Stoke City 1 Chelsea 0

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 23 November 2015

Chelsea suffered the ignominy of their seventh league defeat of the season at the hands of Stoke City this evening at the Britannia Stadium.
An Marko Arnautovic strike early jn the second half, downed the champions, and they slipped a place to 16th in the Premier League.
With Jose Mpurinho banned from the ground Steve Holland took charge and to be honest, the Blues did everything but create sufficient chances.
They huffed and puffed, even hit the post from Pedro but could not show the pace and guile the final third of the pitch to shake a resolute Stoke rearguard.
Is this the end of Mourinho. It should not be on this showing. But its a case now of watch this space.
Right from the off, Stoke pressed and Xherdan Shaqiri tried an audacious overhead kick that failed to deliver, as it zoomed high and wide of ex-Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic's crossbar after just 30 seconds.
Chelsea instantly countered with Pedro slashing the ball over Jack Butland's crossbar from close range.
An Eden Hazard breakaway on 15 minutes almost reaped dividends foe the Blues but Ramires's snap shot feom the edge of the Stoke penalty area inched wide of goal.
A stupendous save by Begovic on 17 minutes thwarted ex-Chelsea right-back Glen Johnson. Begovic dived to his right to party away Johnson's crafty low left-footer.
Butland was soon in action - brilliantly tipping over a 25-yard Ramires half-volley for a corner as the Blues looked menacing on the breakaway.
seconds later, on 23 minutes, Kurt Zouma was inches away from a dipping Willian free-kick.
Costa was in a similar situation a minute later after an excellent defence-splitting ball found Hazard on the left. The drive across goal just eluded the Brazil-born Spain striker at the far post.
A brilliant exchange between Pedro and Costa on 41 minutes saw the striker stride into the Stoke penalty area. He let fly with a low drive, which Butland did well to kick away.
Neither side made a substitution at half-time.
The early flurry mirrored the opening period of the first half, with the hime side in the ascendancy, hoping to snatch a goal and dent Chelsea's confidence.
Following a period of aggressive play from both sides, Stoke took advantage of a break in Chelsea concentration on 53 minutes to open the score. Attacking on the right the ball, was fed across the Chelsea six-yard line and Marko Arnautovic was on the spot to hook a deft right-foot into the Chelsea goal. Begovic managed to get a hand on the ball, but was unable to keep it out.
While Stoke continued to press forward, the Blues could count themselves unlucky on 67 minutes when a Hazard-inspired pass found Pedro on the edge of the Stoke area. He took two touches before unleashing a left-footer that beat Butland but the ball bounced off his right post to safety. With Jose Mourinho banned from the Stadium, the job of managing the team fell to assistant manager. Steve Holland who replaced Pedro and Baba for Oscar and Fabregas on 71 minutes.
This was folowed by striker Loic Remy for Ramires five minutes later.
Remy almost repaid Holland's faith with six minutes on the clock. Latching into a Costa through-ball, the striker jumped over Butland, but faltered, failing to regain his balance and his shot went wide.
Stoke hung on as the Blues went all out attack. Will Mourinho be around for the next instalment of the Cheksea soaf opera against Norwich City after the international break?
If the Chelsea fans at the groun have their way, then yes.

 

Teams: chelsea, Begovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Terry, Rahman, Ramires, Matic, Willian, Pedro, Hazard, Costa
Subs: Amelia, Fabregas, Oscar, Mikel, Kenedy, Remy, Cahill

Stoke City: Butland, Johnson, Shaw ross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Whelen, Adam, Shaqiri, Bojan, Arnautovic, Walters
Subs: Haugaard, Ireland, Wilson, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Crouch

Referee: Antony Taylor

 

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