After a long time, a team has troubled Chelsea in their pursuit of the title, but the efforts were not enough from the visitors. And the Chelsea vs Stoke City encounter ended up in yet another win for the Blues.
The first real chance for the home side came in the 17th minute, when Diego Costa fooled a defender and took a scorching shot at the target. Grant made a brilliant save, but the rebound fell on to the path of Eden Hazard. The Belgian, however, failed to slot it home and the Stoke custodian collected the ball to keep Chelsea at bay. Four minutes later, the Blues got another chance as Gary Cahill headed a corner beautifully. But, Grant got the better once again and parried it away.
The visitors, on the other end, almost made a breakthrough around the 25 minutes mark. But, two back-to-back commendable build-ups ended up in off-the-target shots from Xherdan Shaqiri and Charlie Adam. And then, Grant made another double save soon after. Just when it seemed that the Stoke goalkeeper is becoming unbeatable today, the home team got the well deserved opener at 34th minute. Cahill was the one to nod a Cesc Fabregas corner into the nets and gave his team a 1-0 lead. The scoreline remained the same at the break.
The away side started the second half in an extraordinary fashion. Adam took a long free kick, only to be headed inside the box by Peter Crouch. The ball fell on to the path of Bruno Martins Indi who then managed to send it past Thibaut Courtois, to draw it level once again.
Chelsea appeared charged up after conceding and started attacking with all their might. Willian took a shot from right outside the box, but it went inches wide. Grant also made two magnificent saves early in the second half. But, the Englishman could not hold the fort for long. At the stroke of 57th minute, Victor Moses floated in a ball from the left and Hazard fed it to Willian. The Brazilian’s astounding volley was more than enough to beat Grant and give Chelsea a welcome 2-1 lead.
After conceding the second goal, Mark Hughes made two substitutions, bringing in Bojan and Imbula for Shaqiri and Affelay. And the changes worked well for the visitors. Bojan worked out a nice ball to Diouf on the right hand side, and he sent it to the path of Crouch. The tall Englishman’s marvellous shot hit the top of the net to bring back parity at the Bridge.
Not for long though! Right on the next minute, Fabregas got another assist as his ball found Willian inside the box. The winger’s powerful shot earned him his second of the night, and gave his team the lead back again. The table toppers further increased their lead, six minutes from the final whistle. This time, it was their talisman Diego Costa who used his physicality to hold on to a ball from a throw-in and then took a powerful shot to find the nets. For the last few minutes, the home side tried to increase their commanding lead, but the scoreline remained 4-2 and they notched up their 13th win on the trot.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses (Ivanovic, 82′), Kante, Fabregas (Matic, 73′), Alonso; Willian (Chalobah, 84′), Diego Costa, Hazard.
Stoke City (4-3-3): Grant; Pieters, Martins Indi, Shawcross, Johnson; Affelay (Imbula, 61′), Allen, Adam; Diouf, Crouch, Shaqiri (Bojan, 62′).
Goals: Cahill (34′), Martins Indi (46′), Willian (57′, 65′), Crouch (64′), Costa (85′).
Chelsea vs Stoke City Highlights:
Chelsea vs Stoke City Match Statistics:
|Shots (on target)||17 (7)||5 (2)|
|Passes played (accuracy)||397 (84%)||239 (75%)|
|Bookings||3 yellow||2 yellow|
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Photo by Aleksandr Osipov