Sport

Chelsea still need 21 points to win the title, insists Antonio Conte

Chelsea still need 21 points to win the title, insists Antonio Conte

It sparked wild celebrations from Chelsea, who took a significant step towards the title, although Hughes was delighted with the manner of his side's performance against the league leaders.

The defender pounced on a poor Erik Pieters clearance at a corner three minutes from time to reward Chelsea for their dominance.

The champions-elect had a tough assignment in the Potteries, made all the more hard due to Eden Hazard's absence through injury, but Gary Cahill, who had earlier given away a penalty, smashed home late on to seal a 2-1 victory.

Willian had given them the lead here with a free-kick only for the Potters to draw level through Jonathan Walters' penalty in a fiery contest that featured Diego Costa as its chief antagonist, though it was Phil Bardsley who saw red in stoppage time.

"He trained well. I think he is available for the the game against Stoke", said the Italian. And even on days when the "fantasy" of Hazard deserts them, Chelsea's dream season goes on unhindered.


The win means Chelsea are now 13 points clear of Spurs and Manchester City and Cahill feels that is bound to put pressure on the pair when they play on Sunday. He's got six Premier League goals this season, his best ever return, and today was a good demonstration of his importance to Chelsea.

There was more than an element of fortune in Chelsea's winning goal on 87 minutes, too late for a tiring Stoke to conjure one final twist. There didn't appear to be a shooting opportunity on for Willian, but he found Lee Grant's bottom corner with a low-drilled effort.

No team has ever failed to win the Premier League having been 13 points clear.

It was a world away from last season's match at this same stadium which represented perhaps the nadir of Chelsea's ill-fated title defence when their then manager, Jose Mourinho, who had been handed a stadium ban, had to watch from a nearby hotel as they lost 1-0 and slumped to 16th in the table. The other, away at Sunderland, they won also.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 - Stifled the threat of Stoke striker Saido Berahino and was always well-positioned to ensure Courtois was never exposed to the probing runs of Marco Arnautovic.


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