Gary Cahill made up for conceding a penalty by scoring a late victor as Antonio Conte's men opened up a 13 point gap at the top of the table.
The Belgian worldwide was expected to start, but as per the Evening Standard, he has now been ruled out with the troublesome thigh injury. The Italian remains utterly single-minded in his determination to secure the Premier League title, and was unaware until informed by journalists of Arsenal's defeat to West Brom earlier on Saturday.
Stoke drew 0-0 with Manchester City last time out, and are one of the few teams to have really tested Chelsea this season. I think he felt like "this is a foul, this is a foul" and some were, some weren't.
In the 13th minute, Stoke's pressing left Marcos Alonso open and the former Fiorentina man galloped down the left before winning a free kick in a crossing position.
Conte had been without the in-form Eden Hazard through injury for what always promised to be an awkward fixture for Chelsea at Stoke and, just as they had recently held Manchester City at home, the Potters again made life hard. He was not affecting Bruno Martins Indi getting to the ball.
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"We had a goal disallowed and the player made a meal of the slight push". Then, Fabregas was finally introduced on 70 minutes and made a key contribution as Chelsea summoned their champions' resolve to find a late victor. David Luiz won the first header and when Erik Pieters cleared weakly to Cahill, the 31-year-old thumped his finish into the roof of the net. It was an evenly matched game and they had late opportunities when we went for a goal.
After Cahill had given Chelsea deserved lead, ultimately sealing their 19th win in their last 22 league games, Stoke's misery was completed when Phil Bardsley received his marching orders in the dying seconds after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas. In the 21 appearances prior to the January drama, he'd contributed 14 goals and five assists.
"If you try to stop one area of their progression, then they will open up other areas of the pitch and are able to attack in another way".
Midfielder N'Golo Kante echoed his manager's thoughts.