Chelsea made it ten Premier League wins in a row on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory at Sunderland – but had goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to thank for some late heroics.
Antonio Conte’s side took the lead five minutes before half time courtesy of an effort from Cesc Fabregas – the Spanish international’s first league goal of the season and perfect way of repaying Conte’s faith for starting him ahead of Nemanja Matic at the Stadium of Light.
The visitors were unable to double their advantage and were very nearly punished for that with only seconds remaining. The Chelsea defence failed to adequately deal with a Sebastian Larsson free kick into the box, and when Patrick van Aanholt was able to take out Nathaniel Chalobah and create space for himself, he unleashed a fine half-volley that was heading for the net…
At least, it would have been headed for the net but for a fantastic reaction save from Courtois.
The left-back, a £2m signing from Chelsea in 2014, must have thought he had scored but for the Belgian international, who would have seen the shot extremely late as it sailed through a mass of bodies, clawing the strike away to keep his clean sheet and save his side’s points.
The save drew widespread on social media after the game:
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) December 14, 2016
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 14, 2016
Tremendous save from Courtois off Van Aanholt. Unsighted, freakishly athletic. Difference between three points and one.
— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) December 14, 2016
Some save from Courtois at the end of Sunderland-Chelsea
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) December 14, 2016
— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) December 14, 2016
Superb save from Courtois in stoppage time! The bastard.
— Dan Kennett (@DanKennett) December 14, 2016
Following Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to Everton on Tuesday night, Chelsea have taken full advantage and now look an even stronger bet for winning their second Premier League title in three years.