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Chelsea 2 Stoke City 0: match report
Published : 28 Aug 2010 17:09:12
Just the two for Chelsea this week, then, but to a home contingent reared on gourmet cuisine, this win was nothing more than a good square meal. It is fair to say that three games in, the champions are yet to be truly tested. An industrious but guileless Stoke City were ill-equipped for the job, and Chelsea were even able to afford a missed penalty on their way to victory. Related ArticlesChelsea v Stoke City: liveChelsea v Stoke City: match previewChampions League analysisWolves sign Mancienne on loanChelsea consider new Neymar bidSpecial attentionIt was a predictably maddening afternoon for the visitors, who required a small dose of opportunism and a large slice of luck if they were to storm Stamford Bridge. But within just 10 minutes, they had been handed the latter. Ryan Shawcross clumsily felled Florent Malouda as he bore down on goal and referee Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty kick. Lampard's penalty, though, was meagre, Thomas Sorensen having little trouble dropping to his left and smothering it. Unbowed, Chelsea strengthened as the half wore on, working the channels and menacingly stroking the ball around deep inside Stoke territory. A Didier Drogba free-kick stung the palms of Sorensen, Michael Essien rose heroically to meet a Malouda corner but headed wide, and Ashley Cole brilliantly smacked a volley against the bar as Drogba's cross looped over his left shoulder. Stoke's chances were few, but crucially, they were missed. Dean Whitehead's brutal low shot was too fiery for Petr Cech to hold at the first time of asking, while Jon Walters almost managed to loop the ball over Cech from Matthew Etherington's cross. But for the most part, they were under siege. Deeper and deeper Stoke retreated, content to play an aerial game, thwarting Chelsea's attempts to use the overlap. So Chelsea simply went straight through the middle. John Terry, given licence to roam, shoved the ball in between the two centre-backs. Malouda, angling his run, lifted the ball over Sorensen to score his fourth goal of the season. Lampard, aware that Malouda had spared his blushes, was pointedly the first to congratulate him. After the break the hosts redoubled their efforts. Drogba squandered a glorious opportunity to score a second when he inexplicably headed straight at Sorensen from six yards. But while the score was only 1-0, Chelsea were still in a battle, and were almost punished by Jon Walters, whose sweet shot from 25 yards rattled the crossbar and landed just in front of the goal line. Startled, Chelsea decided to make the game safe. A diagonal ball from Drogba released Nicolas Anelka, who crucially got his touch in a split second before Sorensen bundled him over. A second penalty was the result - although Sorensen escaped punishment - and a deeply brooding Drogba buried it, and with it Stoke. The home fans were treated to the sight of new £18 million midfielder Ramires, who was allowed a late jog, but on this evidence the last thing this Chelsea side needs is improvement.