Barcelona graduate Adama Traore troubled Chelsea with his pace and power - completing more successful Premier League dribbles than any player since 2011 - but was regularly let down by poor end product.
MF Nemanja Matic, 8 - Back to the imperious form that saw him win plaudits when he returned to Chelsea, Matic provides a steely shield for the three-man defence behind him and isn't shy about getting forward when the opportunity presents itself.
Watch highlights as Diego Costa's 10th goal of the season sent Chelsea to the top of the Premier League table with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
Chelsea's leading top scorer Diego Costa has managed to score the one and only goal of the match as well as his tenth of the season.
Costa, 28, lags just behind the Argentine striker, with a goal every 106 minutes.
"He's always a point of reference for his team-mates. We have to continue with trust and with our fans".
"Is he focused just on his football?".
Costa will hope to make it four goals in four matches when Chelsea host Tottenham on Saturday (5.30pm).
Having won their last six games without conceding a goal, they are one point clear of both Liverpool and Manchester City, although Conte feels it is far too early to be talking about their title-winning credentials. I think he's fantastic.
"We should not forget that we were in a bad situation after we lost to Liverpool and Arsenal six weeks ago".
The days when such numbers could clinch the title may be over - Liverpool were champions with 14 first-teamers under Bill Shankly and Forest used 16 to win it under Brian Clough - but they do suggest that familiarity may be an overlooked component in a successful team. I'm delighted to be in the first 11. I guess (it is because we faced) a strong team with good organisation. But when I see these players work in this way, I'm pleased.
Antonio Conte has said that he believes that his team are ready for the busy Christmas schedule.
"It's a tough game when you play here (Middlesbrough), everyone knows, so we are happy because we did a great job, especially on the defensive side".
"Also [it is important] to have good technique, good talent, but if you link these two things [with good fitness], for me it's important". If you link the two, it's important. I think we are working very well, but if you ask me what is our target now, I repeat it is very hard to tell you this.
Karanka, whose men remain just a point above the drop zone, said: "Playing against teams like Chelsea, we knew that it was going to be a really, really tough game, but once again we showed everybody that we can compete against the best teams in the league and once again, one mistake punished us".