Stoke City vs. Chelsea: Final Score 0-4, Blues run riot as Stoke succumb to self-sabotage

Chris Brunskill

Stoke City succumbed to a heavy defeat at the hands of Chelsea thanks to two own goals from Jonathan Walters, a Frank Lampard penalty and a world-class goal by Eden Hazard.

Chelsea gave Stoke City a crushing 4-0 home defeat in a rather bizarre encounter at the Britannia Stadium.

A Jonathan Walters own-goal just before half-time undid some fine play from Stoke in the first half, and the Potters soon crumbled afterwards as Chelsea came out far stronger after the break, with another Walters own-goal being added to a Frank Lampard penalty and a scorcher from Eden Hazard.

In truth, the Blues were fortunate to go in ahead at the break, and not just because of the manner of the goal. Stoke made a bright start to the game and immediately put the visitors under immense pressure, with a combination of energetic pressing and well-judged long balls giving Chelsea a torrid time. Yet despite their dominance, Stoke were unable to fashion any real chances - a mishit Glenn Whelan effort from range and a Steven Nzonzi effort from some head-tennis in the area were the closest they came.

Their misfortune was compounded just before the half-time whistle when Eden Hazard materialised down the right channel to quickly stand up a fine cross to the back post, and the onrushing Walters sent a powerful header past his own goalkeeper in his desperation to beat Juan Mata to the ball.

After half-time, Chelsea came out looking in far better shape, although Stoke could have been given a huge lifeline when Matthew Etherington was felled in the area by Cesar Azpilicueta. Yet just as referee Andre Marriner was pointing to the spot, assistant referee Sian Massey raised her flag to rightly call an offside against the Stoke winger.

The home fans were enraged by the decision, and their day was soon to get worse as Jon Walters headed a Chelsea corner past his own keeper yet again under pressure from Frank Lampard. Immediately after that, the game was out of sight for the Potters thanks to yet more self-sabotage, as Huth brought down Juan Mata in the area for a clear penalty. Despite some amusing suggestions that Jon Walters might have taken it since he was on a hat-trick, Frank Lampard stepped up to smash the ball past Begovic and give his team an unassailable lead.

Chelsea may have been feeling fortunate to have a 3-0 lead, but there was nothing lucky about their fourth, added soon afterwards as the excellent Eden Hazard capped a fine performance by picking up the ball 35 yards from goal, neatly deceiving his marker with a swivel of his hips, and crashing a dipping effort past Asmir Begovic.

Jon Walters had had a day to forget, but it was to get yet worse for him - presented with the chance to bag a consolation goal for his side after being brought down by substitute John Terry, Walters prepared to take the spot-kick, but blasted an awful penalty into orbit.

Stoke will be aggrieved to have lost so heavily against a team that they bettered for almost an entire half, but there is the sense that Stoke's 'Plan A' lacks enough finesse to give them goals when they are actually playing well. The victory itself was deserved for Chelsea, although the scoreline probably gives them a bit more credit than they deserved.

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