So the day was kicked off with a minute's silence overlooked by some Chelsea pensioners, and once the formalities were out of the way Chelsea began the work of breaking down the typically resolute Stoke defence. I suppose when it comes down to premier league survival you can't blame a team for parking the proverbial bus, but Stoke play in such a fashion that it, in my humble opinion, it is embarrassing to call them a football club, their team is stocked with giant 'athletes' , they waste soo much time and really don't turn up on the weekend to play football. Unfortunately for the general standard of the premiership, this tactic works. I wish we saw more of the likes of Swansea and Norwich come up from the Championship and play football, or indeed like Blackpool and Hull have done in recent memory, although in the end unsuccessfully. But anyway enough moaning, you have to beat what is in front of you, and thankfully Chelsea managed to break down a ten-man Stoke team after Ricardo Fuller had a rush of blood to the head and decided to stamp down on 'Two-goal Brana'.
The team was full of the 'old guard' , but what was nice to see at the Bridge was a manager who was prepared to play the situation and was not scared of making changes. Knowing that Stoke were a physical team, and I suspect with one eye on Wednesday night, Robbie decided to leave Mata and Sturridge out in preference for some more physical players. With Chelsea needing a goal and the three points he decided to bring Mata on for an ineffective Meireles on 37 minutes, in order to force the goal. Luiz also came on for Ivanovic at half time, who had had a couple of good efforts on target, and at 67 mins just before the goal Mikel came off for another attacking threat in Sturridge.
Other highlights from the game included a strong centre partnership of Cahill and Terry which is going to be paramount for a result on Wednesday night, both men ventured up the park to crack off a couple of long shots and strong headers from corners. With Chelsea dominating possession, the final stat was 66%, it took some real class to break down the dogged Stoke wall and the magic moment of the day was Mata's assist for the goal. Mata sent his man the wrong way, cut back towards the centre of the penalty box and fed a beautiful ball through with his right foot to Drogba who was waiting eagerly in plenty of space in the box, Drogba then took it out of his feet, rounded the goalie and tucked the ball home in style. Mata ended another good day at the office with a fantastic free kick near the end that hit the outside of the post. Where our season would currently be without the attacking prowess of Juan, who knows, but I suspect we would be even further up the Creek with no paddle or boat.