It was a cold and windy night at the Britannia Stadium as the league leaders were up against a team that had secured 16 points in 9 games against the top half of the table, only second to Manchester City. Jose Mourinho was up against a manager who has earned the most points playing against him.
The Portuguese manager opted to go for the double padlock playing Mikel and Matic together behind Fabregas donning the number 10 role. Chelsea ensured they would be leading the pack going into the Christmas week with John Terry having scored within 95 seconds from the Kick-off. Cesc Fabregas killed the game in the 78th minute with another neat finish. A hard fought victory with plenty of physical battles between the two sides saw Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea earn three important points.
It is also the fourth time on Christmas that Chelsea will be top of the table. The last time it happened under Mourinho on two occasions, and Chelsea won the League each time. Omens, anyone?
2′ John Terry
Ivanovic’s hard shot was deflected, earning a corner. Terry got the better of Geoff Cameron from a physical battle in the box and quickly rose above the defence to head the ball home. Cesc Fabregas earned his 12th assist in 17 games. This was the Captain London’s 60th goal on his 650th appearance in club football.
78′ Cesc Fabregas
Eden Hazard was given just enough space, and the Belgian swooped in a perfect ball for the Spaniard in the box. Cesc made a great first touch, taking it away from the defenders and completely mis-hit the shot but got enough on it to fool Begovic and to bobble it into the net. Fabregas’ lucky goal was his second in the league this season. He has now been involved in 14 Premier League goals this season.
Stoke certainly gave it their all, but the Premier League leaders were disciplined and had the game under control most of the time. John Terry’s early goal certainly gave the Blues the comfort they needed and Stoke lost their way in all the physical battles that went on throughout the game.
A hard earned victory for Chelsea aided with the benefit of a clean sheet makes the defence a hard nut to crack. Mourinho’s men stay 3 points clear of the champions from Eastlands. Given that a bulk of weekend matches are coming up; it will be interesting to see how the Portuguese manager holds on to the lead. As far as records go, Jose Mourinho has gone on to win the title every time his side has been top of the table at Christmas.
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi