Chelsea cruised past Stoke City inside Britannia Stadium on Saturday, earning a 4-0 win over the Potters, thanks to two own goals from Stoke midfielder Jonathan Walters.
A match that looked to be in the balance throughout the first half got away from Stoke City in a hurry.
After 45-plus minutes of scoreless play, Walters made the first of his two critical errors when he accidentally headed a Cesar Azpilicueta cross past Asmir Begovic and into his own net. The goal put Rafael Benitez's Chelsea squad ahead 1-0 at halftime.
Roughly 15 minutes into the second half, the unthinkable happened when Walters was again credited with an own goal, putting Chelsea up 2-0 an hour into the contest.
This tweet from Kalen Arumugam could not be more true following the miserable experience Walters had on Saturday, which included two owns goals and a missed penalty shot:
Kalen Arumugam (@Kalen215) January 12, 2013
A Frank Lampard penalty in the 65th minute would put the Blues comfortably ahead, 3-0. Less than 10 minutes later, Eden Hazard's goal would turn the rout into a thumping. In the end, Chelsea would come away with a 4-0 victory. The Blues would go on to win the match, earning three points and taking over third place in the Premier League table.
The Premier League's official Twitter account noted this key fact before Saturday's match, which turned out to be ironic:
Following its first home defeat of the season, Tony Pulis' squad is settled into 10th place in the Premier League table, 23 points back of league-leading Manchester United.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea: A
Lampard was phenomenal in midfield for Chelsea from start to finish on Saturday, scoring on a second-half penalty to leave his mark. He possessed the captain's band for most of the match before surrendering it to John Terry late and, for the most part, led and performed like a captain is supposed to.
Jonathan Walters, Stoke City: F
Walters played a terrible match on Saturday. His own goal late in the first half cost him and his team immensely. After putting the Potters in a hole, he then made another horrible error in defense, giving Chelsea a commanding 2-0 lead with half an hour to play.
To make matters worse, Walters missed on a penalty kick late, squandering a chance to put Stoke on the board and prevent an embarrassing shutout at home.
I don't mean to pile on Walters, but in this case it's almost impossible not to. After all, Felix Leo Gourd's tweet applies to both of Walters' scoring mistakes:
Oops! One of the craziest own goal you will ever see... #STKCHE— Felix Leo Gourd (@Phellixleo) January 12, 2013
Juan Mata, Chelsea: B
Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata was strong on Saturday, attacking with purpose and even assisting on one of Chelsea's goals. Mata also drew the penalty that led to Lampard's goal, putting the match out of reach.
The Spanish star is developing into an elite talent in midfield, and this weekend's match was just another step in the right direction.
Kenwyne Jones, Stoke City: C
Stoke City's lone forward, Kenwyne Jones played a decent match vs. Chelsea, but failed to score for his side. Jones had an excellent opportunity to put Stoke ahead in the first half but knocked his shot just wide of the goal.
This photo from the Premier League's official Twitter account captured the pivotal moment:
Petr Cech, Chelsea: A
The veteran stopper was at his best once again on Saturday, shutting down numerous chances from Stoke City and recording a clean sheet in Chelsea's impressive away win.
Cech made a handful of highlight-reel saves and never flinched in between the posts.
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