Chelsea produced an excellent display to beat Stoke 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey. Last Updated: January 13, 2013 10:36am
Jon Walters: Heading into his own goal again
Chelsea moved back into third place in the Premier League as they produced a commanding display to beat Stoke City 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium.
Rafa Benitez saw his side bounce back from their midweek defeat to Swansea with a convincing performance as they could, and should, have won by an even bigger margin in the Potteries.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the Match: Frank Lampard. The cool finish from the penalty spot in the 65th minute capped off a professional outing from the Chelsea stalwart, showing why should maybe still be kept around at Stamford Bridge.
- Attempt of the Match: Lampard's 25th minute attempt on goal from excellent build-up play drew a fine save Asmir Begovic to deny the visitors an opening goal.
- Save of the Match: Lampard found Demba Ba out on the left in the 34th minute with a great pass, only for Begovic to stump the striker with an excellent reflex stop.
- Goal of the Match: An absolute stunner from Eden Hazard in the 78th minute from outside the box, the Belgian playmaker taking out two defender after he took the ball on to his left and then unleashing a thunderbolt into the top left corner.
- Talking point: Hugely impressive display from Chelsea, can this inspire them to a title charge?
But it was a real day to forget for Stoke's Jon Walters as he scored two own-goals before firing over a late penalty as the home side saw their unbeaten home record disappear.
The Potters had not lost at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League since February and have proved formidable opponents for the league's big guns, but this was their biggest home loss since returning to the top flight in 2008.
After a relatively uninspiring opening half, Chelsea went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Walters put a diving header into his own net as he looked to clear Cesar Azpilicueta's cross with Juan Mata pressuring him.
On the hour the officials made a huge call as referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot when Azpilicueta looked like he caught Matthew Etherington but, much to Chelsea's relief, assistant Sian Massey had flagged for offside and replays showed she was right.
Then, just minutes later, Chelsea doubled their lead and amazingly it was another own goal from Walters as he flicked in a Mata corner with Asmir Begovic helpless.
Suddenly the game was beyond Stoke when Chelsea won a penalty on 65 minutes as Mata went down under pressure from Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross, and Frank Lampard stepped up to hammer home.
Lampard could, and should, have added to that goal but he was denied from point-blank range by Begovic, who in truth kept the score respectable.
The game was put to bed 18 minutes from time and it was the pick of the goals as Eden Hazard fired into the top corner from 30 yards, a wonderful finish from the little Belgian.
Another huge cheer came from the away side as Chelsea captain John Terry made his long-awaited return from injury and the former England star did make a contribution as he gave away a late penalty.
Walters was quick to take the ball, but the Irishman's day went from bad to worse as he lashed his spot-kick high and it clipped the top of the bar.
The three points take Chelsea into third, above Tottenham who were held to a goalless draw at QPR earlier in the day.
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
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Stoke v Chelsea
Asmir Begovic has tipped Jon Walters to prove his resilience by scoring in Stoke's FA Cup clash with Crystal Palace.
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis insists Jonathan Walters will recover from his horror show in the defeat to Chelsea.
Paul Merson felt Chelsea were unbelievable at The Britainia Stadium and said Frank Lampard was the best player on the pitch.