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December 7, 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 25154
P. Crouch 42'
S. Ireland 50'
O. Assaidi 90'
A. Schürrle 9', 53'
That concludes our live-text commentary. I've been Tim Poole and you've been a great audience. Take care!
The German could then have won the game for the away side but hit the bar. And, late on, Oussama Assaidi punished Chelsea for their missed chances - and poor defending - with a stunning winner.
The visitors took the lead through Andre Schurrle but Peter Crouch brought the hosts back on level terms. Stephen Ireland then put Stoke ahead, before Schurrle hit back to make it 2-2.
Unbelievable scenes at the Britannia Stadium, as Stoke City secure their first win against Chelsea since 1975 in spectacular fashion. The Blues' defending has been way off the mark today - and it has not been a happy birthday for John Terry.
FULL-TIME: Stoke 3-2 Chelsea
90' + 4'
It is not looking good for Mourinho's men...
90' + 3'
The Blues beat Sunderland 4-3 in midweek... Can they produce similar resolve here? Ivanovic plays the ball into the area but Begovic races off his line to claim the ball and prevent a corner.
90' + 2'
What a game this has been! Chelsea could still get back into this but, as things stand, Stoke are on course for their first win over the Blues since 1975!
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Stephen Ireland
90' + 1'
Stoke had only scored five at the Britannia Stadium before today. They have three today.
Yellow Card Oussama Assaidi
Assist Stephen Ireland
Goal Oussama Assaidi
GOALL!! Oussama Assaidi puts Stoke 3-2 ahead!!! What a fantastic finish, Assaidi smashing a powerful strike into the back of the net. He was played in by Ireland and produced a finish that deserves to be a winner! Will it, though?
Injury time now and five minutes have been given!
These last few minutes have simply been a frenzy of fouls!
Yellow Card John Terry
BOOKED! Terry now goes into the referee's book. On his birthday...
Yellow Card Jonathan Walters
Will we see a late winner here? Chelsea will only be three points behind Arsenal if they draw. But that gap could double if the Gunners beat Everton tomorrow.
Lampard wastes the free kick...
FREE KICK! Ba wins a dangerous free kick now only a couple of yards outside the penalty box. This is the chance, if ever there was one.
Yellow Card Peter Crouch
BOOKED! Crouch receives a yellow card for ungentlemanly conduct. He always seemed such a nice chap...
Ramires now works the ball back into the danger zone but Shawcross is there to clear.
The Blues' latest delivery into the box is easily headed away, although Ivanovic gets the ball straight back into the area. Crouch clears this time.
It has been all Chelsea in the last few minutes, though neither side look probably to score. Goals only take moments, however...
Eto'o's introduction, of course, means the visitors have gone 4-4-2. Just as they did in the second half at Southampton.
PENALTY APPEALS! Lampard chips a beautiful pass into Ba, who tumbles after taking on Shawcross. Referee Moss waves away the appeals and Mata, for one, is absolutely incensed!
Free kick to Chelsea, given away by N'Zonzi.
Samuel Eto'o also comes on for Schurrle. No hat-trick for the German today.
John Obi Mikel
CHANGE! Mourinho turns to Lampard - not for the first time. The veteran replaces Mikel with 20 or so minutes to go.
Despite scoring, Ireland has overall been rather wasteful for the hosts. Not as wasteful as Ramires has been for Chelsea, though.
MISS! Ireland, once again, produces a shocking miss! His goal that put Stoke ahead was much harder than this opportunity - but the experienced midfielder fires off target after being played in by Crouch!
Handball? Cahill is struck, seemingly on the arm, but the referee does not give a free kick yet again. Mourinho is now outside his technical area, giving Schurrle some instructions, before being told to return to where he should be!
Ramires! A cross comes in and the Brazilian stretches at maximum reach to get it but falls just short - quite literally!
Still no sign of a winner here, with Schurrle's shot crashing against the crossbar earlier the closest either side have got.
Stephen N'Zonzi tries to play in Arnautovic now but his pass is just off!
This game is well and truly up for grabs - and it is being fiercely contested. The tackles are flying in from both sides, with referee Moss rarely giving free kicks...
Ba had a fantastic impact last weekend against Southampton, although he had Torres by his side on that occasion. What can the Senegalese forward do today?
CHANGE! Demba Ba comes on for Fernando Torres. The Spaniard does not look happy and one can sympathise with him; he has produced an industrious performance.
What a frantic, end-to-end game!
The first corner leads to another one, though Torres and Cahill combine to clear the ball for a counterattack.
But Walters wins a corner for the home side straight afterwards...
CROSSBAR! The ball is played forward for Chelsea and ricochets off Shawcross straight into Schurrle's path. Determined to complete his hat-trick, the German curls a fantastic right-footed shot towards goal and it hits the bar!
Whose game is it now? The home side looked supreme in confidence as Ireland put them ahead. But Chelsea's rapid response suggests they could be in for another dramatic victory!
Goal Andre Schürrle
GOAL! Schurrle hits straight back for the away side! The German is having a fantastic time of things today. Poor marking is at fault once again, as Stoke lose their man from a Mata free kick and Schurrle pounces to knock the ball past Begovic. Mourinho's men were not losing for long.
Assist Jonathan Walters
Goal Stephen Ireland
GOALLL!! Ireland puts Stoke 2-1 up! What a fantastic goal from the midfielder, who is unmarked and capitalises by sending a delightful strike into the back of the net on the end of Walters' cross.
Stoke win their third corner of the game - we all know what they can do from them - but Azpilicueta clears. Back the ball comes, however, although Shawcross's header goes out for a goal kick.
How will Mourinho's side approach this second half? Will they go gung ho?
Off we go for the second half. Chelsea attack straight away.
Clearly, this one is in the balance - and there is everything to play for in this second half. The action resumes in a few minutes, so stay with us after the break!
But the visitors' profligacy prompted a response from Stoke and, with 15 minutes remaining, the hosts started to dominate possession. Even then, an equaliser looked unlikely, until Petr Cech came off his line but failed to claim a corner. Peter Crouch was there to punish him, firing home to make it 1-1.
A half dominated by Chelsea ends all square after the Blues failed to capitalise on an abundance of chances. Andre Schurrle, who was excellent throughout, put his side 1-0 up, before Ramires, in particular, enjoyed a string of chances to double that lead.
HALF-TIME: Stoke City 1-1 Chelsea
45' + 2'
What an end to this half we have had...
45' + 1'
BRILLIANT DEFENDING! Shawcross throws himself in front of the ball to stop a possible goal for the visitors!
That Crouch equaliser has given this game a lease of new life. Stoke looked down and out but, all of a sudden, they look more than capable of even taking the lead here. Chelsea will rue their missed chances.
Now both sides look for another goal before the break!
Assist Marko Arnautovic
Goal Peter Crouch
GOAL! Crouch equalises for Stoke! After being outplayed all half, the Potters are back on level terms after their target man takes advantage of some slack defending and fires home. The hosts had won a corner after Ireland's miss and Petr Cech came off his line to claim it but made a mess of things - and Crouch capitalised.
MISS! Stoke clear the corner and hit the visitors on the break straight away! And what a chance that comes from it for Ireland! Walters plays the cross in but Ireland completely misses his diving header!
Ivanovic wins a corner for the Blues now! Will they grab a second goal before half-time? It is Muniesa who gets the clearance for the home side. He has been a bright spark for Stoke so far.
Ramires shoots once again! It is on target this time but straight into Asmir Begovic's arms.
Will Ashley Cole ever reclaim his spot at left-back if Azpilicueta carries on like this?
HEADER! Stoke enjoy a rare chance! It is Jonathan Walters who heads just wide for the Potters. He was put off by great defending from Azpilicueta.
Great football from Chelsea! Hazard, Mata and Schurrle all link up to superb effect. But Cahill is the weak link once again! The centre-back thumps a long ball upfield and it goes way over Cesar Azpilicueta's head and out for a throw. Shocking!
Chelsea are playing with real pace and fluency. Is this the style of play Roman Abramovich always wanted from his side?
Danger averted. The England defender would do well to show more concentration, however.
But Gary Cahill gives the ball away under pressure from Crouch!
Stoke have enjoyed their most adventurous moment in a while... Chelsea have a goal kick.
OVER! Ramires fires over once again. Unsurprisingly, it is Schurrle who plays the Brazilian in and, in fairness to him, Ramires has a lot to do. If he hits the target, he is almost guaranteed to score. But his effort sails over the bar.
