Chelsea leave it late to defeat Stoke City

Chelsea leave it late to defeat Stoke City

After earning another three points late at Stoke, Craig Burley lauds Chelsea's ability to win matches in all ways.

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.

But then the Chelsea of last season were wholly unrecognisable from the outfit who refused to be sidetracked after Jon Walters had equalised from the penalty spot for Stoke following Willian's early free-kick goal.

Chelsea took the lead after just 13 minutes when Willian, in for the injured Eden Hazard, struck.

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. First, we will try to win the next game in the league against Stoke and, when the cup comes, we are going to try to win it. "But today it is important against a strong team and in a very hot stadium".

The Stoke keeper was expecting a cross into the middle, but Willian instead curled a shot towards the near bottom corner from the left flank and Grant was unable to keep it out despite reaching the ball in time.

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87' - GOAL! Stoke 1-2 Chelsea (Cahill).

Stoke City player ratings: Grant 4, Bardsley 2, Shawcross 7, Martins Indi 7, Pieters 5, Cameron 6, Allen 6, Sobhi 7, Walters 6, Berahino 3.

DF David Luiz, 8 - Stood his ground in the face of some robust challenges, particularly with Walters, and played the ball out of defence well, linking up neatly with Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante.

Along with Kante he's a front runner for the Premier League Player of the Season award, having rediscovered his form following a dip previous year under Jose Mourinho.

No team has ever failed to win the Premier League having been 13 points clear. It's debatable whether Stoke's approach met his standards, but the Premier League leaders have rarely been pushed so close this season.