A late Gary Cahill goal sent Chelsea 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Stoke City.
The defender pounced on a poor Erik Pieters clearance at a corner three minutes from time to reward Chelsea for their dominance. Pieters had also conceded the corner with a misplaced backpass.
They had earlier taken the lead with the first shot of the game thanks to some quick thinking from Willian, who went for goal from a free-kick where everyone was waiting for a cross, and an error from Lee Grant who couldn’t keep the low shot out despite getting two hands to it.
However Stoke went into the break level though thanks to a Jon Walters penalty. He won the spot-kick himself too, being nudged by Gary Cahill before he could challenge for an overhit free-kick, but it must be said it was very soft.
The Blues were on top throughout the second half but struggled to break through, with Marcos Alonso coming closest when he sent a free-kick crashing onto the bar, but Cahill made amends for giving away the penalty to secure three points late on.
Chelsea’s nearest challengers Tottenham and Manchester City find themselves 13 points adrift with 11 matches remaining, and only a stunning meltdown can deny Antonio Conte the Premier League title in his debut season at Stamford Bridge. Stoke remain ninth.
Costa is the master of playing on the edge. Costa played the pantomime villain expertly today, scrapping with Stoke players at every opportunity and picking up an early booking for dissent, but managed to avoid being sent off. In fact he’s never been shown a red card in his almost three seasons in the Premier League, despite his confrontational style of play, showing he knows exactly what he’s doing. Despite sometimes appearing a loose cannon, he knows exactly where the line is and relishes a physical battle with the defence. Despite not scoring he was left with the last laugh, like on most occasions this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Willian (Chelsea). Replacing Eden Hazard, who missed the game through injury, the Brazilian looked Chelsea’s most dangerous player throughout and his great awareness lead to the first goal. He’s got six Premier League goals this season, his best ever return, and today was a good demonstration of his importance to Chelsea.
13’ – GOAL! Stoke 0-1 Chelsea (Willian). With Grant waiting for a cross, Willian fires a free-kick low at the near post and past the goalkeeper, who can't keep it out despite getting two hands to the ball.
33’ – DISALLOWED GOAL! Cameron's header back into the box is diverted into the net by Martins Indi but the goal is rightly disallowed because Berahino pushed over Azpilicueta, allowing Martins Indi to head home unchallenged.
37’ – PENALTY STOKE! A free-kick is sent into the box and Courtois claims easily but the referee points to the spot after Cahill was adjudged to have pushed Walters!
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Chelsea on brink of title after late goal seals win at Stoke