Chelsea 2-1 Stoke City - One game closer to the title!
Chelsea took another stride towards the Premier League title with an all important three points against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge wit...
Chelsea took another stride towards the Premier League title with an all important three points against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge with goals from Eden Hazard and Loic Remy after Charlie Adam scored a ridiculous strike from 60 yards! The negative from the game is that we have lost Diego Costa after he lasted just ten minutes in the second half.
It was always going to be a hard game against Stoke or that's what we had thought beforehand. However, Chelsea came out and literally dominated the half of football with around 74% percent possession in the early stages.
Our pressing was good and we forced the turnover of the ball in really good positions to put our opponents under pressure. Chelsea were literally camped inside the Stoke half and it seemed that we would make a breakthrough sooner rather than later.
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Eden Hazard, who was by far and away the Man of the Match yesterday, dribbled his way from right to left, across the box and tested Begovic was a strike but again was saved low down by the keeper to deny Chelsea at 0-0.
Then, on 37 minutes, some great passing from the Blues opened up the Stoke defence and Fabregas received the ball inside the right hand side of the box. As the defender came across and slid in, Fabregas checked back and he was fouled for a penalty. Eden Hazard stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the net to make it 1-0 and was well deserved on the balance of play.
So, we had the lead, looked comfortable and had no danger to worry about from the opposition when Charlie Adam produced a moment of magic to make it 1-1. Picking the ball up inside his own half, he looked up, spotted Courtois off his line at the edge of his box and blasted a 60 yard effort over Courtois and into the net. The big Belgian keeper could do nothing to stop it. It was a fantastic strike!
So we come out in the second half and you expect Chelsea to dominate once again - which we did. Costa had come on for Oscar and it looked as though we had switched to 4-4-2 so you expect us to create more chances - which we did but nothing really clear cut as Stoke were more than happy to sit deep and defend.
Then the blow to Costa. Fabregas plays a long ball over the top for him to chase and he starts too but within seconds pulls up and signals to the bench that this time, the hamstring has well and truly gone and it looks far worse than it did against Hull. It was a chance Mourinho had to take but unfortunately it went the other way.
Then the breakthrough and another cracking performance from Willian. Willian is busy all game and demonstrates fantastic stamina. He was close second to Hazard in my eyes but it was his determination to win the ball that led to our winner.
Begovic in the Stoke goal rolls the ball out to one of his defenders but Willian is onto it like a flash. He wins the ball dead centre around 35 yards out and feeds the ball to Hazard. Hazard again dead centre heads into the box and takes away two defenders and the goalkeeper, slides the ball to his left to Loic Remy who slots home into the empty net to make it 2-1. Fantastic from Hazard AGAIN.
Apart from Nzonzi hitting the post with an effort from outside the box and curling an effort over the bar, Stoke never really caused us any real panic in the game. In fact, Chelsea could have made it three but for Begovic in goal who denied Cuadrado from close range not once but twice within seconds of each other.
Chelsea won the game, took three points and are now a step closer to the title. We have some massive games coming up now but maintain the gap to our rivals. At times we were too slow and laboured but others we were fantastic.
As for Eden Hazard? Even though he claimed he was tired, he is still by far and away the best player in the Premier League this season!