Chelsea is the most in-form team in the Premier League, with a 16-0 goalscoring margin over their last five margins. They now face Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium following the international break, live on NBCSN at 11 a.m. ET, or live online at NBCSports.com.
Aitor Karanka said before the match he will look to play Boro’s typically defensive style, and that Chelsea may have eviscerated attacking-minded clubs, but that he believes Middlesbrough can get a result by concentrating on team shape.
For the Blues, there are no injury problems, leaving Antonio Conte to select from his full squad. Diego Costa starts up front in the center of attack, having scored nine goals in 11 matches to lead the Premier League. Conte sticks with his typical 3CB system, leaving Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry on the bench as Marco Alonso and Victor Moses are charged with wing-back duties. Cesc Fabregas also rides the bench yet again.
Middlesbrough will be without defender George Friend who suffered an injury in training, forcing Karanka to bring Fabio in for his full Boro debut. It’s the first Premier League appearance in over two years for the former Manchester United full-back. Meanwhile, Gaston Ramirez is back after his one-match suspension.
Middlesbrough: Valdes, Barragan, Chambers, Gibson, Da Silva, Traore, Forshaw, Clayton, De Roon, Ramirez, Negredo.
Subs: Guzan, Espinosa, Fischer, Nsue, Leadbitter, Downing, Rhodes.