Very rarely troubled, with Stoke offering little going forward, especially after being reduced to 10 men.
Return to action provided Chelsea with a stability at the back that filtered through the rest of the side. Unlucky to see his header bounce back off the bar in the first half.
An impressive game that shows he is bedding into the Chelsea back four very well. Refused to be bullied by the problematic Kenwyne Jones and used his initiative to carry the ball forward and join in play.
An atypical Cole performance that saw him rarely, if ever, beaten one-on-one and full of forward impetus.
Rattled the bar in the latter stages of the first half in a robust display that saw him claim the right flank for his own with some powerful bursts. Subbed off during the break, perhaps suffering ill-effects from Fuller’s ugly stamp.
Apart from a few bright moments here and there, failed to deliver a constant or tangible threat. Perhaps unused to the new shape selected by the new boss, or maybe just an off day. Either way, not the most compelling of performances.
J. Obi Mikel
Initially failed to impress at the fulcrum of the Chelsea midfield but grew in stature as the game developed. Such an evolution was likely given the tired legs of 10 man Stoke, but nevertheless provided a sturdy platform for the more advanced midfielders to build upon, before being withdrawn for the more attacking capabilities of Sturridge.
Not his day on the ball. Scuffed shots and misplaced passes ensured that Chelsea failed to establish much rhythm early doors and was unsurprising when he was sacrificed for Juan Mata as the hosts sought to exploit the space brought about by the one man advantage.
Full of running but found opportunities on the ball hard to come by. Stretched his opponents whenever possible and proved his value to the side through his omnipresence.
Proved elusive in the first half but delivered the game’s decisive moment just after the hour mark when he collected Mata’s pass, rounded the keeper and tucked the ball into the empty net. Not a very memorable performance yet delivered the goods when it mattered.
Floated out to the left wing, to allow Chelsea’s onrushing midfield space to advance. Delivered a few bright balls into the box but otherwise found himself somewhat redundant and slightly unsure of his role.
Up against it from the off and gave a fantastic account of himself, making a series of impressive stops until Drogba rounded him for the game’s decisive moment.
Despite dealing reasonably well with Chelsea’s efforts down the right in the first half, was sacrificed early on in the second as Tony Pulis opted to go three at the back and push an extra man into midfield.
Seemed equally as comfortable when shifted to left back when Matthew Upson was brought on, as he looked at center half. Dominated in the air and was a significant component of Stoke’s stubborn resilience.
Dominated Drogba in the first half, reducing the Chelsea front man to fruitless runs into the channels. Also stood up well in the second and should count himself unlucky not to walk away from Stamford Bridge with a clean sheet.
Aside from being able to haul the ball in a manner similar to that made famous by Rory Delap, there seemed to be little else the midfielder was adept off. Over-ran for large periods, though that was probably more indicative of his side’s misgivings than his own.
Endured a torrid afternoon with his back always up against the wall. It was never going to be an easy match and did all was asked of him in terms of personal commitment and battling. Nearly turned the game on its head with an outrageous effort from the halfway line that sailed just wide.
Was physically imposing in the middle of the park but that never proved to be enough to prevent Chelsea’s domination, with the midfielder hauled off almost immediately after the break.
Anonymous for large stretches of the encounter after being granted a thankless task following Fuller’s dismissal. To his credit, refused to lose his discipline and made things awkward for his opponents through sheer distance covered alone.
Desperation saw the forward booked for bringing down Branislav Ivanovic early in the first half but absolute idiocy saw him sent off for an ugly stamp on the same character moments later. Left his team-mates severely under the cosh.
Put himself about but to very little avail as he was withdrawn on the hour mark. It proved a frustrating and lonely shift for the lone frontman.
Fuller’s sending off changed his job specification, as the advanced midfielder switched to the left flank to try prevent Ivanovic/Luiz’s damaging damaging runs down touchline.
- 22 R. Turnbull
Replaced Ivanovic for the second half and provided much of the same as his predecessor. Made a handful of himself when he marauded forward and had very little to worry about facing the other way.
Chelsea becoming instantly more menacing with him on the pitch. Brought on to capitalize on the space afforded by Stoke’s reduced number and used the ball intelligently throughout. Was the architect of Drogba’s goal and really looked the only man in his side able to prize Stoke open.
- 5 M. Essien
- 6 Oriol Romeu
- 9 Fernando Torres
Thrown into the mix in an attempt to give his side the lead. Was perhaps little surprise that his team went one up moments after he was introduced, given the home side’s utter domination. A few bright touches here and there but not much of substance.
- 29 T. Sørensen
Upson: Brought on to add lifeto a Stoke rearguard that was constantly being harassed. Conceded the crucial goal after he was brought on, though there’s not much blame that can be sent his way.
- 24 R. Delap
Drafted in to add bite to a midfield that was constantly getting turned over. He did this, to a degree but it was always going to be a big uphill struggle for his side.
- 16 J. Pennant
Brought on to replace Jones as the carthorse. Chased back and battled hard. Not much else could be asked of him.
- 25 P. Crouch