On the back of a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton, Chelsea flexed their muscles again at Stamford Bridge with a 5-0 demolition of Stoke City, who are reportedly considering the position of their manager, Mark Hughes.
Game over by half-time
The Blues had just three days to prepare for the match against the Potters but showed no signs of tiredness as they went in hunt of goals right from the start. Stoke were handed the worst possible start when Willian’s third-minute cross from the right-hand side was powered in by the head of Antonio Rudiger inside the six-yard box.
This set the tone for the rest of the match and it was 2-0 inside ten minutes as Danny Drinkwater opened his Chelsea account. Pedro’s attempted cross was blocked and fell to the former Leicester star, who brought the ball down on his thigh before cushioning a lovely volley into the top corner from all of 25 yards.
Without Ryan Shawcross and Kurt Zouma at the back, Stoke were all over the place at the back and had Butland to thank on several occasions, which included denying an almost certain goal from Alvaro Morata in the 14th minute. However, the English stopper couldn’t keep out Pedro’s curling effort from the edge of the box in the 23rd minute as the Spaniard pushed the ball past Josh Tymon, who was plying his first Premier League match, before finding the bottom corner with a perfect strike.
The last 20 minutes of the first half didn’t see Antonio Conte’s side add to their three-goal lead and it should have been pegged back to just two goals as Mame Biram Diouf got past the Chelsea defence before slotting the ball into the bottom corner, only for the linesman to incorrectly flag the Senegalese frontman offside.
Hughes’ side had another chance just after the restart and Thibaut Courtois was equal to a well-placed Saido Berahino effort. After that missed opportunity, the hosts regained control and it was Morata again who squandered a one-on-one chance before Willian was bundled over in the box by Geoff Cameron. The Brazilian, who has confirmed he won’t be going anywhere during the January transfer window, stepped up and slotted the penalty down the middle.
With just two minutes left of the 90, Davide Zappacosta made it five with a left-footed strike that found its way into the bottom right corner. Drinkwater’s searching ball over the top of the Stoke defence was headed away by Tymon and the Italian full-back ran onto it and finished the match off brilliantly for his team.
Chelsea were lucky to come up against one of the top-flight’s most out-of-form sides, who have won just twice in their last 11 league matches and made no mistake as they came away with a very good win. The Blues face Arsenal in their next match on the 3rd and will want to take Saturday’s performance into the London derby.