Conte suffers major blow as key ace ruled out vs Stoke

Conte suffers major blow as key ace ruled out vs Stoke

Conte had Cahill to thank after the defender fired home the victor in the 87th minute, as Chelsea left it late to clinch all three precious points.

Stoke had won this fixture last term, beating a Jose Mourinho team that slipped to 16th in the table as a result, yet under Conte they are a different proposition.

Willian put the leaders ahead after 13 minutes thanks to a blunder by Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant but Jon Walters equalised with a penalty before halftime after being fouled by Cahill.

Already Antonio Conte seemed sufficiently concerned about his striker's mental state as he sent Michy Batshuayi out to warm up.

Stoke thought they had equalised when Bruno Martins Indi headed home, but the goal was ruled out as Berahino - standing in an offside position - pushed Azpilicueta away from the ball. "It was more likely he targeted our players".

Erik Pieters yielded an unnecessary edge with a bad back-pass to Give as well as the Dutchman's clearance from David Luiz's header pertained to Cahill to terminate residence. 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.

For Chelsea, this was a many-faceted triumph which surely removes any doubts over the destination of the title. Eden Hazard was the star in that game, and is playing arguably the best soccer of his career, while N'Golo Kante, one of the frontrunners to win Player of the Year, scored the winning goal.

"Everybody can see my football, the team is doing very well". He showed me [his ability] to think for the team and not for himself and I want this from my players, this type of behaviour.

Clearly, it was an exciting and fascinating weekend of Premier League action, and several supporters took to Twitter to express their views on the weekend's matches, with City's 1-1 draw coming in for high praise from some home fans... Phil Bardsley's red card in the final minutes was inconsequential in the context of Cahill's shattering strike.

Antonio Conte celebrates after Cahill's victor.

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