Stoke City vs. Chelsea: Blues Make Statement in Big Win at Britannia

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2013

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Demba Ba of Chelsea shakes hands with Manager Rafael Benitez during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on January 12, 2013, in Stoke-on-Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Chelsea didn't get much going in the first half at Britannia Stadium against Stoke City, but a Jonathan Walters own goal opened the floodgates for the second half.

In doing so, Chelsea took home a 4-0 victory over Stoke City and made a statement with regard to the rest of the leaderboard in the Barclay's Premier League standings.

The Blues can play.

Not only is new addition Demba Ba making Chelsea dangerous on the pitch from the outside in, the club is also handling transfer rumors without missing a step—even when it comes to two of the biggest players currently on the roster.

In the middle of all the rumors about his landing spots and whether or not his club wants to bring back his services for next season, Frank Lampard continued to thrive in the middle for Chelsea. His passing and ball skills were on point, and he managed to strike a penalty goal for Chelsea, No. 194—putting him all alone in second place on the club's all-time list.

Ashley Cole is also up for a new deal this summer, and Chelsea seems poised to lose both of these greats without any real threat of resistance.

That was the furthest thing from the minds of Chelsea players Saturday, keen only on ruining Stoke City's current home streak—a task they handled with ease by the final whistle.

Walters added another own goal before Lampard and Eden Hazard tacked on the final two scores for Chelsea, completing a brilliant half of football and sending a message to the rest of the PL participants.

Although certainly overmatched and outclassed in certain aspects of their current playing style, the Blues have weapons that can contend with every team still left on the schedule.

Starting with Ba, who was shadowed like a madman by Robert Huth, Chelsea can open up the field due to the threats on the outside. Fernando Torres is also a contributor on the outside, but Ba was signed to take pressure off of the rest of the players—a task he did without having to contribute much offensively on Saturday.

Elsewhere, the Blues have the right mix of veteran and young talent. No doubt Lampard and Cole are both interested in ending their Chelsea careers with a bang—to the tune of a Premier League Championship first-place finish and a defense of the team's FA Cup win in 2011-12.

Chelsea currently sit third in the standings behind Manchester City and Manchester United, but look poised to gain ground on the former while holding off Tottenham Hotspur—currently in fourth.

As the club looks to gain ground with Arsenal coming up and an FA Cup match on the horizon as well, this is the kind of win that makes Chelsea fans rejoice at the club's chances in postseason play.

If the Blues play like this every match, they are a tough off. Who knows, maybe some sustained success will entice Rafael Benitez to take on Lampard for one more go.


Ethan Grant is a Featured Columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.