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14 August 2011
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 27421
And there goes the fulltime whistle. A disappointing result for Andre Villas-Boas in his first official Chelsea match, but Stoke were inspired by Begovic in the net. All in all, a fair result.
90' + 4'
Drogba smashes the ball into the wall, then both Drogba and Alex go for the rebound and get in eachother's way. Not a great day for Chelsea.
90' + 3'
Chelsea with another free-kick in a dangerous, central position.
90' + 2'
Here's another update from Nick: Robert Huth has been named man of the match for Stoke, but it's Asmir Begovic who Tony Pulis will be thanking if his side hang on for a point. The Bosnian has made at least three top drawer saves.
Chelsea's Man of the Match, Fernando Torres has just been replaced by another former Liverpool man, Benayoun, who immediately gets involved as he is struck by a fearsome Bosingwa drive.
Yellow Card Frank Lampard
Match has gone quiet for the last few minutes, but Stoke have a throw-in near the Chelsea box, however they are of course without Delap.
Tackles flying in here. Firstly from Pugh on Ramires, quickly followed by Alex on Jones. Alex gives away a free-kick however.
Drogba's attempt is decent as he clears the wall, but Begovic is once agian able to catch.
Chelsea have a free-kick in a central position. This is prime Drogba/Alex territory.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
Torres showing he is not lacking confidence as he charges into the area, taking on two defenders in the process before attempting an audascious cross by playing his right foot behind his left, but he can only win a corner.
For a player with such renowned crossing ability, Pennant's deliveries have been poor today. His latest attempt is cleared by Alex, and Whelan eventually gets a shot off, but Cech saves easily.
Despite having that good chance, Kalou is coming off. On comes, you guessed it, Didier Drogba. Chelsea really going for this now with Torres, Anelka and Drogba all on.
Another great save from Begovic! This time to deny Kalou! The Ivorian leapt brilliantly to get on the end of a cross from the right, but Begovic got down well to his right and caught the header. He's keeping Stoke in this at the moment.
Fantastic save by Begovic!! Anelka looked to curl a shot into the top for corner with his right foot, but the Bosnian keeper launched himself towards the ball and tipped it onto the bar! Great stop.
Blow for Stoke as Delap has had to go off with what looks like a pulled hamstring.
Nearly a chance for Stoke! Delap's long-throw isn't held by Cech, but when it dropped down for Walters, the ball sat up too high and couldn't get a shot away. He was unlucky there.
This second half has been so much better than the first half. Both sides have come out looking for the win.
Yellow Card Ashley Cole
Chelsea are the side in control at the moment, knocking the ball around the edge of their penalty area nicely, but without creating too much. Malouda has a speculative effort from 25 yards, but it was easy for Begovic.
Etherington's day is over as he leaves the field for Whitehead with the winger's left arm wrapped in his jersey like a sling. Anelka appears to be coming on for Chelsea too.
Here's a quick word from Nick on that Chelsea penalty claim: Great spell for Chelsea and they should have had a penalty as Marc Wilson slides in with his wrong foot and trips Frank Lampard, but Mark Halsey waves play on and John Obi Mikel's resulting volley is tipped over acrobatically by Asmir Begovic. The noise has cranked up a notch after that spell, and it's the visitors who look likeliest to break the deadlock.
Stoke on the attack here. Good link-up play between Jones, Walters and Pennant, but Jones has a shot blocked, and when given the chance to cross, Pennant's attempt is a bit too long.
The match has certainly livened up here! First, Chelsea claim they should've had a penalty for a foul on Lampard, then straight after, Mikel unleashes as a rasping volley goalwards, but Begovic pulls off a great save.
Chelsea win a corner after Malouda plays the ball off Huth and Torres was once again looking for a penalty! Terry wins the first header and it is played towards Torres, but after he can't control the ball, the former Liverpool man goes down under the pressure of Woodgate. Nothing given.
Ramires with a slight chance. The Brazilian looks to play a one-two with Kalou, but a defender intercepts and plays it straight back to Ramires, but he was stretching when he looked to get the shot away and it goes wide.
Chelsea back on the attack. Lampard finds Malouda on the left hand side of the box. He flashes the ball into the danger-zone, but Woodgate clears for a corner.
Torres annoyed he wasn't awarded a penalty as Shawcross brings him down right on the edge of the box. Stoke go straight down the end and look to attack through Walters and Jones. Eventually the ball falls to Whelan who puts the ball into orbit.
Stoke straight onto the attack and Pennant wins a corner.
And we're back underway at the Britannia stadium.
Here's a halftime update from Nick: A very even game at the Britannia Stadium so far, but unfortunately not one for the neutrals. Fernando Torres has displayed some touches of class but his last moment of the first half showed that he's still some way short of his scintilating best. His dribble into the box had the crowd holding its collective breath, but his shot had three quarters of the ground in histerics. Chelsea yet to really get clicking with their passing, but that's arguably had as much to do with Stoke's defenders – Jonathan Woodgate and Robert Huth most notably – getting in their faces and denying them the chance to look up. It'll take something lucky or something of exceptional quality to break the deadlock here.
