Aitor Karanka's men picked up where they left off before the international break with an efficient and fairly straighforward 2-1 away win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Boro are now unbeaten in seven and have moved up to third in the Football Championship.
Unfortunately, none of the Chelsea trio on loan featured in this one. Patrick Bamford and Jamal Blackman were unused substitutes while Kenneth Omeruo's involvement with Nigeria on the Wednesday prior meant that he wasn't even in the matchday squad on Saturday. Incidentally, Omeruo and Nigeria (and Mikel) finally won a game, although the young defender has come under a bit of criticism lately for his performances for the national team.
Jake's got you covered with a more in-depth Vitesse update, which does feature a lovely goal from Bertrand Traoré.
Over at the annex, Stipe Perica served the first of his now four-match suspension (additional match tacked on because he was a repeat offender) as NAC Breda continued their bad form with a 1-1 draw against 10-men ADO Den Haag. During the break, NAC even fired their manager, so there's plenty of turmoil there at the moment.
Wulfert Cornelius Marco van Ginkel is back in training and was even back on the bench for AC Milan as they won 3-1 in fair Verona. Fernando Torres played 69 scoreless minutes. And since he wasn't involved with the Spanish national team, he found plenty of time for snide remarks about his previous coaches and managers who "weren't champions" like Pippo Inzaghi or Luis Aragones. All I'm going to say about that is that I hope there's no forced-recall clause in this two-year loan deal that could be activated by AC Milan.
Tomáš Kalas made it to the bench for a change, but that's as far as he got as 1.FC Köln pulled off a rather excellent 2-1 win over BVB. On a sidenote, what in the world is happening to Klopp and BVB?
There were starts for Oriol Romeu and Lucas Piazon; their teams both conceded three, but while Romeu's Stuttgart mounted a remarkable comeback to earn a 3-3 draw, Piazon's Frankfurt tucked tail and ran in a 3-1 loss. Romeu and Piazon have been key members of their respective teams; nice to see at least some of our loans working out exactly as intended.
Thorgan Hazard only got a tenth of the minutes that Romeu and Piazon each received, but he managed to get involved in a goal anyway (with a bit of a circus assist) in those nine minutes.
Somewhere, stuck in limbo between worlds, dreams, and rainbows (but nowhere near the pitch in Fiorentina), there's Marko Marin. Send a postcard, maybe, Marko? Just to let us know you're alive...
PREMIER LEAGUE ANTI-WENGER AGENTS:
Nathaniel Chalobah made his return from the scary throat/windpipe injury for a ten-minute cameo as Burnley lost to suddenly fourth West Ham United. Burnley are not very good (to say the least) and their midfield is very much in need of some help, so hopefully Chalobah will get back on track for working his way into the starting lineup.
Elsewhere, Christian Atsu, fresh of his ACN qualifying minutes for Ghana remained on the bench as Everton won the Derby of the American Goalkeepers.
There were wins for Ryan Bertrand and Victor Moses as well. The former was an active participant in one of the more jaw-dropping final scorelines in Premier League history, getting at least two secondary assists by my count as Saints remained an unlikely third in the league. The latter was also an active participant in his game -- though to slightly less universal acclaim -- as Stoke City came back to win 2-1 against Swansea and move into the top half of the table.
Incidentally, as @chelseayouth points out, in addition to loanee Bertrand, there were three former Chelsea trainees involved in Southampton's 8-0 win over Sunderland: Patrick van Aanholt, Liam Bridcutt (both on the losing end), and Jack Cork (even contributing one of the goals).
ELSEWHERE -- TOP FLIGHT:
There were once again no minutes for either Islam Feruz or Cristian Cuevas, or even Mario Pašalić, and Joao Rodriguez got just 10 off the bench for SC Bastia.
Gaël Kakuta however continues to be the driving force behind Rayo Vallecano and in Friday's game made all the difference with a fantastic last-minute assist. Rayo have now won three of four, with the 23-year-old Kakuta and the 22-year-old Léo Baptistão impressing the most.
ELSEWHERE -- LOWER LEAGUE:
Matej Delač (back from playing against some of his pseudo-teammates in the Chelsea academy who also play for England U21) was on the bench as AC Arles-Avignon tried to shake things up with a different goalkeeper this weekend. But they lost anyway, their fifth loss in a row, and remain firmly rooted to the bottom of Ligue 2.
Ulises Dávila was also on the bench this weekend, but he did start Tenerife's game last week and played all but the last fifteen minutes (the Spanish second division did not observe the FIFA/UEFA holiday). He did not score, neither did Tenerife who are now just two points off the bottom of the table after three straight losses.
Lastly, FREE JON SWIFT! Please.