The Blues sit 13 points clear on top of the table after their 2-1 win at Stoke City on Saturday.
The Premier League is Chelsea’s to lose as they enter this match 10 points ahead of both Spurs and Manchester City with 11 to play. Subs: Diouf 6, Crouch n/a.
The defender pounced on a poor Erik Pieters clearance at a corner three minutes from time to reward Chelsea for their dominance.
Unused subs: Begovic, Ake, Chalobah, Batshuayi.
They’ve posted five clean sheets in that span, yielding just four goals, but Hughes also realises playing Chelsea is a different kind of animal.
But the worldwide break means Conte’s side don’t play again in the league until 1 April, when they host Crystal Palace.
Costa received a yellow card inside 17 minutes but kept his cool and lasted the full 90 minutes as the Blues maintained their relentless form towards an inevitable league crown.
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Ultimately, that goal proved to be enough to secure Stoke a precious point and throw a rock in the road for Chelsea’s title charge.
Willian (Chelsea). Replacing Eden Hazard, who missed the game through injury, the Brazilian looked Chelsea’s most risky player throughout and his great awareness lead to the first goal.
The scoreline may not suggest it but the Stoke gave Chelsea a real scare in their 4-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
And the change had the desired effect, with Gary Cahill making up for his error to score a late victor for the Blues.
Re-live that game below.
Glen Johnson (shoulder) remains out while Jack Butland returned to training this week as he steps up his recovery from a long-term ankle injury in the hope of making his comeback before the season ends.
Chelsea looked to regain the lead and in the 51st minute a superb pass from N’Golo Kante split the Stoke defence for Alonso to gallop onto, but the Spanish wing back’s shot was deflected behind.
“This season Cesc has shown himself to be a great professional but, above all, a great player”, Conte said.
So there are your confirmed starting line-ups for today’s game!
Chelsea accused Manchester United of targeting Eden Hazard for rough stuff during the week – here it was Diego Costa who was singled out as Phil Bardsley became the latest Potter to target him, raking his studs down his calf. First, we will try to win the next game in the league against Stoke and, when the cup comes, we are going to try to win it.
According to Conte, Hazard is being targeted repeatedly by opponents due to the fact that the player plays “great football”.
Antonio Conte has used every substitution possible in the Premier League this season (81/81). For this reason, we must pay great attention and focus. “It is a good challenge”, the Frenchman told The Independent. “We will have a tough test”.
“Sometimes a player who, in the last two years or so, didn’t play well goes on to have a fantastic season”.