They had a tough assignment in the Potteries, made all the more difficult due to Eden Hazard's absence through injury, but Cahill, who had earlier given away a penalty, smashed in late on in a 2-1 victory at a venue where a November loss last season had seen the Blues slip to 16th.
Willian had given them the lead here with a free-kick only for the Potters to draw level through Jonathan Walters' penalty in a fiery contest that featured Diego Costa as its chief antagonist, though it was Phil Bardsley who saw red in stoppage time.
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Stoke City XI: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, M. Indi, Pieters; Ramadan, Cameron, Allen, Arnautovic; Walters, Berahino.
Subs: Given; Muniesa, Whelan, Afellay, Adam, Diouf, Crouch.
Chelsea XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Diego Costa, Pedro.
Subs: Begovic, Zouma, Ake, Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Batshuayi.
WHAT THEY SAID
Antonio Conte: "It won't be easy. Stoke are a really strong, physical team with great players. For this reason, we must pay great attention and focus.
"In the game at Stamford Bridge, Stoke City played very well. We won 4-2, but the game was played very well by both teams.
"They have a really good team, a good coach, and for sure they want to prepare in the right way for this game. We will have a tough test."
Mark Hughes: "It's a big shout, but you'd have to say if [N'Golo Kante] gets back-to-back Premier League titles and he's been a huge part of each one in two campaigns, he's certainly up there in terms of effectiveness.
"That's what's been said – who's the most effective midfield player in the world and you'd have to say it's him."