Stoke City 3-2 Chelsea – Match Reports, Reaction and Video

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Match reports

The Observer, Sachin Nakrani: “This was José Mourinho’s first experience of managing at this venue and it is one he will not look back on with even a hint of fondness. Standing inside his technical area as Stoke’s supporters wildly celebrated a late winner that was as stunning as it was unexpected, the Portuguese’s mood became as black as his coat. He scowled in silence, with the words that eventually followed only adding to the sense that this had been a dark day for Chelsea’s Special One. Mourinho spoke with a mix of fury and frustration as he reflected on how his side had failed to record a fourth league win in succession having taken the lead through André Schürrle’s neatly taken 10th-minute strike. They subsequently dominated possession and territory, with their attacking trio of Schürrle, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard causing havoc for the hosts with their clever movement behind lone striker Fernando Torres, but, as Mourinho said, failed to “kill the game”.”

The Sunday Telegraph, John Percy: “Oussama Assaidi was not even born the last time Stoke defeated Chelsea in the league but his sensational winner was enough to leave Jose Mourinho admitting “we are in trouble”. Assaidi settled an absorbing encounter with a wonderful strike in the final minute as Mourinho was left to reflect on the profligacy of the forwards he has inherited and an opportunity wasted to close the gap on leaders Arsenal. Mourinho trudged out of the Potteries with the look of a man on the brink of a mini-crisis and his response when asked how he can get his strikers to start scoring – “I don’t know” – suggested a much greater problem could be on the horizon.”

The Independent on Sunday, Simon Hart: “It is not just Manchester United who are suffering in this gloriously unpredictable Premier League campaign. In a week of buried hoodoos at Old Trafford, Stoke City ended their own 38-year wait for a League victory over Chelsea thanks to a spectacular last-minute goal by the substitute Oussama Assaidi. The Moroccan winger, on loan from Liverpool, had not scored a Premier League goal before yesterday but came off the bench to earn Stoke an unlikely victory as he stepped in from the left and curled a wonderful shot past Petr Cech and into the far corner. It was a goal that brought the roof off the Britannia, and will have been celebrated at Anfield too, given that Chelsea’s defeat means they slip below Liverpool into third place.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The Blues were beaten by a last-gasp Oussama Assaidi wonder strike at the Brittania Stadium, having taken an early lead in the game. Andre Schurrle scored inside nine minutes, but while we dominated the opening 45 minutes for long periods, we were made to pay for missed chances three minutes before the break when Peter Crouch equalised from close range. Five minutes into the second half Mark Hughes’s side took the lead through Stephen Ireland, but we were back on terms within three minutes when Schurrle scored his second of the game – and third of the season – with a wonderful effort after Stoke had failed to clear a Juan Mata free-kick. It was clear as the second half progressed that a piece of magic could prove decisive, and so it proved, as Assaidi intervened right at the death, condemning us to our third Premier League defeat of the season.”

Goals

9′ Schurrle 0-1
42′ Crouch 1-1
50′ Ireland 2-1
53′ Schurrle 2-2
90′ Assaidi 3-2
Match of the Day highlights

Managers’ reaction

Jose Mourinho: “After half an hour we should have been winning 3-0 or 4-0 and we weren’t.

“When you play so well and it’s so easy, you find spaces and the three players behind the striker, Hazard , Mata and Schurrle, are playing so well and creating so much, you have to kill the game. Normally you kill the game but we didn’t.

“I’ve been in football a long time and I’ve seen easy games where you don’t score. I can compare this first half to other first halves, Everton v Chelsea and Newcastle v Chelsea, they were exactly the same, with chances, chances, chances but we didn’t score one goal. In the last part of the first half against Everton we conceded a goal and we lost. At Newcastle we concede later. Here, we conceded an equaliser at the end of the first half again.

“We played amazingly well at the beginning of the game, I have to say it was like Sunderland, with the three players behind the striker playing very, very well, but we didn’t score enough goals. On top of that we made defensive mistakes and conceded. If you don’t score a lot of goals but you don’t make defensive mistakes you can win with just one goal.

