It’s 0-0 at the Britannia, where Stoke City have been on top for the majority of the game so far. Chelsea have struggled to impose themselves on the match, with the Potters subjecting them to an aerial onslaught with a number of throw-ins, corners, and free-kicks. Chelsea have done enough to deal with them so far, thanks to the imposing figure of Petr Cech.
Nonetheless, Andre Villas-Boas will be concerned that Chelsea are failing to control the game. The Blues have been unable to fashion any clear-cut chances, with Stoke asking far more questions of the Chelsea defence. Fernando Torres, who was chosen ahead of Didier Drogba, has looked lively but has struggled to provide any real penetration.
There was a controversial incident when Stoke felt they ought to have had a penalty near the end of the first half, after a bouncing ball in the box rolled off John Terry’s shoulder, but it would have been a harsh call on the Chelsea captain. Shortly afterwards, Stoke had their best chance of the half, as Rory Delap intercepted Alex’s wayward pass and clipped in a fine cross which just evaded Kenwyne Jones.
Tony Pulis will be pleased so far and no doubt demand more of the same from his men, though there are questions here for Villas-Boas. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea can deal with Stoke’s aerial assault for another 45 minutes – particularly without Drogba and Ivanovic to provide additional height in the team.