Five star Blues punish the Potters
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea ended the year at Stamford Bridge with a home fixture against Stoke City and it only took the Blues three minutes to open the scoring following a foul by Ramadan Sobhi on Victor Moses, and from Willian’s free kick, a powerful header by Antonio Rudiger, crashed into the left side of the net. On five minutes, a deep delivery by Cesar Azpilicueta, went past Alvaro Morata, before the Potters keeper, Jack Butland, collected the ball. Four minutes later, after the ball was put across by Pedro, it took a nick off Mame Biram Diouf, and with an accomplished finish, Danny Drinkwater, curled his strike into the top right corner. It was free and easy for the Blues, as Morata sliced the ball high and over the top through an assist by Marcos Alonso, in the tenth minute. From a quick release of the ball by Thibaut Courtois, a pass forward from Willian, cleared the way for Morata, whose shot was stopped at close range by Butland, before the ball deflected behind off Kevin Wimmer, for a corner which was taken by Willian, and off a half hearted clearance by Diouf, a slash at the ball by Drinkwater, sailed over the upright, in the fourteenth minute. Within a minute, Morata was brought down by Wimmer, and a long range free kick from Willian, flew out of play. In the twenty first minute, after playing a one two with Morata, a snatched shot by Pedro, was caught from the left by Butland. But on twenty three minutes from a sideways pass to the right by Willian, on the turn, Pedro drilled the ball into the bottom left corner, to put the Blues out of sight at three nil. Diouf got the first card for hacking down Morata, and from Willian’s free kick on the left side, it required Butland to push the ball away with both hands. On twenty nine minutes, Pedro returned a favour to Willian, whose low strike was clasped upon by Butland. Finally when the Potters found the back of the net, Diouf’s goal was disallowed for handball, from a ball over by Charlie Adam, on thirty eight minutes. Before the half time break, after N’Golo Kante’s delivery, ricocheted back off Wimmer, a delicate chip by Pedro, went over the frame of the goal. But five minutes into the second half, a through ball by Adam, cleared the way for Saido Berahino, but with just Courtois to beat, the Chelsea keeper got the better of him, as he dived to his left to turn the ball away. On fifty six minutes, from a pull back by Alonso, the ball was driven wide of the right post by Pedro. The Blues then switched Moses with Davide Zappacosta. Just before the hour mark, after Willian’s flick on, Butland got the measure of Morata, to turn the ball behind for a corner, which Willian took and fired out to the left, which Pedro riffled from distance, before Butland parried his shot away. Another Chelsea change saw Kante removed for Tiemoue Bakayoko. In the sixty eighth minute, Bakayoko, shielded the ball for Willian, whose right footed strike from outside the box was covered by Butland in the goal mouth. Within a minute, Willian’s cross was turned over by Pedro, in the centre of the box. The Potters brought on Julien Ngoy for Ibrahim Afellay and the Blues also changed Morata with Michy Batshuayi. A rash challenge by Geoff Cameron on Willian, in the area, had referee, Kevin Friend, pointing to the spot, and Willian converted the spot kick, straight down the left side of the net, on seventy three minutes. After Adam pulled down Willian, he was then removed for Eric Maxim Chopo-Moting, which then followed with Alonso pushing the free kick across to Pedro, who struck a low shot into Butland. On eighty eight minutes, an over the top ball by Drinkwater, was poorly headed out by Ramadan Sobhi, and to end 2017 in style, Zappacosta, put a low strike into the bottom right corner, from outside the box, for a resounding 5-0 score line by champagne Chelsea, whose sparking display, closed a chapter on a year as the defending Premier League champions.