The Frenchman netted just after the hour mark to give Jose Mourinho's men a vital victory over the Potters at Stamford Bridge, despite the Scot's remarkable long-range strikeA second-half Loic Remy goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 win over a battling Stoke City side on Saturday, despite a phenomenal strike from Potters midfielder Charlie Adam.
Adam embarrassed Thibaut Courtois with an astonishing strike from almost 65 yards to equalise just before half-time, Eden Hazard's strike from the penalty spot having deservedly put Chelsea in front.
|VIEW FROM STAMFORD BRIDGE
|By Liam Twomey
Chelsea are three points closer to the Premier League title, but at no small cost. Diego Costa's season may be over after a 10-minute second-half cameo ended in a slow, disconsolate limp down the touchline and into the tunnel.
The state of the 26-year-old's troublesome hamstring will once again be on the mind of Jose Mourinho with Arsenal and Manchester United still to play in the final eight matches of the season, but of even greater concern will be the laboured and unimaginative manner in which his side are ambling towards a first Premier League title in five years.
The goals came from an Eden Hazard penalty and a horrendous gaffe by Asmir Begovic. In truth, they rarely looked like coming from anywhere else. Chelsea should make it over the finish line but no one will be waxing lyrical about this team for years to come.
For Stoke, this marked a third consecutive defeat for the second time this season. Not good news, but they are quietly enjoying a positive season and Mark Hughes can at least be pleased with the organisation and spirit his team showed in the toughest stadium in the country, while Thibaut Courtois will be having nightmares about Charlie Adam for weeks.
Remy had replaced Costa in the starting line-up and, just as he did at Hull City last time out, the France striker scored the winner following a mistake from the otherwise outstanding Asmir Begovic as Chelsea continued their march towards regaining the title.
Remy wasted no time in making his presence felt, as he almost put Chelsea in front with a deflected strike that was destined for the top corner until Begovic somehow scrambled across to make an impressive reflex save just two minutes in.
Oscar failed to hit the target with a poor finish following a slick passing move, but Stoke's resistance was ended when Hazard put Chelsea in front six minutes before half-time.
The recalled Philipp Wollscheid rashly dived in on Cesc Fabregas after being beaten by the Spain midfielder and Hazard sent Begovic the wrong way after referee Jonathan Moss had pointed to the spot.
It was difficult to see how Stoke would get back into the game, but Adam took matters into his own hands with a sensational equaliser a minute before the break.
The midfielder looked up before trying his luck with an astonishing left-footed strike from inside his own half and, although Courtois got a hand on the ball after desperately scrambling back from the edge of his penalty area, he was unable to keep the goal of the season contender out.
Costa replaced Oscar at half-time and normal service was resumed, as Hazard's drive forced Begovic to make another fine save and the Stoke keeper again reacted brilliantly to keep out a free-kick from Willian that appeared to flick off Glenn Whelan's head.
Spain striker Costa lasted only 11 minutes before pulling up and limping away, with Didier Drogba coming on to replace him. Chelsea's frustration subsequently mounted, but Begovic undid his good work by gifting the home side a second goal.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina international rolled the ball out carelessly after 62 minutes and Willian pounced to play in Hazard, who surged into the penalty area before unselfishly laying the ball off to Remy, who had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net.
Chelsea's joy was almost short-lived, as Steven N'Zonzi clipped the outside of the post soon after Remy had struck, while Begovic made a fine double save to deny Juan Cuadrado at the other end as the leaders secured another three points.