Published:  12:00 AM, 20 March 2017

Chelsea down Stoke City, Dawson darkens Arsenal gloom

Chelsea down Stoke City, Dawson darkens Arsenal gloom Stoke City's defender Ryan Shawcross (L) blocks Chelsea's striker Diego Costa during the Premier League match at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on Saturday. -AFP

Gary Cahill kept Chelsea's title charge on track as the defender's 87th-minute winner gave the Premier League leaders a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Stoke on Saturday. Willian's cheeky free-kick put Chelsea ahead in the 13th minute but Stoke equalized when Jonathan Walters converted a penalty conceded by Cahill seven minutes before half-time. On another EPL match, Arsenal fans again rounded on under-fire manager Arsene Wenger as defender Craig Dawson scored twice in a comprehensive 3-1 victory for West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Dawson headed home from corners either side of half-time to book-end the goalscoring action in West Brom's eighth win in their last 10 Premier League home games.

Chelsea looked the more likely winners after the break, as Marcos Alonso's free kick hit the crossbar and goalkeeper Lee Grant superbly denied Pedro. Stoke were never out of the game but Cahill fired home to punish a mistake by Erik Pieters, who failed to clear David Luiz's header from a corner.

Victory for Chelsea made it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions and they are now 13 points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who face Southampton on Sunday. Stoke's defeat ended their eight-match unbeaten home record going back to a 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth on November 19. In between Dawson's goals, Alexis Sanchez equalized for Arsenal before substitute Hal Robson-Kanu restored the home side's lead.

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