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Stoke 0-2 Chelsea


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Stoke City 0 - 2 Chelsea F.C.

September 27 2008, Premier League, Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent


Jose Bosingwa scored once and set up Nicolas Anelka as Chelsea cruised past Stoke.

The Portuguese defender opened the scoring by slamming the ball home after being played in by Frank Lampard, before substitute Anelka added a second to wrap up the points. Thomas Sorenson brilliantly denied Florent Malouda by palming his effort on to the bar, and John Mikel Obi cleared the ball off the line in the second period to maintain Chelsea's advantage. The result means Chelsea continue their excellent early season form and protect their 27-game unbeaten run in the league, and return to the summit of the Premier League for a matter of hours at the least.

With Ricardo Carvalho and Deco still nursing injuries, Michael Ballack and Alex continued in their place, whilst Salomon Kalou was brought in for Joe Cole. Didier Drogba started in place of Anelka, who was on the bench.

And it was the visitors who dictated the pace of the game, clearly buoyed by their excellent performance against Portsmouth in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, and could have gone ahead as early as the seventh minute. Michael Ballack forced a good save out of Sorenson; the German midfielder lashing a right-footed effort goal bound, only to see the former Aston Villa goalkeeper palm the ball over. From the resulting corner, it was again Ballack who caused trouble in the box, but Sorenson did well to claim the ball whilst under pressure from Blues skipper John Terry.

Lampard unlocked the Stoke defence moments afterwards, unleashing the fit-again Drogba, but the Ivorian's effort was blocked by the keeper's legs, and the early chances the Blues had failed to capitalise on suggested a frustrating afternoon was ahead.

It was from a Stoke City attack that Chelsea took the advantage with 9 minutes remaining in the first half. Sidibie sent a looping header towards the far post that Cech did well to clutch, and a quick look up from the Chelsea stopper saw Mikel in space. The Nigerian exchanged passes with Lampard, allowing the England midfielder to pick out Jose Bosingwa, who had made a marauding run from the defence. The Portuguese full-back took a touch in the area before lashing the ball beyond Sorenson into the far corner.

It was a goal that illustrated the Blues' brilliant attacking prowess and from there on, it was Chelsea who seized complete control of the game, enjoying the lion's share of possession and territory as the first half came to a close.

At half-time, Chelsea gaffer Luiz Felipe Scolari brought on French striker Nicolas Anelka in place of the relatively quiet Kalou, who had failed to impress after scoring against both Manchester United and then Pompey in the league cup. Immediately, the Blues looked to settle and almost had a second goal to reflect their total control of the game, as Malouda saw his shot magnificently pushed onto the bar by Sorenson.

Stoke soon after brought on Ricardo Fuller and the presence of the Jamaican put the Blues backline under significant pressure, but Alex and Terry were standing firm at the back for Chelsea. Mikel, who had brilliantly shielded the defence from Stoke pressure throughout the game, highlighted his importance to the Chelsea side moments later when he headed Leon Cort's effort clear. The defender looked to have found an equaliser but the Nigerian international came to his side's rescue, and the loose ball was subsequently cleared by Bosingwa.

Belletti came on for Drogba with twenty minutes left, and the Brazilian - the focus of many chants from the away fans - fired the Blues on the path to a second goal. Feeding Bosingwa, the Portuguese defender launched a cross towards the penalty spot, where Leon Cort could only chest the ball into the path of the awaiting Anelka, who had the easiest of tasks to fire beyond a stranded Sorenson to secure the points for the away side.

Lampard should have put the Blues 3-0 to the good put fired straight at the goalkeeper when Ballack thread him through and the German himself could have had a goal, but his effort floated just wide of the base of the far post. Malouda and Ashley Cole were looking threatening down the left hand side and the dangerous Bosingwa was in his attacking element, but Scolari's side opted to play the remaining few minutes out against a tired home side.

It was a job well done and a thoroughly rewarding and professional performance.

Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Cort, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Lawrence (Tonge), Diao, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Kitson (Fuller ), Sidibe (Faye)

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Obi, Kalou (Anelka), Ballack (Ferreira), Lampard, Malouda, Drogba (Belletti)

Attendance: 27,500.

Star Man : Bosingwa


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