Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal as Chelsea won at Sunderland to secure a 10th successive top-flight victory and a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Antonio Conte’s side took full advantage of Arsenal’s 2-1 loss at Everton on Tuesday to secure a firm grip on pole position, Fabregas netting the decisive goal after 40 minutes against a largely toothless Sunderland, although Thibaut Courtois was called upon to make a stunning injury-time save from Patrick van Aanholt to preserve the visitors’ advantage.
Chelsea’s position contrasts starkly to that which they held exactly one year ago, when a 2-1 defeat away at Leicester City left them one point clear of the relegation zone after 16 matches and proved to be the final game in Jose Mourinho’s second stint in charge.
Sunderland were guilty of sitting deep and letting the Blues dictate terms, Fabregas finally making the breakthrough in a tepid first half when he steered a pass from Willian – making his first Premier League start since October 1 with Eden Hazard absent through injury – past Jordan Pickford.
David Moyes’ team lacked coherency in attack and, after Adnan Januzaj was denied by Courtois, only the crossbar stopped them slipping further behind to Willian’s deflected shot in the 51st minute.
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