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Chelsea put behind the misery of their midweek battering at the hands of AS Roma with a huge statement of intent against Manchester United.
A rampant Manchester City decimated Arsenal with a 3-1 victory at the Etihad earlier in the day to stretch their lead to eight points, but the message from Antonio Conte was clear and concise; the champions are not going to give away their Premier League crown without a fight.
The Blues scored through an Alvaro Morata header in the 55th minute, a lead they went on to maintain as they handed Jose Mourinho his third straight defeat at the Bridge as Manchester United manager.
The decision to leave out N’Golo Kante for the Champions League trip to Roma paid timely dividends, as the 26-year old put on a master class performance on his return from injury.
Kante sustained a hamstring injury while on international duty for France for during the World Cup qualifiers in October, which is easy to see why Chelsea struggled during his enforced absence; losing against Crystal Palace and only securing a point from two games against Roma.
Kante provided the much needed stability and precision alongside Cesc Fabregas in midfield, so much that United could have lost with a more disheartening margin had Tiemoue Bakayoko been clinical in his finishing.
Morata breaks the duck
Alvaro Morata rediscovered his goal scoring rhythm with the winner and the only goal of the encounter as he found the back of the net for the first time in nearly two months.
The transfer saga of his botched move to Manchester United in the summer took centre stage in the build up to the encounter, but the former Juventus and Real Madrid forward proved to be a big match winner in front of the harshest of critics.
Title chances alive
Chelsea remain in fourth with 22 points after the victory, albeit with a tightened gap of a single point away from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United who are level on 23 points- Jose Mourinho’s charges second on the log by design of goal difference.
Although Chelsea are nine points adrift of favorites Manchester City, the win brings them back into the title mix as the chase for the Premier League crowns intensifies with 27 games left to play.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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