Mar 18, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​bet365 Stadium
Attendance: 27,724
StokeStoke City
1-2
Chelsea
Walters (38' pen.)
Allen (15'), Bardsley (40'), Martins Indi (65'), Pieters (65'), Cameron (91')
Bardsley (95')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Willian (14'), Cahill (87')
Costa (17'), Fabregas (94')

Mark Hughes: 'Stoke City did not target Diego Costa'

Hughes: 'We did not target Diego Costa'
© SilverHub
Stoke manager Mark Hughes claims that Chelsea striker Diego Costa tried to antagonise his defenders rather than the other way round during their 2-1 defeat to the Blues.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has denied that his players deliberately tried to antagonise Diego Costa during today's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the bet365 Stadium.

A number of Stoke's defenders - most notably Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi - had run-ins with the Spain international, whose temperament has been called into question during his Chelsea career.

Costa picked up an early yellow card for dissent but was otherwise able to keep a lid on his emotions, although Hughes argued that it was the striker who targeted the defenders rather than the other way around.

"We didn't target him, more likely he targeted our players. I played in that position many years and I look at his qualities as a striker, he's an outstanding striker, but on occasions he's got elements of his play that he doesn't really need to have," he told reporters.

"You can still have an edge, an element where you can look after yourself, but you don't have to have the rest.

"I think it takes away from his performance and his image as a player, it's not necessary. Maybe that's how he generates his feeling in the game and when he's able to produce his best work. I think it detracts from what a good player he is."

Stoke's defeat leaves them still ninth in the Premier League table, but now seven points adrift of the top eight.

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Diego Costa celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 31, 2016
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27233179205972
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd27175551193256
3Liverpool27159361313054
4Chelsea27165649232653
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs27157552242852
6Arsenal27136851361545
7Burnley279992124-336
8Leicester CityLeicester2798103940-135
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10Bournemouth2787123141-1031
11Watford2786133747-1030
12West Ham UnitedWest Ham2779113446-1230
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2777132536-1128
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610112236-1428
15Crystal Palace2769122542-1727
16Swansea CitySwansea2776142037-1727
17Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2776142347-2427
18Southampton27511112840-1226
19Stoke CityStoke2767142753-2625
20West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27311132140-1920
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