Stoke City vs. Chelsea  0 - 4

Article

Stoke linked with Baptiste swoop

13 January 2013 09:27

Stoke City have been reportedly monitoring the progress of Blackpool's Alex Baptiste ahead of a possible transfer bid in January.

Tony Pulis's Stoke went down 4-0 at home against Chelsea on Saturday, but had previously only conceded seven goals at the Britannia Stadium all season.

The prospect of signing Baptiste presents a good opportunity to bring in one of the best defenders outside the Premier League at good value.

Baptiste will be a free agent at the end of the season and as of December had not begun talks about a new deal at Bloomfield Road.

Baptiste was picked up for 5,000 pounds from Mansfield Town in 2008 and has become indispensable to the club after making more than 150 appearances since then.

Meanwhile, Blackpool are reportedly close to naming former Nottingham Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll as their new manager, and it could be announced this week.

Article

Premier League: Stoke City 0 Chelsea 4

12 January 2013 18:07

A superb second-half display from Chelsea saw them run out 4-0 winners and inflict a first home defeat of the season on Stoke City.

The first half lacked quality but a Jon Walters own goal right before the break gave the visitors the lead, and in the second half the Blues ran riot.

Walters added a second own goal before a Frank Lampard penalty and a Eden Hazard rocket sealed the points.

Stoke had the first chance as Kenwyne Jones found himself with room inside the Chelsea penalty area but he dragged his shot wide of Petr Cech's goal.

And the visitors responded 10 minutes later with a nice passing move that led to Demba Ba finding Frank Lampard inside the penalty area but Asmir Begovic saved well with his feet from the midfielder's low shot.

Chelsea opened the scoring with what was the final attack of the first half.

Hazard released Cesar Azpilicueta on the right hand side, the Spaniard delivered a dangerous cross to the back post where Walters headed past his own goalkeeper in his attempt to clear before Juan Mata could pounce.

Stoke began the second half full of life and after a Steven N’Zonzi shot tested Cech they thought they had a penalty just before the hour.

Azpilicueta appeared to bring down Matthew Etherington inside the penalty area. Andre Marriner awarded the penalty only for assistant referee Sian Massey to overrule the decision as the winger was offside.

Four minutes later the Stoke players were cursing that decision as Walters again headed past Begovic.

Lampard challenged the winger from a corner and the ball hit the Stoke man before dropping into the net.

Stoke's misery was compounded two minutes later as Robert Huth was adjudged to have brought down Mata in the area. The decision looked harsh but that made no difference to Lampard who smashed the ball passed Begovic to become Chelsea's second highest goal scorer with 194 goals.

Chelsea hammered the final nail into the Stoke coffin in the 73rd minute as Hazard fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

The Belgian received the ball inside the Stoke half from Mata, he drifted away from Glenn Whelan and lashed an absolute rocket past Begovic.

Stoke were awarded a penalty in the closing seconds as substitute John Terry brought down Walters, but the forward lashed his spot kick against the bar to complete a dreadful day for the Potters.

Article

Terry, Cech back for Chelsea

11 January 2013 17:22

John Terry and Petr Cech will be in Rafael Benitez's squad for Chelsea's Premier League fixture against Stoke City on Saturday.

Terry has not featured for the Blues since damaging knee ligaments in a collision with Luis Suarez in a Premier League clash with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on November 11.

Cech, meanwhile, has been sidelined since hobbling off at half-time against Everton at Goodison Park on December 30, with former Middlesbrough stopper Ross Turnbull deputising in his absence.

Benitez has elected to include Terry in his squad for Saturday's away trip to Stoke after the Chelsea captain came through 45 minutes of an Under-21 match on Thursday, but he will not start.

"He played yesterday. He was okay," the Spaniard told reporters. "He has been training today. He is in the squad.

"It's good news for us. He has been out for 16 weeks."

Cech will also travel with the squad, but will undergo further assessment before a final decision is made on whether he will feature against the Potters.

Meanwhile, Benitez revealed that Fernando Torres was suffering from a stomach bug during his side's League Cup defeat to Swansea City on Wednesday.

"I was there when he was with the doctor, needing tablets. Still he was playing with the team. When he starts scoring again the fans they will appreciate this," Benitez said.

"He was playing with this problem. You have a professional trying to do his best in this situation. I was really pleased with the attitude of Fernando.

"I am really pleased because he was doing this for the team. We had to manage the situation but I could not phone Michael Laudrup and say he was not fit.

"(Demba) Ba couldn't play, he had a hamstring niggle. I would like to see all my players praised in the papers. But as a top level player you have to accept you can be criticised. He is a very good professional. He had the problem but he was still training and playing."

Article

Cahill baffled by poor home form

11 January 2013 14:40

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is unable to explain his side's recent run of poor form at Stamford Bridge.

Rafael Benitez's men notched 14 goals from just two games in front of their own fans in December, but have lost both their matches played at home since the turn of the year.

A surprise 1-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers was followed by Wednesday's 2-0 reverse to Swansea, and the former Bolton man is at a loss to explain what has changed.

"I don't know (what's happened) with our home form," Cahill told reporters.

"Normally, we are unbelievably hard to beat at Stamford Bridge and we have been getting results. We just have to be consistent in what we are doing.

"Sometimes, we are playing fantastic stuff like you saw against Southampton and Everton but then we chuck it away against QPR and now Swansea."

Despite their home form, Benitez's men have been in fine form on the road winning six of their past seven games away from Stamford Bridge and travel to Stoke on Saturday.

Article

Premier League preview: Stoke v Chelsea

10 January 2013 14:28

Chelsea will be aiming to stay in touch with the automatic Champions League qualifying spots when they visit Stoke on Saturday.

But the Blues find themselves in the middle of a form slump and their task of claiming victory at Britannia Stadium will not be an easy one given Stoke have not lost at their home ground in 10 Premier League outings this season.

Chelsea are just one point off third-placed Tottenham with a game in hand but they have not had much to write home about since the beginning of the year.

On January 2, they suffered the humiliation of losing to bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in front of their home fans at Stamford Bridge.

And while they rebounded with vigour three days later to thump Southampton 5-1 in their third-round FA Cup tie, Chelsea came crashing back to earth on Wednesday when they stumbled again at home to Swansea 2-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final.

However, Stoke have not been in the greatest form either since their 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Boxing Day.

They drew 3-3 with lowly Southampton on December 29, got brushed aside 3-0 by Manchester City on New Year's Day and had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Championship outfit Crystal Palace in their third-round FA Cup clash on Saturday.

History is also against Stoke in their pursuit of the three points against Chelsea, given they have not beaten the Blues in 37 years in all competitions - although they forced draws with Chelsea both last season and in 2010/11.

In a boost for the visitors, manager Rafael Benitez suggested injured captain John Terry could make a return to the line-up after injuring his knee against Liverpool in November.

"John Terry has been training and we are considering to play him some minutes on Thursday in the under-21 team," Benitez said.

"We'll see how he feels on Thursday and hopefully he can play more minutes in the short term so we will see.

"Before he was just doing the warm up and now he's been training and if he can play (on Thursday) obviously we will be closer (to selecting him).

"It depends on his reaction so obviously Thursday will be a different kind of game but we will see how he feels and if he can feel okay and train the day after at least we can consider him as an option."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25