On a cold and tough winter night, Chelsea paid a visit to Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City. The Potters showed what they always do, their physicality. But Jose’s men were equally competent to resist every possible challenge and go on to win the game by 2 goals to nil.
A typical game away to Stoke, it gave us a few points to remember and move on with Boxing Day fixture coming up next.
Here’s a look at the five things we learned:
Only one John Terry!
The captain stood up and gave his team what was required to face a rough and tough Stoke side, motivation by an early goal. In the 2nd minute of the game, Terry headed the ball at the back of the net through a Fabregas corner as he stood tall to every challenge put on him inside the box, by Stoke players. Asmir Begovic couldn’t even get a hand on the powerfully headed shot in the middle of the net as Chelsea saw themselves going ahead by 1-0. Rest of the game was controlled well by our back four, led by John Terry as they were solid enough to prevent any major threat to Courtois.
Diego Costa proved a point
The Spanish striker has always been criticized for only being good at finishing scoring chances. He’s always at a back-foot when it comes to dribbling past opposition players. But last night Costa proved that goalscoring is not the only thing he’s good at. Yes he couldn’t find the net, but when it came to hold-up play and physicality, he made life difficult for Stoke better than anyone else. His involvement in the player battles, especially with Ryan Shawcross, were some of the most interesting parts of the game. In fact, there was this one occasion on which the Spaniard came close to scoring when in the 31st minute he got behind Shawcross to receive a ball from Fabregas, but saw his shot missing the goal by inches.
Chelsea’s flexibility is remarkable
Perhaps, that’s the sign of a team sitting at the top of the table since the beginning of season. Bring any situation in front of this team and they are ready to get past it, on their way to winning the Premier League title. Last night when the temperature dropped severely and to add up to the risk of injuries, Stoke played their aggressive and physical game, Jose Mourinho’s team kept on playing ‘their own game with the ball’. This was enough to frustrate the home team and fans. Good enough for their players, especially Phil Bardsley, to indulge in fouls as ugly as shirt-pulling of Diego Costa. Nobody knows why Bardsley was still on the pitch for the whole game! Jose gave his respect to the Chelsea fans who didn’t stop chanting for their team and manager at the Britannia Stadium. “Players in this country deserve respect for playing at this time of year, and they get that from fans as stadiums are full”, said he. Not just the players, but hats off to the flexibility of those fans as well!
Cesc Fabregas is a true maestro
The 27-year-old Spaniard was involved in almost every big thing that happened in the game. His set-piece expertise and John Terry’s heading abilities set off Chelsea to a flying start with an early lead. With Mikel playing alongside Matic, keeping in mind Stoke’s physical play, Fabregas was chosen over Oscar to play at No.10 position. And he fulfilled the duty in style, when he finished the game for Stoke by scoring Chelsea’s 2nd goal in the 78th minute. He received a pass from Eden Hazard inside the penalty box and kind of trolled Shawcross when he rounded off the defender to hit a shot on goal, after which the ball eventually went inside the net after Begovic had managed to get a hand to it. And how was it possible that the passing maestro doesn’t prove his passing skills? In the 31st minute he set Diego Costa ahead of Stoke’s defence, without any chance of the off-side flag being raised, as the striker missed the goal by a few inches.
Chelsea 3 points clear of City, 10 clear of United!
T o those who said that Chelsea will drop points by the end of December and see their 1st position in danger, we have retained the three points lead over City and are still at top of the table. Although we have some tough fixtures coming our way with West Ham(home), Southampton(away), and Tottenham (away) being the next three in a span of 10 days, who is to say that we can’t grab all the three points from them? Time will tell what these winter fixtures have in store for us. But for now, we are going into the festive season sitting at the 1st position, 3 points clear of 2nd placed Man City! #KTBFFH #InJoseWeTrust
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt