Chelsea Back on Top after a 3-0 victory over Stoke City
by Nick D
Apr 05, 2014 9:11 PM EDT
Chelsea have bounced back after the shock loss last week with a strong performance against Stoke City. The Blues took control early in the match and never looked back. Chelsea fired in three goals to climb back to the top of the Premier League and keep the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.
Chelsea back to top spot as players celebrate their win against Stoke City
Chelsea kicked off the game strong. They pressed high up the pitch and pushed Stoke deep into their own half. Mourinho had sent his team out with only one tactic, and that was to win at any cost. The Chelsea players were also looking to redeem themselves after their heavy defeat midweek to PSG in the Champions League, so Stoke were in for a tough match. The possession was dominated heavily at the start of the game by the Blues, as Stoke struggled to get into any kind of rhythm. Torres was prowling around in the forward line and was getting into some dangerous spots. His best chance came in the 20th minute after a poor choice by the defender. The defender attempted to chest the ball back to his keeper but the ball lacked pace. Torres would pounce on the ball, but Begovic did close him down quickly and Torres' shot would be blocked by the keeper. A costly lapse by Stoke which they couldn't afford against this strong Chelsea side. Though it wouldn't take long for Chelsea to breakthrough and score the opening goal. A throw in from the left side saw Matic make a good run towards the box. He cut the ball back across the box, where Salah met it just near the top and drilled it into the back of the net. 1-0 and Chelsea were starting to heat up.
Salah getting his first start in the Premier League would prove his worth getting the opening goal
The flood gates were then opened as the Chelsea storm continued on. Chelsea pushed on and were almost two goals up as Ivanovic managed to get into space and meet Lampard's cross perfectly and head home. Though the Chelsea celebrations were short lived as the linesman had his flag up. On replay Ivanovic was just offside by half a foot, a good call and Stoke were very lucky. Chelsea pressed on and kept the pressure on Stoke but the halftime whistle blew and Mourinho led his team into the change rooms with a goal advantage.
Mourinho's team were in the lead but the Portuguese manager wasn't all smiles yet as halftime approached
The second half saw Stoke City with it all to do to try and get a result from the game. They came out strong as they tried to outmuscle Chelsea in the midfield. Mark Hughes also decided to make two changes as the half began. He brought on Adam and Wilkinson to replace Palacios and Cameron. The change worked for the first 15 minutes but it would prove to be a costly mistake too. As Chelsea looked to play the ball around and push forward they found themselves near the Stoke City box. Hazard played a clever one two pass with Salah. As the Egyptian broke free and made a run down the left side of the box, Wilkinson would struggle to get to him and would take the player down. The ref had no choice but to blow the whistle and signal for the penalty kick. Lampard would step up and fire the ball slightly to the keepers right. Begovic guessed right and managed to parry the ball away. Fortunately for Lampard the ball bounced back to the centre of the goal and Lampard did well to follow it up and blast it into the net from close range. 2-0 and Chelsea could breathe a little easier with their two goal cushion.
Frank Lampard would double the Blues' advantage in the 60th minute after following up his penalty shot that Begovic saved
Chelsea had the game after that and Stoke knew it would be extremely difficult to get a result from this game. Chelsea settled back and let Stoke bring the game to them. Stoke knew they had to be careful and not push too many payers forward, not wanting to get caught on the counter. The best hope Stoke had would be from the set piece and with 20 minutes of the game left it was still a possibilty. Though to break down Chelsea's defence would take something special and unfortunately for Stoke they lacked the firepower up front to cause any real trouble to Chelsea's goal. Then as predicted Stoke did push up too high and were caught on the break as Willian got the ball outside the box. He faked left and went right and curled the ball past the defender, past Begovic and fired Chelsea to a 3-0 lead. The game was over for Stoke as Chelsea settled back and kept the possession well as the time ticked over. Chelsea proved to be too strong for Stoke City and even though earlier during the week Mourinho did say that his team cannot win the Premier League...their performance and current standings say otherwise.
Willian's curled shot was superbly executed and well deserved after his overall effort in the entire game
Ciao for now Readers