Chelsea picked up their third straight league win after a 2-1 victory over Stoke City at the Bet 365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The biggest red flag from Chelsea’s team to face the Potters was the absence of Eden Hazard, who suffered an injury on the training ground and missed the trip as a precaution.
Otherwise, Antonio Conte started with Thibaut Courtois in goal, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and captain Gary Cahill across the back three, a defensive midfield duo of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses on the flanks, Pedro and Willian as the inside forwards and Diego Costa up front.
Costa was clearly targeted early on, as the Spaniard was continuously frustrated throughout the opening 45 and the attack largely suffered because of it.
However, the Blues found the back of the net in the 13th minute when Willian curled a free-kick towards the near post from a near-impossible angle, fooling goalkeeper Lee Grant and putting Chelsea in front.
Stoke City equalised seven minutes before half-time when Cahill budged Johnathan Walters inside the penalty area. The referee called a penalty after Walters fell to the floor, and the forward would go on to beat Courtois from the spot.
The game looked to be on ice for a while before Cesc Fabregas entered in the 70th minute and shifted the formation to a 4-2-3-1. The Blues slowly upped their creativity and Cahill scored the winner in the 87th minute.
Here’s what we learned from the victory.