Nevertheless, he gets back up quickly and resumes his work. This has been a convincing display from Schurrle, showing the strength and depth on offer in this magnificent Chelsea squad.
It really has been comfortable for Mourinho's side so far. Mata and Hazard now look to come inside. Schurrle is also making a great impact, although his most recent contribution sees him brought down without winning a free kick.
Chelsea still ahead here and they look keen on doubling their lead.
Schurrle now wins possession from Whelan, playing in Hazard, who in turn plays in Torres. Several passes ensue - but a wonderful move ends up with Branislav Ivanovic wasting his shot on goal.
Still, Stoke have enjoyed the majority of possession in the last few minutes, with the Blues having Terry to thank - yet again - for his latest defensive clearance.
Chelsea fans are sitting in the away end singing "Where's your famous atmosphere?" It has certainly been a good day for the visitors so far.
Charlie Adam's game is over. He has been limping ever since he went down injured and Stephen Ireland is the man to replace him.
POOR! Whelan now has a shot for the hosts but it hits his own player!
TERRY TO THE RESCUE! Former England centre-back Terry has been a rock at the back for Chelsea so far. A Stoke half-chance has just been cleared by him again, making it at least his third important block of the game so far.
Glenn Whelan and Marc Muniesa link up well to try and stop the onslaught, although nothing special comes out of their efforts.
Juan Mata is now taking his turn to run at the Stoke defence. It could be a long afternoon for the hosts - and how will yet another defeat (if things stay the same) affect Hughes' situation? The Potters are in terrible form at the moment.
There was controversy, however, as Charlie Adam was down injured. The referee did not stop play and Adam did not receive treatment. How will Hughes react to that, one wonders?
Assist John Obi Mikel
Goal Andre Schürrle
GOAL! Schurrle! I did say he has seen plenty of the ball and he has now shown his worth! The German took full advantage of his first opportunity to run at the Stoke defence, surging forward and placing the ball into the bottom corner.
Apart from that one half-chance for the home side, Chelsea look comfortable here. Schurrle and Jon Obi Mikel have seen plenty of the ball in midfield, although the amount of fouls is perhaps something being dictated by Stoke.
After a few headers here and there, it is Terry who once again clears. It only goes as far out as Marko Arnautovic, however, though he cannot capitalise on the opening.
Geoff Cameron wins a free kick for Stoke now. Nothing too dangerous but a long ball is delivered into the area by Shawcross.
OVER! Andre Schurrle plays a superb pass to Ramires, though the Brazilian fires over from nine yards out. Chances already for Mourinho's side. Worrying times for the hosts?
Ryan Shawcross now plays it long up to Peter Crouch (no surprises there) but John Terry intervenes.
Fernando Torres wins the first corner of the match for Chelsea, although nothing comes of it. The Blues are just warming up, it seems.
And we're off at the Britannia Stadium!
And our referee is Jonathan Moss! Kick-off is a few minutes away, so stay with us for all the action.
Substitutes: Schwarzer, Cole, Essien, Lampard, De Bruyne, Ba, Eto'o.
And visitors Chelsea will line up like this: Cech; Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry; Mikel, Schurrle, Ramires, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
Substitutes: Sorensen, Pennant, Palacios, Jones, Assaidi, Wilkinson, Ireland
So let's look at today's teams. We'll start with hosts Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Muniesa, Shawcross, Wilson; Wilson, Walters, N'Zonzi, Adam; Arnautovic; Crouch.
For Stoke, however, there is no talk of titles. A torrid run of results has ensured that simply staying up would be good enough for Hughes' side. And a result today would be vital towards that end. Especially since the Potters have won just once in their last 11 league games.
Today's game sees Jose Mourinho's side go in search of their fourth Premier League win in a row, with a charge for top spot looking on the cards. Arsenal currently lead the proceedings with a four-point lead, although they are not in action until tomorrow. So Chelsea could close that gap to just one point with a win this afternoon.
Good afternoon and welcome to live-text commentary of Stoke City against title-hunting Chelsea! I'm your host Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through the action today, so sit back and enjoy the show as Mark Hughes looks to give Stoke their first win over the Blues since 1975.
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