Diego Costa has returned to form since Guus Hiddink was appointed manager

By Emma Sanders

Football Insider analyses three talking points from Chelsea’s 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough in their latest Premier League encounter at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday evening.

Chelsea are favourites to win the Premier League

The Blues’ 1-0 victory ensured they moved above Liverpool to take the top spot in the Premier League table and they now have to be considered favourites to lift the title. Chelsea dominated for large periods of the game and though Middlesbrough defended with solidity, the Blues were able to find the breakthrough and continue their wining streak. Unlike Liverpool, who struggled to breakdown Southampton’s defence, Chelsea were able to grind out a win and seem to have all the attributes of a title-winning side.

Victor Valdes still hasn’t lost it

The former Barcelona keeper was a shrewd signing for Middlesbrough this summer after he joined from Manchester United and he certainly impacted the game against Chelsea. The keeper kept Boro in the game for most of the first-half despite a period of dominance from Chelsea and he produced a sensational save from Pedro’s strike. He was certainly one of the outstanding performers for Middlesbrough, in a game when their defense held firm for most parts of the game against a highly threatening Chelsea attack.

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Diego Costa is the deadliest striker in the league

The 28-year-old scored his 10th goal of the 2016-17 Premier League campaign after 40 minutes and ensured his side went into the break with a 1-0 lead. The striker has been in sensational form this season and has now scored in three successive league games and is one of the main reasons why Chelsea have been able to climb to the top of the table. He barely had a look-in during the first half but was the first to react as the ball became free in a scrabble in the Middlesbrough six-yard box and he fired home past Victor Valdes. He is the best in his position in the league could be the difference between winning the title or not.

In other Chelsea news, Paul Merson gives his verdict on these two Stamford Bridge stars.