Chelsea stormed to within one victory of the Premier League title with a slick 3-0 win over Middlesbrough. Here’s how we rated the players in the victory at Stamford Bridge.
Thibaut Courtois: 6
As easy a game as the Belgian has had all season. Courtois didn’t face a shot on target until the 69th minute – a tame strike that was easily saved.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8
The Spaniard did what little defending he had to do impressively and was a regular contributor at the other end. Azpilicueta consistently made an extra man in attack, used the ball effectively and laid on the second goal for Marcos Alonso.
David Luiz: 7
One wild mis-kick aside, Luiz was solid in defence. He joined in the with the attack when he could and his long-range passing was typically excellent.
Gary Cahill: 8
Dependable and confident throughout, albeit rarely tested. He almost netted with a magnificent first-time hit from the edge of the area after the break.
Victor Moses: 8
A constant menace on the flank. He got to the byline with consummate ease and kept his shape to stretch the Boro defence and free up space inside – which allowed Fabregas to dictate the tempo.
Cesc Fabregas: 9
Exceptional from the first minute. He made the absolute best of the freedom he was permitted by Boro’s need to go for broke, displaying his vision, style and full passing range. Fabregas teed up the first goal and also laid on the third goal for Nemanja Matic, as well as setting up countless other attacks.
Nemanja Matic: 8
The Serbian took his goal with great composure to cap a brilliant performance. Showed his nous by deferring to Fabregas’ greater creativity, creating space with a busier display than would normally be the case playing alongside N’Golo Kante. He was effective in possession and a willing runner – a far cry from the one-paced performances that were way too prevalent last season.
Marcos Alonso: 8
Outstanding, and could easily have ended with a hat-trick. He nearly opened the scoring within two minutes, scored from a similar position and then dragged a shot across goal after the break. His ability and smart use of the ball stood out.
Almost scored with a fizzing strike early in the second half and was bright, energetic and threatening throughout. Pedro was excellent once again, as he was in the brilliant win at Everton.
Eden Hazard: 7
Flitted in and out with great effect, but was not at the peak of his powers. He still made numerous chances, showed some classy touches and more than played his part in a fine team performance.
Diego Costa: 6
Costa took his goal well after making an astute run, but was otherwise a little bit aimless with ball at feet. He often surged goalwards with his head down and his control was not up to scratch. Costa’s work-rate was excellent, but otherwise it was a slightly frustrating evening for the striker, despite him bagging his 20th Premier League goal of the season.
Generally neat and tidy in his 20 minutes, but the game was well and truly won by the time he came on.