It finished goalless at the Britannia Stadium as Stoke City held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw. Stoke were the better side in the first half of a relatively open match, with Chelsea growing into the game as it went on, but both sides were unable to break the deadlock, with both defences comfortably on top.
Fernando Torres and Ramires were the bright sparks for Chelsea, providing most of their creativity, but even after Drogba was brought on, Chelsea looked unable to force a clear chance. Anelka and Kalou went close, the former having a shot tipped onto the bar by the excellent Asmir Begovic, and the latter wasting Chelsea’s best chance of the game by nodding a header straight to the Bosnian goalkeeper.
Stoke had plenty of opportunities to attack Chelsea with set-pieces, but they were well dealt with by the Chelsea defence and Petr Cech. A tough start for Andre Villas-Boas, but far from a disaster. The Portuguese boss may have something to say about the number of penalty shouts Chelsea had, however, with several in the second half being waved away. None of them were clear-cut, but Stoke were lucky to escape when Frank Lampard went down over Marc Wilson’s outstretched leg.
Tony Pulis, on the other hand, will be pleased with his side’s display. There’s probably more to come from both of these teams – further investment is expected from both teams, and the next time these two meet at Stamford Bridge, we could see two very different sides. All in all, a fair result – better for the Potters than the Blues, but Villas-Boas will not be too worried at this stage.