Contrary to our initial assumption, Stoke City did not change shape to a 4-2-3-1 due to their injury crisis but retained their 3-4-3 formation with a pair of full-backs, Erik Pieters and Glen Johnson playing as center-backs with Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi functioning as right and left-sided wing-backs respectively.
The home side started the game playing a very high line, which was a rather bold move and led to Alvaro Morata latching on to Cesar Azpilicueta’s long ball from deep, and calmly slotting past Jack Butland for Chelsea’s opener after only two minutes played. However, the Potters continued to press intently and put pressure on the Chelsea defence, even looking the better side for a short spell in the game. Chelsea have been keeping them at an arm’s length thus far but haven’t been afforded much time on the ball, hence going long and direct to Morata on multiple occasions; Darren Fletcher’s errant back-pass found Pedro in the 28th minute and led to Chelsea scoring their second goal with a beautiful finish from just inside the box.
We’ve only had two attempts on goal so far, both of which have found the back of the net but Stoke, albeit good on the ball, haven’t been very threatening either.
Second half, here we come!