Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 5: Belletti is hot shot as Chelsea use Boro for target practice - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 5: Belletti is hot shot as Chelsea use Boro for target practice

Middlesbrough managed to upstage Chelsea yesterday but they did so by being an embarrassment. In conceding five goals in just over an hour, four in 16 second-half minutes, Boro at times displayed a lack of the basic competitive spirit. The players and their manager, Gareth Southgate, were rightly harangued by Teesside's faithful. This was as joyless as the bitter times under Steve McClaren, and Southgate described it as "a humiliation. It might have been eight".



He got that right. Inevitably there was a rush to acclaim Chelsea and see this as symbolic of a title charge but this was as much a walkover as a knockout. Luiz Felipe Scolari again placed Juliano Belletti alongside Frank Lampard in midfield, and the Brazilian responded with a 30-yarder after 51 minutes that resembled Alex's strike from the same position here last year.

Belletti has scored the winner in a European Cup final for Barcelona so this was small beer for him, but it was one of two memorable goals from Chelsea. Lampard's header 12 minutes later was another. It is six games now since Chelsea conceded a goal, and that was to Manchester United.

For Boro, it was a day they may struggle to forget. "A very humbling experience," said Southgate, who heard the jeers of the main stand as he stood on the touchline. "They're in a different league to us but we made bad mistakes, we were edgy in possession and didn't look like we had belief. We were like rabbits caught in the headlights."

From the off, nothing felt right. Not enough people turned up on time for a start. The Riverside ached with empty seats, and though many of those were filled gradually, a placid tone had been set. With warm autumn sunshine flowing, this was the opposite of hostile.

Chelsea settled in. Some native aggression, allied to injuries and the international break, should have been a recipe for an upset, but the first ingredient was missing and Boro have only themselves to blame for that.

In fielding John Obi Mikel in front of a back four featuring a restored John Terry, Scolari may have been anticipating early home pressure. It did not materialise. A team does not need to be dirty to be physical but even in those first important minutes, Middlesbrough allowed Chelsea's players the room to pass. The League leaders are not bad at this.

With Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou fluid movers on the flanks and Lampard directing in midfield, the visitors found their rhythm quickly. It was only 14 minutes before the lead was taken. Belletti began the move with a sweeping pass to the overlapping Wayne Bridge. His deep cross was not dealt with by David Wheater and Belletti's subsequent shot hit Wheater and Gary O'Neil. Kalou pounced to snap the ball in from seven yards. Ross Turnbull had no chance.

Somehow it was only 1-0 at half-time though Lampard's miss from four yards in the 24th minute accounted for that. Carlo Cudicini made no real saves in either half. Boro required rousing but less than two minutes after the interval Malouda was clean through on Turnbull only to squander the opening. No matter. Four minutes on and Malouda eased a pass to Belletti. Unchallenged, Belletti teed up himself and let rip a screamer that hit the top corner. What semblance of a contest existed evaporated at that.

Two minutes later, a Kalou shot deflected off Wheater to make it three and then Lampard ran onto a delicious chip from Kalou to guide a header – again unchallenged – into the corner again. It was a rout completed after 67 minutes when Turnbull fluffed a drive from Nicolas Anelka and Malouda slid in to score the rebound.

Did it send out a message to the rest, Scolari was asked. "No, to me," he replied. "We have to improve."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week