Stoke's wonderful run in the FA cup was cut short by the reigning FA cup holders Chelsea. Chelsea finally found their winning way after two successive defeats. Goals from Frank Lampard and John Terry secured the admission for Chelsea into the semifinals of the FA cup.
The Chelsea team saw Paulo Ferreira as leftback and Malouda move into the left wing position while Kalou was preferred on the right side over Joe Cole. Alex partnered John Terry in the center with Ivanovic completing the back four for Chelsea. Rory Delap's long throw immediately tested Chelsea as a last minute clearance off the line from Mikel ensured that Stoke did not get onto the score sheet within the first 15 minutes. The first half was slow with Chelsea unable to fashion something productive against the well disciplined Stoke team. Stoke attacked and defended in numbers and while Stoke was not able to test Hillario, their defense kept Drogba and Anelka at bay. Chelsea had to wait for over half an hour to find a defensive opening in the Stoke side.
A frustrated Chelsea tried corner after corner and finally a 35th minute corner taken by Malouda was deflected and found its way to Terry who then passed the ball to an unmarked Frank Lampard who netted it past the Stoke goalkeeper, Sorensen. Fuller failed to mark Lampard who netted his 146th goal for Chelsea. Drogba and Anelka tested Sorensen many times but he was up to the task and the Stoke defense, too, stepped in to ease the pressure of their goalkeeper.
Tony Pulis's men would have found it frustrating to let Chelsea score the vital goal after they had defended so well. Stoke's attack however was well absorbed by the Chelsea defense with Alex playing a spectacular game that should surely have caught the attention of Ancelotti. Only needing a goal to equalize, The second half saw Stoke come out attacking a lot more but Alex and Terry were there to ensure that Stoke did not trouble Hillario too much. Chelsea secured the victory with another goal that ended Stoke's hope of taking the game to Brittania stadium.
Another corner from Chelsea saw a determined John Terry head the ball into the net. He then celebrated his victory by rolling up his sleeve and showing the captains arm band to the fans. Stoke city supporters must have been disappointed but that did not stop them from booing John Terry. With Chelsea up two-nil the game was pretty much over with Stoke unable find the vital two away goals against a determined Chelsea. Chelsea by then had also gotten into the rhythm and were securing possession.
Anelka and Malouda were wonderful in attack and showed plenty of fancy footwork. Anelka must have been disappointed to not get into the score sheet after playing so well but his shots on goal were well of the target. Malouda enjoyed returning to the left wing position. Kalou was pacy yet inconsistent and he too was guilty of letting go of a few scoring chances for Chelsea. Ivanovic also played very well and his long ball did show promise but the long ball threat award for the match surely goes to Rory Delap.
The victory comes at a vital time for Chelsea. With Arsenal and United sandwiching Chelsea in the domestic league table and the Champions League match with Inter coming soon, the victory will surely be a moral boost that should help Chelsea regain confidence in themselves and perhaps win some silverware. As far as the FA cup goes, Chelsea's next opponent will be Aston Villa.
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