Blues' waiting gain

12 September 2009 07:30
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Stoke City 1-2 ChelseaSoccer Saturday analysis

Patience was the key to Chelsea's last-gasp success at Stoke, according to Paul Merson.

The Soccer Saturday man watched Carlo Ancelotti's men continue their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season thanks to Florent Malouda's injury-time strike.

Tony Pulis' side, who defended valiantly throughout, had taken the lead through an Adbdoulaye Faye header only for in-form Dider Drogba to smash home a superb equaliser right on half-time.

And it looked as if it would stay that way until deep into stoppage time when Malouda lashed home a left-footed finish to leave Stoke devastated and Merson drooling at the way Chelse kept their cool to the very last.

"The most impressive thing about them was all through the second half, they were dominant, all over Stoke, but even when it got down to the last three or four minutes, they were still passing the ball," he told Soccer Saturday.

"There was no getting to the half-way line and lumping into the box, they kept on passing it, passing it, getting it out wide and putting it in the box into proper areas. For me, that was outstanding, they didn't panic.

"Chelsea were outstanding but Stoke were outstanding defensively. This is going to have to be a real pick-me-up job for Tony Pulis to do this week because they won't believe they've lost this."

Pulis can take heart from the sort of defensive display that was the foundation for them staying in the Premier League last season.

Before the late heartbreak Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross, Danny Collins and Faye put their bodies on the line time and again to deny the league leaders.

DominantAnd says Merson, had they managed to take two golden opportunities that came their way, Chelsea's 100 per cent record might have cracked in the Potteries.

"For how dominant Chelsea were in the second half, Stoke had a couple of good headers," he said. "(Dave) Kitson had one straight art (Petr) Cech and Huth put one over from four yards - if they go in, they win the game.

"Stoke tried to mix it, make it physical and rightly so, They didn't have all the luck in the world; Beattie went off after five minutes when he should've scored and they lost the keeper, but Chelsea have some big players, some physical players and they stood up to Stoke today. They deserved to win but you feel sorry for Stoke.

"But their defending was absolutely phenomenal. I think I'm right in saying they did it against Liverpool last season, when they were getting in front of everything. It's not luck, it's outstanding defending."

Source: SKY_Sports