STOKE CITY FC 1 CHELSEA 2 (AFTER EXTRA TIME !!)
Chelsea are without doubt a class outfit.Last season they hardly broke sweat as they cruised to a two goal win.Today was very much different as they had to work really hard for the points.Fair enough Stoke rode their luck at times,but their efforts deserved a point!
Stoke took a fortunate first half lead as Abdy Faye headed home with Cech in no man's land.Prodigious Stoke effort kept the visitors at arms length until Drogba crashed home an equaliser deep into the 8 minutes of injury time.
The second half resembled the Alamo with constant Chelsea attacks being rebuffed by a valiant Stoke rearguard.Home resistance finally cracked in the third minute of added on time,Malouda netting the all important winning goal.
Tony Pulis's master plan was undone by injuries and the sun.His Land of the Giants strategy worked well in the first half.Midfielders Delap,Whelan,and Whitehead,ahead of a backline of Wilkinson ,Huth,Faye,Shawcross,and Collins,with Kitson and Beattie up front,closed the visitors down quickly.With little space to operate in they were more than a little flustered for a period in the first half.
Injuries to Sorensen and Beattie used up two of our subs,as well as generating substantial added on time.Toward the end of the game on a very hot day with some of the players visibly wilting Chelsea were able to bring on three not inconsiderable pairs of fresh legs Essien,Anelka,and Belleti,to Stoke's one in Tuncay.So despite Stoke's defensive resistance there was that feeling that Chelsea would convert one of the many chances that were creating against the fast tiring Potters.
Major disappointment then but how far we have come in twelve months....this time pushing the prospective Prem and maybe European Champions to noticeably up their game to take the points.
Proud of you lads.....