Halftime at the Britannia stadium. Hopefully the second half will be an improvement as the first 45 was quite dire.
45' + 1'
Unlucky for Torres there. He gets the ball into the area, skips past three tackles and shoots, but Huth did well to get a foot in at the last second and Torres puts his shot wide.
Stoke have a free-kick on the right, about 40 yards out. They have packed the Chelsea area. However, nothing comes of it and Stoke end up with possession back near the halfway line.
Stoke have certainly progressed as an attacking force. This time Jones does well to bring the ball down on the left wing, jink past Bosingwa and shoot, but his shot rolls past the near post.
Shouts from Stoke for a penalty and Walters looks to flick the ball over Terry in the area and the ball appears to hit the Chelsea captain on the arm. Not given.
The passing being showcased by both sides is pretty poor too with neither side seeming able to string together more the four passes in their opponents half.
It's been a fairly poor match so far. Neither side playing particularly nice football, very few chances, a lot of fouls.
Probably the best chance of the match so far. Ramires surges into the penalty area, easing past defenders and plays a shot/cross across the face of the goal, but no-one was there to tap it in.
Chelsea looking to play some Barcelona-esque passing football on the edge of the box between Lampard, Torres and Malouda, but the Spaniard's pass was poor.
Another example of the final-ball being fairly poor for Stoke. Etherington was charging down the right and looked to play a ball just inside to Walters who would've had a better angle, but the pass was way too far ahead of the striker.
A decent chance for Stoke there. Etherington cleverly played Walters in down the right and the former Ipswich man was able to march into the area, but his low cross is parried away by Cech. Jones was waiting just beyond the 'keeper.
Great defending by Huth there! Lampard looked to play a cross in from the right and several Chelsea players were waiting for the ball to reach them, but Huth managed to get a great header in to clear.
Here's another update from Nick: First airing of the Fernando Torres song from the travelling fans. It's still odd to see a sea of blue shirts bouncing along while chanting the Spaniard's name, but he's looking much more like his old self so far, perhaps a result of having a free summer for the first time in a while. Andre Villas-Boas is now out of his dugout and right at the edge of the technical area barking out encouragement.
The Stoke players and staff are extremely annoyed at Ashley Cole as the knocks Etherington over off the ball as Stoke looked to counter-attack. Cole escapes a booking.
Chelsea are coping considerably well with the Stoke throws and high-balls so far. Jones has hardly had a touch, however, some clever play from the big man wins a free-kick off Terry near the right corner flag.
Stoke are putting much pressure on the Chelsea players when in possession, but they will do well to keep up this intensity for the full 90 minutes.
As usual, Delap's monstrous throws are causing problems in the Chelsea backline when he launches them in, however they have coped well enough so far.
Tentative cries for a penalty there from some Chelsea players as Kalou goes tumbling in the area under pressure from Wilson, but it quite simply wasn't a foul and the referee got it right.
Here's another update from Nick at the Britannia: First booking of the game is for Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross after a cynical trip on Fernando Torres near the half-way line. The Spaniard has looked strong thus far and has just gone narrowly wide with a shot from distance after a jinking run.
Good play again by Torres as he picks up the ball quite centrally, takes on a defender and shoots from range, but his attempt rolls past the post. He's looked sharp so far.
Ryan Shawcross has picked up a yellow card for a pretty rash tackle on Torres that left the Spaniard rolling around on the floor in pain.
Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
Chelsea give away a free-kick on that corner after Torres knocked over Begovic.
Good play by Torres there as he manages to get his way down the right-wing, taking on a few defenders in the process. Eventually, the ball falls to Bosingwa who crosses, but Begovic is able to knock the ball onto the post and out for a corner.
Here's a quick update from our man at the Britannia, Nick Price: Deafening whistles from the home fans as Chelsea retain possession. The visitors are already pushing up high, with Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa taking it in turns to fly forward.
Stoke looking very busy early on here, not giving their visitors a moment on the ball, something summed up by Etherington's good tracking-back.
Early on, and Stoke already have a throw-in in a dangerous position, but Cech does well to meet the ball and clear. Stoke eventually win a corner.
And we're underway at the Britannia stadium!
Here's an interesting stat from Opta: In their last six Premier League matches against Chelsea, Stoke have averaged just 29.5% possession.
Andre Villas-Boas' first ever competitive Chelsea lines up as follows: Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Lampard; Kalou, Torres, Malouda SUBS: Hilario, Ivanovic, Benayoun, Drogba, Ferreira, McEachran, Anelka
The Stoke team for this afternoon is: Begovic; Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate, Wilson; Pennant, Whelan, Delap, Etherington; Walters, Jones SUBS: Sorensen, Collins, Pugh, Diao, Whitehead, Wilkinson, Shotton
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of the Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea.
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