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Chelsea 2-0 Stoke City: Goal by Goal

It wasn't seven this time, but two are better than none.
It wasn't seven this time, but two are better than none.

After a long road trip to Seattle and back, I'm a little glad the Blues didn't score six goals again...

1-0 Chelsea (+0.85 pt): Stoke City break up a Chelsea attack and play down their right, with Paulo Ferreira backing off Matthew Etherington until help can arrive in the form of Jon Obi Mikel. Suddenly under severe pressure and with no help from his teammates, Etherington has no option but to fire a pass to Kenwyne Jones in the centre, who is being marked by both of Chelsea's centre backs. The pass is very hard, and Jones's first touch doesn't quite corral it as the ball bounces back towards the Stoke half. Alex, who had been closer to Jones as the pass was made, slides for the loose ball and gets there in front of the Stoke striker, allowing John Terry to run onto the ball. Stoke's midfield are caught in transition and a seam opens up right down the middle for the captain to run into. Meanwhile Florent Malouda runs from left forward all the way into the centre, forcing the Stoke right-back to track him or transfer responsibility to someone else. Andy Wilkinson did neither, half-following the Frenchman into the box but presenting him with plenty of space. Terry found Malouda with a lovely rolled pass, and the ball was sent into the net with a clipped finish.

Figure 1: John Terry sets up Florent Malouda's opening goal (some Chelsea players not shown for clarity)

2-0 Chelsea (+0.19pt pen, +0.05pt conversion): Didier Drogba tries to play the ball through two Stoke players inside his own half, the ball predictably being nicked off his feet by Dean Whitehead. However, instead of getting a pass away quickly, Whitehead dallies on the ball and a poor attempted turn sees Drogba lay down a stern tackle to win back possession. As soon as the Ivorian regains his balance, he sends a long ball into the Stoke box for Nicolas Anelka to chase. Anelka beats the two Stoke centre halves to the pass but it's a little too heavy for him to control and he's forced to push the ball wide to the left, only to be sent tumbling by Thomas Sørensen for a clear penalty. With Frank Lampard off the field, Drogba steps up and wellies the ball upper left, leaving the goalkeeper with zero chance of stopping the spot kick.

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