Antonio Conte breathe a sigh of relief when English defender Gary Cahill thumped home just three minutes from the final whistle to help Chelsea open up a 13-point gap at the top of the Premier League points table. On their visit to BET365 stadium in Stoke, Chelsea opened the scoring through a free kick from Willian as Lee Grant made a mess of it to send it into the back of the net. However, Jonathan Walters pulled one back before half-time as he made no mistake from the spot after Stoke were awarded a penalty. And just as it looked like the Potters would steal a point from the table leaders, Gary Cahill managed to get on the end of a mis-clearance in the final minutes of the game to gift Chelsea all three points. There were some ordinary performances on a night when Chelsea missed playmaker Eden Hazard and here are the player ratings of the Blues for this game:
Thibaut Courtois (6):
Made a couple of decent saves to keep his side in the hunt on a decent night for the Belgian shot-stopper, who failed to keep a clean sheet.
Cesar Azpilicueta (4):
Was troubled all night long as he failed to provide the solidarity that Chelsea are used to on the right side of the defense.
David Luiz (7):
A constant presence for Chelsea in danger areas, Luiz made a number of blocks, clearances and interceptions to keep Chelsea level when under pressure from the home side.
Gary Cahill (7):
Though gave away a soft penalty, the English defender was solid at the back giving Stoke no time on the ball and popped up with the winner, scoring his fourth goal against the Potters.
Victor Moses (5):
Was a decent outlet on the right but failed to have the kind of an impact he is used to giving his side in recent times.
Nemanja Matic (6):
A decent performance from the midfielder who put in a good shit to frustrate the home side right until he was subbed off with less than 10 minutes to play.
N Golo Kante (7):
The French midfielder was yet again at it against Stoke City, giving their players no time on the ball. He won the ball back more than any other player in the game putting in yet another commanding performance.
Marcos Alonso (6):
A decent performance by the Italian full back who stuck to his task at both ends of the field to see Chelsea off to a victory.
Failed to have any kind of an impact as he was often isolated on the flank and lost the ball on more than one occasions on an off day for the Spaniard.
The Man of the Match on the night, Willian was a nightmare for the Stoke City defenders as he used his pace to get beyond the backline and expose the goal keeper. He was lucky to open the scoring but deserves to be the Man of the Match for this tie.
Diego Costa (5):
Stuck to his task well and acted as a target man. Came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but could not find his 50th PL goal on the night.
Cesc Fabregas (6):
Came in to replace Victor Moses on the flank to add some creativity to the midfield and he had his own effect on the game that Chelsea managed to win right at the end.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (5):
Came on to add some fire to the midfield and helped his side see the game off.
Kurt Zouma (5):
Came in too late into the game to have any kind of an effect on the night.
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