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Chelsea vs. Stoke City: 5 Things We Learned

Dan LeveneCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2017

Chelsea vs. Stoke City: 5 Things We Learned

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League table with an emphatic win at Stamford Bridge over Stoke City.

    Goals from Mohamed Salah, Frank Lampard and Willian knocked Liverpool off the top spot, at least for nowthough the Reds are set to travel to West Ham on Sunday.

    But what did we learn from Chelsea 3-0 Stoke City?

Torres Is Running out of Time

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    From the way the camera circled Fernando Torres pre-match, there could be no doubt about what the big story was at Stamford Bridge today.

    Dropped for the trip to Paris Saint-Germain, and the subject of speculation about his Chelsea future, the Spaniard looked singularly unimpressed with the attention.

    Torres went out like a man possessed—it is often said he looks his best when he is angry.

    But for all the huffing and puffing, he was unable to blow Stoke's house down.

    As the game progressed, he became more and more of a marginal figure.

    And, by the time the match ended, the cameras didn't even seem interested.

    Jose Mourinho insists he has a Stamford Bridge future. It is anyone's guess if that will extend beyond the six weeks the season has left to run.

Lampard's 250 Is a Remarkable Feat

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    Frank Lampard doesn't often fail to score from the penalty spot. So when he did just that today, he ensured he was there to rifle home the spinning ball kept out by Asmir Begovic.

    It was the 250th goal of a glittering club career that continues to break records: his 211th for Chelsea, itself, making an ever-growing mark in the club's record books.

    Up to that point, it had not been a game to remember for the Englishmana few flying tackles could easily have seen him make the referee's book.

    But the achievement remains unparalleled.

    Lampard is still without a new deal for the coming new season. Just how many more can he net before he finally leaves Stamford Bridge?

Mohamed Salah Is a Very Handy Player Indeed

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    A full Premier League debut involving a goal, an assist and winning a penalty.

    The early prognosis on Mohamed Salah was not great—with his striking looking wayward in a clutch of substitute performances.

    The turning point appears to have been the 6-0 win over Arsenal, where, as a late substitute, he netted the final nail in the Gunners' coffin.

    Today, picked from the start, he looked like a completely different prospect.

    Incredibly fast, impressively direct, and brimming with confidencehe had a full debut to remember.

Don't Write Chelsea off Just Yet

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    Chelsea may be back at the top of the league, for 24 hours at least, but don't be expecting Jose Mourinho to change his mind over the Blues' championship chances.

    Mourinho said last week that Chelsea were out of the title race (as reported by The Express), and has maintained for some time that the table is 'fake' because of Manchester City's games in hand (as reported by the BBC).

    Liverpool go to West Ham tomorrow—and with them in fighting form, and Sam Allardyce's side with little to play for, the expectations will be clear.

    Chelsea should probably never be ruled out while it is a mathematical possibility.

    But the job in hand is incredibly toughand City rightly remain favourites.

Willian Will Set the Premier League Alight Next Season

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    With a performance packed with a mixture of flair, accuracy and hard work—Willian ran much of this game almost single-handedly.

    The goal that curled between two Stoke defenders showed bags of technique, but it is that English-style running midfield quality that his manager seems to like so much in him.

    With Chelsea often accused of being over-reliant on Eden Hazard, and looking for both supplier and scorer, Willian is starting to look like a player who is set to achieve the potential expected of a £32m signing.

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