Perhaps a little too soon for Rafa Benitez's liking, Chelsea returned to action just three days after an examination at the Etihad Stadium.
Benitez made a significant number of changes to his side in an effort to keep his players fresh, bringing in Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Ryan Bertrand and teenager, Nathan Ake.
The Blues started on the front foot, but Boro felt their way into the game and started carving out chances of their own after 15 minutes.
In fact, by the half-time whistle—when the scoreline remained 0-0—the Championship side looked the more likely side to break the deadlock.
But Chelsea, like at Elland Road in the Capital One Cup, really turned it on in the second half.
Boro failed to clear the ball after Oscar zipped in a beautiful cross from the right-hand byline, and the ball fell to Ramires outside the box.
He had time to pick his spot and curled an effort toward Jason Steele's top-left corner, but it nicked off Fernando Torres on the way, and the two will squabble over who gets credit.
Undeterred, Boro continued to pass it around and probe for an avenue. Only John Terry's superb positional sense denied the opposition several surging runs into dangerous areas in and around the penalty area.
As both sides fought hard to maintain an element of control; it was a moment of pure genius that sealed the result for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard—subbed on for Benayoun no more than 10 minutes previous—drifted in off the left and ran at the defence. He played a quick one-two with Oscar on the edge of the box, who flicked it back into the Belgian's path, and the £32 million man squared it for Victor Moses' easiest ever goal.
A wonderful team move.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!