Chelsea have been making things more difficult than necessary of late, conceding the early lead before fighting back for the three points. They changed the script today though, scoring early themselves before gifting Stoke an equalizer late in the first half.
Stoke would make it 2-1 very early in the second half, as Stephen Ireland managed a goal from open play. It was an excellent finish from Ireland, but there probably should have been a whistle during the buildup to the goal. Andre Schurrle was apparently feeling like The Grinch today, and netted his second goal of the match within minutes. He nearly made it a hat trick before the hour mark, but his dipping attempt was kept out by the crossbar.
Mourinho wasn't content with a point, and brought on Samuel Eto'o and Frank Lampard with about 20 minutes left to play. While the Blues created a few chances (along with several penalty shouts), they were unable to convert one into a goal. Unfortunately, Stoke continued to take their chances and scored in the dying minutes to take all three points today. here are a few thoughts after a disappointing loss:
- While the opposition may have played a part, it's nice to see Jose Mourinho starting Frank Lampard on the bench from time to time. He does seem to play much better when he's getting regular rest, so hopefully we pick our spots with him going forward.
- Petr Cech has really been looking uncertain of late about whether or not to come for balls that eventually end up in the net. Here's hoping he gets back to his sensational best in short order, as it would certainly make overtaking Arsenal an awful lot more likely.
- It amazes me how Eden Hazard moves at the same incredible speed both with the ball at his feet and without it.
- Chelsea really need to be less wasteful with their chances if they want to finish atop the league. There is just no excusing the amount of reasonable opportunities in which we fail to even test the keeper.
- Those of you with any interest in seeing our 'B team' really ought to tune in for Vitesse and PSV later today. In the US it will be a rare opportunity to see them on a legal feed, as the game will be streamed on ESPN3 (2:40 pm EST, 11:40 am PST).
- Speaking of legal streams, how irritating is the NBC delay of about two minutes? Is it really that hard to stream things live so that social media isn't significantly ahead of the action?