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Boro's fate is all but sealed


Middlesbrough's relegation official despite Adam Clayton's best efforts

Middlesbrough finally succumbed to relegation with a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening. The northeast club were simply outclassed and overshadowed in all areas of the park and the performance will hold up as indicative of the season as a whole -- forgettable, lamentable and, at times, spineless.

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Boro fans were in fine voice on an evening when their team went down and Chelsea further extended their lead at the top of the table. The introduction of Patrick Bamford, a striker formerly on Chelsea's books, breathed some life into Boro's attacking options but to little effect in the end.


The gulf in quality between the two sides was stark from the start, and Chelsea wasted no time in attacking Boro's goal. The Teessiders were completely overcome in the middle of the park and Chelsea easily strolled to the 3-0 victory on one of their least challenging games this season.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Stand-in boss Steve Agnew put forward one of the stronger lineups available to him. Starting with Adama Traore on the right was a gamble that didn't pay off, as the pacy winger was double-marked by his counterparts in blue.

Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Brad Guzan, 4 -- Guzan's goal was peppered from the off as Chelsea set the tone. Defensive mistakes were unhelpful, but it's an unavoidable fact that all three goals spilled in through the American's legs.

DF George Friend, 4 -- A cumbersome night for Friend, who struggled to match the pace of Victor Moses.

DF Calum Chambers, 6 -- The Arsenal loanee has played some good football since recovering from injury and overcompensated well for a flagging Fabio.

DF Ben Gibson, 6 -- Gibson put in a typically hard-grafting performance and was a major factor in the 3-0 scoreline actually flattering Boro.

DF Fabio, 3 -- An evening to forget for the Brazilian, who was hung out to dry by Traore and who gifted Chelsea the freedom of their left wing.

Adam Clayton played well for Boro but got precious little help from his midfield teammates.

MF Adam Clayton, 7 -- Boro's best player this evening, Clayton was the only shining light in a failing midfield with his trademark tough tackling and passing making a difference.

MF Marten de Roon, 5 -- The away side found it difficult to have any say in a midfield battle that was completely dominated by Chelsea -- in particular, Cesc Fabregas. De Roon was a prime example of this, and didn't register much impact on the match.

MF Adam Forshaw, 3 -- Forshaw was completely anonymous tonight and brought nothing to the table.

MF Stewart Downing, 4 -- Had little chance to get creative and balls into the box were lacking in quality.

MF Adama Traore, 3 -- A typically disappointing show from Traore, whose lack of awareness caused more problems for Boro than it did Chelsea.

FW Alvaro Negredo, 4 -- Never stopped running and pressing but suffered from a lack of supply, as he has done all season.


MF Patrick Bamford, 5 -- Bamford brought fresh legs and a few fresh ideas to the second half.

MF Grant Leadbitter, 4 -- Midfield talisman Leadbitter wasn't the man to make a difference against a greatly superior midfield.

FW Rudy Gestede, NR -- There was little chance for Gestede to have a say in a game that was done and dusted.

Catherine Wilson ESPN FC's Middlesbrough blogger. You can follow her on Twitter: @Basslady


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