Gary Cahill struck high into the net with just three minutes to play, as Chelsea secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Stoke City at the Bet 365 Stadium.
Chelsea dominated the game from start to finish, but as was to be expected Stoke were dogmatic in their approach to the league leaders – who were missing their key creative outlet in Eden Hazard.
But champions always manage to find a goal from somewhere, and Willian provided this finish – catching out Lee Grant at his near post with an inswinging free-kick with just 12 minutes played. The game then continued in its physical nature, with Diego Costa and Ryan Shawcross the main antagonists of the afternoon. Stoke so nearly drew level when Bruno Martins Indi had a goal disallowed for a shove on Cesar Azpilicueta, but they would eventually break through when they were awarded a dubious penalty for a Cahill push, which Jonathan Walters dispatched with ease.
In the second-half, a handful of chances went begging for Chelsea, with Marcos Alonso hitting the bar from a set piece while Pedro forced a smart save from Grant. Several changes were made but a winning goal from either side seemed unlikely until Cahill once again stepped up to the mark, like he has so many times this season, pouncing on a poor Stoke clearance to fire home from a few yards out.
The win sees Chelsea momentarily move 13 points clear at the top of the table, for Saturday night at least.