Chelsea Held By Battling Stoke

Posted: August 14, 2011 by callummaclean in Chelsea, English Premier League, Match Report

André Villas-Boas’ first Premier League game in charge of Chelsea finished in a 0-0 draw after a tough encounter against a physical Stoke City side.

The early stages were contested between the two defences, with John Terry, Robert Huth, Alex and Ryan Shawcross all getting involved, with Fernando Torres being on the receiving end of a few tough tackles throughout the game. Torres, starting the game, looked like a completely different player to last season, getting about and trying to get in on goal, leading to a Shawcross booking. There was an early penalty shout, when Salomon Kalou went down under a Glen Whelan challenge, but referee Mark Halsey didn’t give a penalty, which was only met by lighthearted appeals.

Rory Delap was using his trademark throw-ins in the early stages, yet they caused the Chelsea defence, and Petr Čech, little trouble. It was a physical game throughout, and more of a test of strength and power over footballing skill at times, with niggling fouls up and down the pitch.

In the 24th minute, a lapse of concentration from Ashley Cole let Jonathan Walters though, but his effort was parried away by Čech. Seven minutes later, Chelsea made an attack of note, with Ramires making a run through the defence, but his cross wasn’t met by anyone. On 32 minutes, Frank Lampard had a free-kick cleared away on the second attempt, much to Stoke’s disgust.

When Stoke next had a chance to attack, there was an appeal for handball against Terry, though it would’ve been harsh to penalise him for it. With one minute of added time to end the first half battle without any end product, Torres proved it right with a dribble through the Stoke defence, only to scuff the shot wide.

As the second half began, Jermaine Pennant won a corner in a bright start from the home side, though nothing came from it. On 50 minutes, Ramires had a snapshot which was sent wide. Three minutes later, Torres, in a crowded penalty area had an airshot which he then tried to turn into a penalty shout, which wasn’t given. John Obi Mikel, a few seconds later, brought out a fantastic save from Asmir Begović with a dipping volley from the edge of the box, which had followed another penalty shout, this time Frank Lampard thinking he been the victim of a foul.

The second half then evolved into end-to-end football, with each team having a go at putting pressure on the defence one after another, though an injury to Matthew Etherington broke that up, leading to continuous pressure from the Chelsea attack. On 63 minutes, a powerful effort from Malouda was comfortably saved by Begović. Chelsea’s first booking came in the 65th minute, when Ashley Cole was booked for a hard challenge on Pennant, though he seemed to win the ball.

Begović was forced to make another brilliant save on 71 minutes, as Nicolas Anelka attempted a lob which was tipped onto the bar. Kalou was then given space in the box, though his header was saved. In the 74th minute, an Alex header forced another save. Whelan then fired in an effort for Stoke before Torres made Begović make another save, though he was rightly called for offside. On 78 minutes, Marc Wilson was booked for a bodycheck on José Bosingwa. In the 81st minute, Didier Drogba attempted one of his trademark free-kicks, yet his effort was easily saved by Begović. Lampard was then booked in 87th minute.

With five minutes added on at the end on the game, Drogba had another go at a free-kick, but it went into the wall. A Stoke free-kick at the end of the game was cleared by the Chelsea defence as Halsey blew for full-time. A positive showing by both teams, though Chelsea will feel they should of won for dominating most of the second half.

  1. DanaBlue says:

    Great report. I’m actually happy with coming from the Britannia Stadium with 1 point and no injuries. Especially important that Torres seems to be back to form. He looked very sharp and worked hard.

    Any chance of you making a CHELSEA HEADACHE logo. I need one for my Chelsea diaries

  2. GaryCRobertson says:

    It’s certainly something that will be considered in the near future. Got any logo ideas?

    • Take a walk around Stamford Bridge, look at signs, photo angles of various parts of the area, then I’, sure the ideas will come rushing.
      Keep up the good work, I really like your writing

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