statistics bandied about. Both clubs averaged under 40% possession, neither achieved over 50% in any match, 23% of passes were of the long variety, pass completion around the 70% mark.

    Afterwards Dyche did make the comment that they had attacked too much, the problem I suppose was the fact they conceded so early.

    So in all our navel gazing there is a common problem, teams near the bottom often don’t see much of the ball, in part because the teams above have better players.

    The solution for us is to stay up and invest wisely.

    1. Ian

      If Lawro says we lose we must be doing something right. I think that Leicester will find it difficult to turn on the tap and instantly start collecting points like a drunken sailor. Winning any match isn’t easy, and hopefully we will be our annoying selves. As usual The dreaded Vardy will be the problem, I have never seen anyone get so many penalties, and I might say, they are all earned honestly. His speed is so blinding that the poor old defenders behave like Pavlovs dogs, that is instinctively, with a big lunge, so that even the most craven refs blow that whistle, and another keeper bites the dust.
      If Vardy took his own penalties he would have some total by now.

    1. Nigel
      The guardian have as much interest in Boro or even football, as I have in Ballet. That team will have been put up as a possible by a miss Arianna Ponsonby from the fashion section, and she will have phoned her cousin in Poland for advice. the Downing thing will be a simple typo, the result of his mate telling him to down his pint whilst he was on the phone.

  5. Plato

    There are some football fans in the Grauniad but they will be the Chelsea set or Islington socialists.

    The team will have been based on our games against the London Luvvies.

    Wonder if the managed to get the spelling right?

  6. You seem to be forgetting about Guardian NE football correspondent Louise Taylor – who I find always seems well informed and writes intelligently about football – plus it’s also rumoured that she reads this blog.

    BTW Ian the Grauniad joke is now probably 30 years out of date – apparently it originates from the time it was the Manchester Guardian and it was under pressure to go to press earlier to catch the train to London in time for paper reviews, therefore it that still had quite a few typos that hadn’t been spotted by proof readers – which became the Grauniad joke thanks to Private Eye.

    I think back in those days it supported the Liberal Party, which also made it a bit of a target for the London-based media too.

  7. I should add that Rob Smyth’s “On Second Thoughts” columns in The Guardian are fantastic. They actually inspired my own Appreciation series.

  8. Werder

    The old ones are the best and the joke dates back to the very early seventies. At Uni we didn’t know it was a joke, we just thought that when they did an annual collection of stories they called it an anagram rather than anthology.

    I also poke fun at The Torygraphs coverage of the Boro though it looks like we are becoming a little bit more fashionable. Henry Winter always had a good word for us but is now at The Times

    Louise Taylor is a very good journalist though I believe she may have been one of Schteve’s favourites as was George Caulkin.

    Other journalists and publications are available.

    My choice of a left wing rag like The Torygraph is because over the years, wherever I lived you stood a chance of reading about the Boro.

  9. The Guardian did make an interesting intervention on Negredo today.

    “Karanka’s bewildering persistence with Negredo”

    “Karanka, whose side face Leicester City on Saturday, recently came out in defence of his compatriot, who has failed to find the net in 11 consecutive matches and looked woeful against Chelsea, where his obvious lack of speed and mobility came in for criticism.”

    Woeful seems a bit of an exaggeration!

    I don’t fancy our chances at all tomorrow – not based on us, but on the fact Leicester’s bad run surely can’t continue. If they lost tomorrow they’d be right in the relegation mix. My first away game of the season as well so we are bound to lose…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s