Stoke City vs Chelsea FC at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, 3pm local time. Conditions: pitch good, weather fine.
Chelsea: Cech, A Cole, Terry, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Ballack, Malouda, Kalou, Mikel, Lampard, Drogba
Stoke City: Sorenson (Simonsen), Faye, Collins, Huth, Higginbotham, Delap, Shawcross, Etherington, Whelan, Kitson (Tuncay), Beattie (Fuller)
Stoke, playing five at the back, begin marking the ball closely.
12′ Beattie stretchered off (ankle); Ricardo Fuller on.
18′ Shawcross booked (studs high on A Cole).
Stoke are stalling Chelsea’s flowing potential rather effectively.
Stoke had no players away last week for the international break, giving them time to work specifically on the Chelsea match plan. Seems to be working.
Stoke defending the ball well with two & three players, Shawcross a real nuisance to Lampard in the middle.
32′ GOAL Stoke! Faye on a free header from a quite poor, floated cross from Wilkinson on the right flank, Faye unmarked, Cech in nomans land. Clever stuff — Pulis — running Faye up & into the box.
34′ A Cole gets behind the defense, good save Sorenson.
Stoke’s concentration still good.
36′ Sorenson down (hip); Simonsen on.
[Should be about 10 minutes added.]
Chelsea posting a man on Rory Delap’s throw-in is forcing him to float it high & ineffective as compared to the flat & direct trajectory which worries defenses.
8 minutes are added.
48′ GOAL Chelsea! Drogba takes a firm pass from Lampard, turning Faye on his hip and fires left footed from 15 yards across Simonsen’s left. Clever, well-weighted ball from Lampard.
Anelka on for Kalou.
Chelsea press, Stoke keeping up the pressure on the ball.
65′ Tuncay on for Kitson; Essien on for Ballack
Chelsea mix up the positioning; Lampard attacking, Anelka wide right side, Essien holding.
78′ Drogba set piece tests Simonsen low on his near post. Smart choice.
Mike Dean has been restrained today, though fouling has been negligible.
83′ Balletti on for Mikel.
Malouda seems to have been hiding for 85 minutes.
86′ Brilliant glancing headed through pass by Drogba at the top of the box. No one near.
5 minutes added.
96′ GOAL Chelsea! Malouda comes out from hiding: left foot through the hands of Simonsen. Coolly in the box from a Bosingwa throw-in from Essien to Anelka to Malouda. Chelsea’s desire is evident.
Stoke would have earned their point, today. But no.
Stoke City 1:2 Chelsea