Stoke City v Chelsea FC –
Final Score/Result: Stoke 3-2 Chelsea
Man Of The Match: Andre Schurrle
Chelsea FC suffered their third away defeat of the season as Oussama Assaidi scores a screamer to win it for Stoke City.
Chelsea have already dropped 13 points on the road in the league and we are yet to reach the halfway point of the season. This loss has now provided Arsenal with an opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of the table to seven points if they beat Everton at home today. Perhaps the most worrying factor for Jose Mourinho is the fact that his side has now conceded six goals in their last two games, which is very unlike a side managed by the Portuguese mastermind.
Stoke City have meanwhile jumped up to 12th with the win for the time being, although Hull City can overtake them with a win against Swansea on Monday. But for Mark Hughes it will come as a huge relief as they are now four points clear of the relegation zone. Stoke City have now lost just once in their last seven Premier League matches and have suffered just one defeat at home this season in all competitions. Their home form will be critical as we head towards the business end of the season.
Chelsea started the match brightly and Andre Schurrle Willian, who replaced in the side for this game, opened the scoring with a wonderful long range effort in the 9th minute. The 23-year-old twisted and turned with the ball and made space for himself to shoot and it was a world class finish past a goalkeeper like Begovic.
But Stoke City levelled the score just before the halftime. Marko Arnautovic’s corner somehow reached Peter Crouch inside the box and the lanky forward had the time to set himself up and bury it past Petr Cech as the Chelsea defence was slow to react. It was a massive boost for the home side and they came out after the break with a lot of positive intent.
It took only five minutes into the second half for Stoke City to take the lead for the first time in the game. Jonathan Walters found himself in space on the right flank and travelled with the ball before finding Stephen Ireland, who came on as a substitute to replace Charlie Adam in the first half. The former Manchester City midfielder scored a wonderful goal from the edge of the box with a delightful left footed curler. The shot was so wonderfully placed that Petr Cech could only stand and watch.
But it took Chelsea only three minutes to respond to that goal and Andre Schurrle once again popped up with beautiful strike. The goal arrived from a set-piece as Peter Crouch failed to properly clear Juan Mata’s delivery. The ball broke to Schurrle outside the box and the German international buried it at the back of the net with a powerful low drive.
Schurrle was very close to providing Chelsea with the lead once again as just four minutes later. His wonderful effort from the edge of the box struck the crossbar. Stoke City missed a glorious opportunity as well few minutes later as Stephen Ireland failed to hit the target after being set up by Crouch. Mourinho brought on the likes of Demba Ba, Eto’o and Lampard, but Chelsea weren’t able to score the decisive goal. Instead, it was Liverpool winger who was to have to last laugh in this game.
Oussama Assaidi, who joined Stoke on loan from Liverpool this season, came on as a substitute in the 84th minute of the match and just six minutes later he scored the winner. It was his first goal in the Premier League and what a goal it was! Ireland found him with a pass on the left wing and the 25-year-old Moroccan drove at Ivanovic before shifting the ball to his right and smashed it into the top corner from the edge of the box. It was a screamer and in a match where a lot of wonderful goals were scored, this topped it all.
Jose Mourinho was visibly upset with the result, but credited Mark Hughes’ side for their effort.
“I don’t feel very comfortable to tell you exactly what I think about the game.
“I prefer to be simple and pragmatic and say that we scored one goal less than them and we lost.
“I can’t analyse with you certain aspects of the game, or individual performances.
“I don’t want to take credit away from them. If I was Mark (Hughes), I’d be upset if the opposition manager just said ‘we lost’. They did something to get a point… maybe not to win.” – The Chelsea manager told the press.
Mourinho also expressed concerns about his defence which has looked extremely vulnerable off late. He also rued the fact that his side not only failed to kill the game in the first half, but also conceded an equalizer.
“It’s a big concern. I don’t organise my teams this way. Individual mistakes sometimes kill a team, and the way we work.
“But, there are also the goals we didn’t score. In the first half, we had lots of occasions in which a simple movement and finish would have meant the job was done. We should score more goals than we did.
“Our first half was fantastic. There was a great quality of football, and we dominated. We had dozens of situations when we won the ball back… but we didn’t kill the game.
“By conceding late in the first half, we gave life to an opponent who was in big trouble. In the second half, they had more life. It was less of football – free-kick, yellow card, push here, pull there – and it was more difficult to play.
“I am not looking at opponents directly. I am looking to my team, and my performance.
“The big problem for me is the way we play. The other day at Sunderland, we conceded goals at set pieces and today we had another one – but don’t speak to me about organisation, because it’s not about that.
“We don’t score enough goals for the football we play.” – He added.
Mourinho was also asked about the main differences between his previous Chelsea squad and the current lot. He said –
“A few! A few very important differences.
“But I have to try and get the best out of the squad I have. I see a big evolution in some players – pressing high, recovering balls, playing fast, mobility in the three players behind the striker. In my opinion, we are playing some very good football… and we concede some goals that we shouldn’t.”
Stoke City v Chelsea – Statistics
Andre Schurrle produced one of his best performances for Chelsea since joining club and was a treat to watch in this game. The German international scored the first with a wonderfully placed long ranger, while his second was powerful low drive. He was also unlucky to have not scored from another wonderful effort from the edge of the box which would have provided Chelsea the crucial lead. The above heat-map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch in the game.