Stoke City v Chelsea Match Report
Next game for Chelsea
Chelsea got off to a flier at the Bet365 stadium, despite the absence of Eden Hazard. Chelsea wasted no time in taking the game to their opponents. Good work by Tiemoue Bakayoko breaking up play had the Blues on for a, now famous, counter-attack. A through ball by, captain for the day, Cesar Azpilicueta, found Alvaro Morata on the left side of the penalty area, where he unleashed a right footed shot across the keeper and into the bottom right-hand corner just two minutes into the game. Morata puts to bed the theory that he can only score with his head. That`s four goals and two assists in six premier league starts for Spaniard.
Despite going a goal behind Stoke reacted well and retained good possession without really threatening Chelsea`s solid backline. Chelsea were good enough to up their game and as they came back into it more a mistake by Darren Fletcher saw the lead doubled. Stoke`s captain tried to chest the ball back to his own keeper, but didn`t put enough on it, and Pedro was allowed to nip in and fire past Butland.
A good half of football by both teams but for Stoke there was no end product, Chelsea had just two shots, both on target, both in the back of the net, clinical. For their trouble the Potters mustered five shots, none of which troubled Thibaut Courtois` goal. Half time and Chelsea led 2-0.
Into the second period and there were no substitutes made by either side. Stoke stepped things up from the off, first player into the referee`s notebook was Shaqiri for a challenge on Andreas Christensen that the ref called as foul, Shaqiri disagreed and was booked for dissent.
Minutes later Marcos Alonso was involved in a tussle with Mame Diouf, in which the Spaniard believed he been caught, nothing was given. Shortly after Alonso was given a yellow card for a heavy tackle. Alonso, clearly wound up continued, clipped Diouf again by which time Antonio Conte had seen enough. Alonso was taken off, before the red mist he was seeing resulted in a red card. Sensible from Conte, following a gaggle of red cards for the Blues recently. Gary Cahill was his replacement.
Shortly before the substitution N`golo Kante also found himself with a yellow card after a series tackles flying in from both sides. With 61 minutes on the clock, Mark Hughes called on the big man, Peter Crouch, he entered the fray replacing Jese. Good move by Hughes as Chelsea often struggle against tall strikers.
Tibo was in the wars, following a corner which he punched clear before falling awkwardly and appearing to be knocked out. He wasn`t and was OK to carry on. Goalscorer Pedro was substituted with 20 minutes remaining and was applauded off by the away support. Cesc Fabregas slotted into midfield. Shortly after, Eden Hazard had another run out as he looks to regain full match fitness, replacing Willian. The appearance of Crouch had re-energised Stoke, but it was Chelsea`s celebrated new son, Alvaro Morata who got the away fans singing his name, and just his name. Stoke lost the ball in Chelsea`s half and Morata ran at the Stoke team before slotting the ball home from a tight angle past Jack Butland to make the scoreline 3-0.
There was simply no stopping Chelsea and Morata now, just five minutes later, a ball into the box was chested down by Azpilicueta, into the path of Morata who, tucked it away completing his first hat-trick in a Chelsea shirt. It`s fair to say his move to Stamford Bridge has gone pretty well so far. That`s six in six for the ex Real Madrid man plus the two assists.
By this point Stoke, for all their effort, had been well and truly stuffed. A telling stat at the end of the game show`s how off their game they were. Chelsea made 14 fouls to Stoke`s meagre 4 during the whole game. Sad times for the Potters.