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Chelsea leave it late to defeat Stoke City

Chelsea leave it late to defeat Stoke City

Willian opened the scoring for the league-leaders with a first half free-kick, but Jonathan Walters responded before the break by converting a penalty after Gary Cahill had fouled Walters.

The Blues stole a late three points as captain Gary Cahill - having earlier conceded a penalty - fired high into the roof of the net from close-range in the 87th minute for a vital three points.

Diego Costa picked up an early booking for dissent and in a bid to spark a reaction from the striker, Stoke players targeted Costa to try and get him sent off.

The Blues were given a helping hand to take the lead, with Willian's free-kick from wide on the left catching Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant out at his near post, and he could not prevent it squirming across the line.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could extend Chelsea's gap at the top to 13 points as second-place Spurs don't play until Sunday.

Chelsea player ratings: Courtois 6, Azpilicueta 7, David Luiz 6, Cahill 5, Moses 4, Matic 5, Kante 8, Alonso 6, Pedro 5, Willian 6, Diego Costa 6. He was not affecting Bruno Martins Indi getting to the ball. The Costa of last season would certainly have taken the bait more easily.

Gary Cahill celebrates scoring the victor for Chelsea at Stoke.




Crystal Palace moved closer to preserving their Premier League status by earning their third successive victory with 1-0 home win over Watford.

Match Stat: Chelsea have only won two of their last seven games away to Stoke in all competitions.

Chelsea now hold a 13-point lead at the top of the with only 10 games to go - an advantage no side has ever squandered in Premier League history.

Stoke are ninth in the Premier League for a reason and Chelsea departed the bet365 Stadium pitch tired in the knowledge that their 22nd victory of this remarkable campaign was also one of the hardest to earn.

Only once in Premier League history have Stoke beaten the side who are top of the table.

However, the assistant's flag went up - possibly for offside against Saido Berahino, who could also have been punished for a push on Pedro.

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