- Willian put Chelsea ahead
- Walters equalized from PK spot
- Cahill scores late winner
- Chelsea 13 points clear
Premier League leaders Chelsea grabbed victory late on at Stoke City on Saturday, winning 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium.
They now need seven more wins to guarantee the Premier League title.
Antonio Conte‘s side went 1-0 up through Willian’s clever free kick but a penalty kick just before half time from Jonathan Walters leveled things up and that’s how things remained until Gary Cahill scored a late winner. Phil Bardlsey was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow as Chelsea outlasted Stoke in a brutal battle.
The win stretches Chelsea’s lead atop the PL table to 13 points, while Stoke remain on 36 points.
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After an even start to the game Chelsea went ahead through a piece of quick thinking from Willian and a blunder from Lee Grant in Stoke’s goal.
Marko Arnautovic gave away a free kick wide on the left and with the box loaded with Chelsea players Willian decided to curl an effort towards the near post. He caught out Grant who couldn’t stop the ball squirming inside the near post. 1-0 to the PL leaders.
Stoke hung in the game despite going behind yet Chelsea had a glorious chance to double their lead with their two wing backs combining. Victor Moses clipped in a ball to Marcos Alonso and he was brilliantly denied by Grant from close range. Big save.
Before the break real controversy arrived. First a corner was headed in by Bruno Martins-Indi but the goal was chalked off by the linesman for a push on Cesar Azpilicueta by Saido Berahino in what looked like the correct call.
Moments later Stoke were awarded a penalty kick as a cross was sent towards Walters and he looked to be tripped and pushed by Gary Cahill at the pivotal moment. Walters dusted himself off to slam home the PK and make it 1-1 but Chelsea had plenty of complaints about the PK being awarded.
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In the second half tempers continued to flare with Diego Costa the villain for most of the game and he was targeted by Stoke time and time again. The USMNT’s Geoff Cameron had a particularly heated battle with Costa as the U.S. national team star was named as Stoke’s man of the match for his all action display in central midfield to try and keep Chelsea’s attackers at bay.
David Luiz sent in a vicious dipping free kick which troubled Grant as Chelsea turned the screw and Stoke tired as full time edged closer.
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Alonso sent a curling free kick against the crossbar with Grant beaten all ends up and the Spaniard couldn’t believe how close his effort came to putting Chelsea ahead.
Pedro was then denied by Grant who made a superb stop as Chelsea piled on the pressure in the closing stages and eventually it paid off.
Luiz’s header towards goal was half cleared by Erik Pieters and Cahill finished clinically to send the away fans wild. After that there was time for Costa to hit the post, Grant to deny substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Bardsley to get a second yellow card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.
Can anybody stop Chelsea now?