“The problem was we didn’t score goals and we conceded a goal which was obviously a mistake. The third goal came in a period where we wanted to win and they didn’t want to lose, and these kind of situations can happen.

“This team is a team that has to score goals and capitalise on the production of football we are not a physical team, we are not a team with conditions to defend against physical teams so we have to score when we have the game in our hands.

“The team wants to attack and have the initiative. In the last 15-20 minutes we didn’t play well, the game they wanted was the game we gave them. It was easy for them and they were able to control it. Their goalkeeper was fantastic and he plays in every inch of the box, physically they are very strong and we gave them what they wanted.”

Mark Hughes: “It’s a great result for us. I thought it was a fantastic game – although I suppose I would say that after we’ve won.

“I just felt from start to finish we put in a real performance. We had to recover very quickly from the disappointment of going behind and I thought we showed real character and stuck at it.

“In fairness, Chelsea gave us a little bit of the run around in the first half and we had to hang on in there. That’s what we did and I thought in the second half we were excellent.

“The two goals we scored we scored in the second half were absolutely outstanding. Chelsea’s goal was good too and that was another blow, conceding so quickly after getting our noses in front.

“That was a test of character as well but we stuck at it again and the goal that won the game was outstanding.

“It’s a huge result. We’ve set a high standard for ourselves today and we need to maintain that standard. If we can do that we’ll be very, very difficult to overcome.

“I thought the stadium today was unbelievable in terms of the crowd. The supporters got right behind us and they were the difference.”

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There are 14 comments

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  1. bluebayou

    Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I didn’t see the game and only heard parts on the radio. Conceding 6 goals in 2 games against sides in the lower half of the division doesn’t look good. Stoke had scored 5 goals in 7 home games prior to Saturday, Sunderland 6 in 6. Two teams averaging just about or less than a goal a game both put 3 past what had, up until then, been a team who had conceded 11 goals in 13 games, while scoring around 2 a game.

    So is it a striker problem, or a defensive problem that needs most attention? Defence wins titles they say. And if it doesn’t then you have to create far more quality on target chances than Chelsea currently do.

    I wonder how often one player hits the target 3 times (I’m including the woodwork) with the quality Schurrle did on Saturday? Only Hazard on Wednesday perhaps. My perception is that Chelsea miss putting the ball on target too often both by poor shooting and by electing to shoot when players are open in better positions (Ramires was particularly guilty of this on Saturday from what I saw of the highlights).

    And the fact that it’s a year since a Chelsea striker scored away from home in the league looks bizarre. But, then again if the goals come in sufficient quantity is it a problem? Well, perhaps, in that if it is not a function of tactics, then you are always handicapped by the fact that at least one of your outfield will not score away from home: the one player whose primary function is scoring goals.

    The received wisdom is that there are serious gaps in the squad at CB, CM and striker and all eyes now look to January. Interestingly the social media at the weekend saw the appearance of the “What could Jose do with Emanelo’s poor summer purchases and generally unbalanced squad building?” Christmas single. It will be interesting to see if it outsells the summer hit “Aren’t Chelsea doing well to invest in young exciting players, we’ve not bought any pups for a while?” Mind you it wont have to sell much to do better than autumn’s disappointing “Why are we paying a club in the Russian Premier League for players we don’t really want?”.

    But surely there are enough resources within the current squad to maintain some sort of title challenge?

    Wednesday seemed an aberration defensively, Saturday less so. But 6 goals from 6 on target chances (if the stats are right) seems harsh. Then again it also suggests a level of defensive breakdown that means too many cast iron chances are being given up, when two teams who struggle to score can fill their boots.

    Am I right in thinking that after the substitution of Mikel and Schurrle, Chelsea seemed less effective and less likely to score? It sounded that way on the radio but without seeing the game it is difficult to make that judgement. And the withdrawal of Torres didn’t seem to help. A reminder, perhaps, that how we view a manager’s success with substitutions is more perception bias rather than hard fact.

