It’s was a nervy encounter at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as both sides battled for all three points. For Chelsea, it was about extending our run on consecutive league wins in a single season and also stoking up the pressure on our title rivals and staking our claim as title favourites with another win. Mark Hughes Potters were on winless run and were in dire need of three points to break their streak. Contest between these two sides often turn out to be a cagey affair soaked in physical battle, but Saturday’s game was a different affair with lots of goals and resilience on display.
Here are 3 talking points from the game from a Chelsea perspective:
CHELSEA SHOW DEFENSIVE FRAILTIES:
Prior to the game, the big questions on virtually everyone’s lips were: Can Chelsea extend their winning streak? Can Stoke City fire down Chelsea’s barracks? Our red-hot form has made us become invincible that Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger declared us ‘title favourites’ during his press conference which Conte debunked. Back to the Stoke game, and much concern was the fact we conceded two goals that were avoidable from set-pieces. Peter Crouch and Stoke City aerial threats pegged us back twice. This was the first time we had conceded two in the league since our defeat against Arsenal. Conte knows Stoke just opened up and exploited a weak link in the team that must be dealt with if we are emerge league winners.
CHELSEA DIG DEEP TO WIN:
How many times this season have we displayed strong resolve to win a game by the scruff of the neck? The rule is simple: if you can’t keep a clean-sheet, then be prepared to outscore your opponent to win. That’s exactly what we did. We punched into the Stoke’s defence to find a way to score in attacking areas. At the end, we triumphed by showing strong fighting spirit against a Stoke side that came prepared to crack our secret winning code.
WILLIAN SHINES IN A SUBLIME PERFORMANCE:
There’s no way we can talk about a memorable win like this without recognising the impact of Willian. Can anyone remember that million dollar Willian strike against Everton that won the game during our title-winning season of 2014/15? Today again, not once but twice the Brazilian was on fire as his two goals gave us the lead twice in the match. Massive contribution from the club’s reigning Player of the Year. Surely, he has staked a claim for a starting spot. And with Pedro in fine form, this poses a good selection headache for Coach Antonio Conte.
Chelsea lead the league all the way into 2017. Happy New Year and expect better ways to winning games. Cheers!