Wednesday, 20 September, 2017

Chelsea leave it late to defeat Stoke City

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored three goals in his last three games Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored three goals in his last three games
Spencer Simpson | 19 March, 2017, 00:39

Chelsea looked set to miss the chance to extend their advantage over the chasing pack, but Cahill atoned for giving away a penalty by pouncing after a tactical switch from Antonio Conte to pile more pressure on Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool - all of whom play later this weekend. Costa was far more restrained and refined after the break, holding up play intelligently and providing a platform for teammates to shine.

Asked of the prospect of one of his squad being named the player of the season, Conte said: "I hope that, at the end of the season, one of my players could be".

It ultimately sealed their 19th win in their last 22 league games, with Stoke's misery completed when Bardsley received his marching orders in the dying seconds after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.

Surprisingly it took Costa 17 minutes to take the bait and earn the game's first booking for dissent. Chelsea are going to take some stopping now. "But today it is important against a strong team and in a very hot stadium".

13' - GOAL! Stoke 0-1 Chelsea (Willian). His free-kick from an acute angle caught out Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant and found it's way into the bottom corner. Walters emphatically dispatches the penalty into the roof of the net.

Marcos Alonso struck the woodwork on the hour mark with a free-kick, after guiding his effort over the wall, only for the ball to bounce off the bar.

DF Kurt Zouma, NR - Replaced Willian after Cahill scored and added weight to Chelsea's defence. In the closing minutes, Costa even began to look rampant again, leading every Chelsea counter with power and menace, lashing one shot off the post.

Stoke: Grant; Bardsley 4, Shawcross 6, M. Indi 6, Pieters 6; Sobhi 6 (Crouch 92, 6), Cameron 7, Allen 6, Arnautovic 6; Walters 7, Berahino 6 (Diouf 61, 6). Subs: Diouf 6, Crouch n/a.

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. Subs: Fabregas 6, Loftus-Cheek 6, Zouma n/a.

"I like to think our opponents will win tomorrow", said Conte.

Along with Kante he's a front runner for the Premier League Player of the Season award, having rediscovered his form following a dip a year ago under Jose Mourinho. The other, away at Sunderland, they won also.

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