Gary Cahill pounces late to keep Chelsea on title track

Chelsea Gary Cahill and David Luiz explain what it's like to work with Antonio Conte

Willian gave Chelsea the lead in the 13th minute with a free-kick, only for the Potters to draw level through Jonathan Walters' penalty after the Stoke striker was pushed in the penalty area by Cahill.

Costa was frequently in collision with his players - principally Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi - and was booked for simulation in the first half after often going down claiming a foul.

They had a tough assignment in the Potteries, made all the more hard 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.

Chelsea are 10 points clear at the top of the table after losing just once since the middle of September, and Antonio Conte will relish the opportunity to try to become the first man to leave the bet365 Stadium with three points in a league fixture since November 19. David Luiz met an in-swinging Fabregas corner with a header that Erik Pieters could only touch into the path of Cahill, who fired in to redeem his penalty mistake. For sure there is the great possibility to score the goal, but also to concede a goal.

Shorn of the services of Eden Hazard, Chelsea proved they can function admirably without the gifted playmaker.

More news: Juventus vs Porto, Champions League

He explained: "It's my first time in Stoke yes". The response was a yellow card and Conte sent Michy Batshuayi to warm up as an attempt to remind his striker to focus on testing Grant instead.

Chelsea certainly invested plenty of energy on Monday night into reaching the FA Cup semi-finals at the expense of Manchester United and I would not be massively shocked if there were to be a little bit of a mental and physical hangover. The only side in Premier League history to have done this in a whole 38-game season were Manchester City in 2014-15 (114/114).

Antonio Conte's men have been in phenomenal form this season, losing just one of their last 21 top-flight games, although they have only won two of their last five league matches on the road. 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.

Reports on Friday suggested that the Chelsea maestro had not been part of the travelling party to take on Stoke City in Saturday's Premier League encounter, with Belgian journalist Kristoff Terreur alleging on Twitter that the Red Devils were aware of Hazard's unavailability for their group games at the end of the month. We faced a really good team.

Antonio Conte celebrates after Cahill's victor.

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