Stoke City vs. Chelsea Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 7, 2013

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Oussama Assaidi of Stoke celebrates with teammate Wilson Palacios after scoring his team's third and matchwinning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Stoke City claimed a precious home win by beating Chelsea 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Andre Schuerrle twice put the away side ahead with superb solo efforts, but the Potters came roaring back to draw level through Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland.

After a frenetic finish, it was Liverpool loanee Oussama Assaidi who settled the score, cutting in from the left and firing an incredible effort into Petr Cech's top-left corner. 

The game started quickly with Chelsea pressing down both flanks. Fernando Torres weaved his way into a promising position early on, and Stoke's makeshift defence of Marc Wilson at centre-back and Marc Muniesa at left-back came under the microscope from the very first whistle.

Chelsea's rotation across the forward line quickly became a deadly proposition, and it took the away side just nine minutes to open the scoring.


Schuerrle, drifting inside from his native right-wing role, picked up John Obi Mikel's forward pass and flummoxed Ryan Shawcross with multiple twists and turns. He then proceeded to fire a grass-cutter into the bottom corner from 20 yards, just beyond the reach of a sprawling Asmir Begovic.

Stoke's response was lengthy spells of tidy possession and an attempt to pepper the box with crosses, but Peter Crouch continually lost out to John Terry and Gary Cahill—two extremely efficient aerial presences.

The Potters suffered an early blow in losing Charlie Adam, and then more good work from Chelsea saw Ramires and Fernando Torres squander promising opportunities.

Marko Arnautovic and Ireland continued to create while Ramires continued to counter with pace. Eden Hazard, too, required double-marking at all times, but it was a defensive blunder from Petr Cech that gifted the home side an equaliser just before half-time.


He half-came for a corner and then dropped back to his line, leaving his defence bewildered and leaving Crouch time to control and slot home from five yards.

The second half then exploded into life immediately, with Jonathan Walters beating Cesar Azpilicueta on the right and squaring it for Ireland to curl it home from outside the box.

But the home crowd barely had a chance to sit back down before the Blues had drawn level once again, with Schuerrle claiming his second of the afternoon in style.

A free-kick was floated in and cleared, and the German found himself a yard of space on the edge of the box to fire in a sublime half-volley.


Ireland then missed a golden chance to put the Potters up 3-2 after a Crouch knockdown found him free on the left side of the penalty area, and Jose Mourinho shuffled his pack by bringing on Frank Lampard and Samuel Eto'o for the final 20 minutes.

The best Chelsea chance of the closing stages fell to Lampard via a close-range free-kick, but it was Stoke who had the last laugh.

The ball fell to Ireland just inside the opponents' half and, after spraying it wide to Oussama Assaidi, the on-loan winger cut inside and fired a golazo into the top corner.

A nervy finish saw Begovic claim multiple punts as the Blues got desperate, and in the end, it was a deserved victory for Hughes' charges.


Post-Match Reaction


Select Grades

Stephen Ireland, Stoke City: B

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Stephen Ireland of Stoke scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Ireland was substituted on early in the first half and seized his chance.

He was a bright spark early on and converted a beautiful left-footed finish from outside the box in the second half. He squandered a golden chance to win it, but it didn't end up costing them.


Andre Schuerrle, Chelsea: A-

The German scored two fantastic goals to put Chelsea ahead twice in this contest.

They were both incredible golazos, with the first being a solo, mazy effort and the second a sublime strike from outside the box.


Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City: C

Shawcross was far from his dominant self, making a total hash of tracking Schuerrle for the first goal. Stoke's foundations under Tony Pulis were built on strong defensive showings, but under Mark Hughes, the emphasis has clearly changed.


Eden Hazard, Chelsea: A

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Goalscorer Andre Schuerrle of Chelsea celebrates with teammates Eden Hazard and John Obi Mikel after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britanni
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The game's Man of the Match without doubt, Hazard managed to cope with double- and triple-marking all game long as Stoke attempted to shut him down.

He glided across the Britannia turf with ease, tormenting defenders and utilising fantastic positions.


What's Next?

Stoke travel to the KC Stadium to take on Hull City on December 14. Chelsea host Steaua Bucharest midweek, then welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge the following Saturday.