Stoke City 1 Chelsea 2
A battling display from Chelsea saw them establish a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday night.
Antonio Conte now knows that his Chelsea side need to win just 21 points of the last 30 available to claim his first Premier League title in his first season in English football.
Chelsea`s starting eleven, or bench didn`t include the wizard that is Eden Hazard with the player not making the trip due to a slight muscle problem.
As we predicted before kick-off, gaining a victory against Stoke was never going to easy with Stoke`s physicality knocking Chelsea out of their stride, as one Vital Chelsea member coolly remarked, they half-suspected the team in red and white shirts to pick the ball up and dive over the line to score a try!
Our hosts got off to a good start but Chelsea weathered the storm to take the lead when, from a free-kick from a wide position, Willian, instead of floating a ball into the plethora of players lurking in the penalty box, spotted a gap at the near post and squeezed a shot in at the near post.
The general consensus of opinion from the TV punditry was that the Stoke keeper, Lee Grant, should have done better, but perhaps the ingenuity of Willian should be admired.
After the goal Chelsea looked comfortable but Mark Hughes` Stoke side started to ease their way back into the game. Stoke thought they`d equalised when the ball was stabbed over the line, but the eagle-eyed referee`s assistant had spotted a deliberate push on Cesar Azpilicueta
Unfortunately Stoke were to draw level before halftime when the referee adjudged Gary Cahill to have pushed Jon Walters as Stoke floated another aerial ball into the area, it looked to be a harsh call.
Walters took responsibility for the penalty and drove it past Thibaut Courtois to make the score 1-1 at half-time.
The second half saw both teams have dominant spells but it was always Chelsea that created the chances.
An audacious free-kick from David Luiz, who had survived a nasty clash of heads in the first-half to continue playing, tested Grant from all of forty-five yards and the keeper did well to scoop the ball up at the second attempt.
Alonso, lurking on the edge of the area for another free-kick, saw his wonderful effort crash against the cross-bar and it looked as if the honours, at the Bet365 Stadium were to be shared.
However, cometh the hour cometh the hero. Cahill, having conceded the penalty in the first half, was the quickest to react, with three minutes to go, smashing home a loose ball from eight yards out.
Chelsea celebrated manically whilst Antonio Conte swung on the dug-out roof, Chelsea had the three points and this win was a giant step towards winning the 2016 / 2017 Premier League title, our fate really is in our own hands.