Chelsea succeeded where Liverpool had failed,coming out on top of a stubborn Stoke side.They varied their tactics throughout the game,moving the ball about quickly and skillfully through the centre of midfield and down both wings,avoiding, as far as possible, getting involved in serious physical battles which would better have suited Stoke.
The Potters had the misfortune to be without not so secret weapon Rory Delap,worryingly out with a damaged shoulder.His place was taken by Cresswell,otherwise the Stoke team was the one that played most of the game against Liverpool.
Early doors a dipping 25 yard shot from Ballack was tipped over the bar by Sorensen. Chelsea opened up the home defence on two or three occasions.Sorensen made a super save with his left foot when one on one with Drogba six yards out from goal,as the Chelsea forward was played in by Lampard's deft ball over the top of Stoke's defenders.
Ashley Cole and Boswinga,a modest £16million purchase,moved quickly and dangerously respectively down the left and right wings.Chelsea's first goal came from the latter as Stoke were unable to regroup defensively having ventured upfield.On 35 minutes Boswinga moved at speed down the right side,made a diagonal run toward the Stole goal.Again Lampard played a ball over the top of the retreating Stoke defenders to Boswinga's feet.His cross cum shot was helped into the net by Griffin in his desperate attempt to clear.
Stoke had a little more of the play in the second half,and retained the ball better when they had possession.Certainly they represented more of a threat on the Chelsea goal-without forcing Cech into major saves - once Fuller came on for Kitson.A mistake by Faye presented Chelsea with a shot on goal which Sorensen did brilliantly to get a hand on,deflecting the ball up onto the crossbar,and away to safety.
The second Chelsea goal(76 mins) resulted from another Stoke defensive mistake.A failed attempt by Leon Cort to control Boswinga's awkward cross in from the right saw the ball run to Anelka who hit a shot first time low to Sorensen's right and into the net.
Chelsea were altogether too sharp and skillful for Stoke to handle at times.You had the feeling that had Stoke managed to score Chelsea could have upped their game.That said....no disgrace!