In a forgettable match at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 1-0 courtesy of an early goal from Ricardo Carvalho, gaining three points to keep the pressure on in the chase for the Premier League title.

With a performance many will be hoping isn’t repeated away in Turkey next week, Avram Grants’ men were out of sorts and out of ideas, gave the ball away far too cheaply and ended up hanging on in the final 20 minutes to a Boro side with their tails up.

In truth we could have drawn or even lost this match had Boro’s strikers not squandered their chances – the woodwork keeping them out on no less than three separate occasions.

Chelsea too had chances, with Shaun Wright-Phillips getting three in quick succession after coming on as substitute, however he couldn’t keep the ball on target and much like the rest of the Chelsea team, rarely tested the keeper.

That we won won’t mask the obvious truth laid bare in this match, that we were poor, and there is much work still to do. We’re still in the title race but will need to be so much better than this in the coming weeks if we’re to stand any chance of bringing either of the two big pots home.

Chelsea (4-3-3) Cudicini; Belletti; Carvalho, Terry (c), Bridge; Essien, Mikel, Ballack (Wright-Phillips 64); J Cole, Drogba (Alex 89), Kalou (Anelka 77).

Discuss this match and its impact on the title race in our match day forums: Chelsea 1 – Middlesbrough 0.

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