    Two away defeats bookend a draw and three wins in the last six games. Probably not good enough for a proper tilt at the title, if we’re honest unless they can find a tad more consistency.

    In recent seasons 86-90 points has been enough for the title and with 30 points after 15, Chelsea are on a 76 point pace. Only Arsenal on an 89 point pace are currently in that zone. So there is a danger that like last season, everyone expects a challenge to a team that doesn’t appear to be quite good enough for the title, yet it never materialises and they gradually ease away. Or more positively, if Arsenal come back to the pack and Chelsea can become more consistent then who knows?

    I am not going to hold my breath. But then again as I am not diving into the “Slough of Despond” (that’s as in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as opposed to where Ali G lives), I don’t need to.

  2. Blueboydave

    Oh dear, A Mourinho team that’s forgotten how to defend properly.

    Seems there are significant tensions between the desire for sparkling, attacking football and anything approximating to a solid defence. For example, no cover for the back four at all when our attack broke down just before the Stoke winner.

    From the extensive coverage I saw, BB, it seemed that the substitutions did nothing to reduce the loss of control of the game which had been building through the second half.

    Nick, it seems only fair to point out that most of Fleet Street’s hacks put a more “trouble at t’ mill” interpretation on Jose’s post match comments on his strikers than the Daily Telegraph article you give the link to above – including the estimable Dan Levene:

    http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/mourinho-set-crash-course-abramovich-6384508?utm_source=Get+West+London&utm_medium=twitter

    Still, as BB implies, the mediocre and equally inconsistent state of the other title challengers may save us yet.

  3. Cunningplan

    I managed to find a very good quality internet feed for the match and at the end of it I just shook my head, and shrugged my shoulders (I can multitask) in disbelief.

    We were totally comfortable and in total control for all of the first half, had the “decision” making and passing of Ramires and Hazard in and around the penalty area been of a better standard then it would have been 3 points safely in the bag.

    The first goal was soft, even though Cech made the mistake there were still enough players between Tony’s cupboard under the stairs friend and the goal, it should have been blocked.
    And if you look at the build up to the second goal Walters was very clever in nudging Dave away from the ball, it should have been a free kick, the third goal, well it was worthy of winning any game.

    The only saving grace that’s already been pointed out, is that the rest of the title hopefuls don’t appear to want to run away with it at the moment.

  4. Blue_MikeL

    There is nothing new here, Torres, Torres and Torres again. We go on pitch without striker, however while he is in the Chelsea shirt we must play him because otherwise he wouldn’t give us even shirts money. Those who bought him should rot in hell for all the damage it brought to the club.

  5. Blue_MikeL

    How about playing Galatasaray in the next round, so Drog can remind us what we are missing :-). That might be fun, actually!

  6. WorkingClassPost

    Just like the team, I’m struggling at the moment.

    Struggling to catch all the games, and when I do it’s a bigger struggle to know wtf is going on. We play well, we lose, we play shite, we get a result (or we draw, or we lose). And it’s worse when we play well and win, because then the hope returns that maybe we’ve turned a corner and now we’re gonna start playing to our potential, and we all know what happens next.

    Anyway, criticising the players is all well and good, but Jose must shoulder some of the blame, It’s not just his selections or substitutions that swing from great to not so good, but the team are very quick to go off the boil and start playing like we’re three goals up, long before we reach that marker.

    I’ve also struggled to get access to a computer these days, and can’t really get the hang of doing mobile phone posts – I do need a proper keyboard, but this may be resolved after a little bit of re-cycling of an old XP machine at work – stuck lubuntu on it and it goes great.

  7. Blue_MikeL

    Peter saved the game today. we are toothless up front and week at back line 🙁 That is how it looks like.

  8. Ramone

    AVB post Tottenham Liverpool : “It’s the second expressive scoreline that we’ve suffered in the
    season…………and because of the expressive result it makes it even more difficult for us to bounce back.”
    Expressive scoreline ? expressive result. ? What the **** is he talking about ? Euro coach speak gone mad. I fear AVB may be losing it again ……….


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