Andre Villas-Boas showed shades of Mourinho as Chelsea and Stoke City played out a 0-0 draw at the Brittania Stadium, in a game marred by two penalty appeals which should have been given in Chelsea’s favor.
Whilst 0-0 seems a boring score, to be honest the match was anything but. Chelsea were treated with a very hostile reception when they came out and looked nervy in the first 20 minutes, whilst in contrast Stoke looked threatening with their marquee long throws into the box and their physical presence in the air – Most of which were dealt with by none other than Petr Cech.
Torres was a stand out performer in the first half, with Jose Bosingwa being another unlikely top player. Bosingwa’s attempted cross in the box looked lethal and forced a save from the impressive Begovic. That was as close as Chelsea got in the first half, apart from a Ramires run that saw the Brazilian get into the danger zone, but his squared pass was converted.
Chelsea looked ordinary in the first half, but the second half performance was a completely different story. Whilst the Blues barely created a chance in the first 45 minutes, they managed to create loads of chances in the second, and looked an altogether new squad. Possibly some may say shades of Mourinho’s time?!?!?
There were two penalty appeals in quick succession, both of which Chelsea felt they should have been awarded. Firstly, Torres went down under the challenge of Woodgate and then after surging into the penalty box, Frank Lampard hit the ground yet got nothing – Had that been any home team then both would have been given.
Chelsea came close to scoring when John Obi Mikel, a player still waiting for his first Premier League goal, shot on target from about 30-yards out only for Begovic to make an impressive save.
With 66 minutes gone, Malouda made way for Anelka and the Frenchman nearly scored with a cheeky chip from outside the box, but Begovic just managed to get a hand to it and tip the ball onto the post.
Kalou, who was highly ineffective in the game, made way for Didier Drogba in the 76th minute much to the roars and pleasure of the travelling Chelsea fans – This meant it was finally a striking trio of Anelka—Torres—Drogba. Unfortunately they only got 14 minutes together, during this time the Blues continued to pile on pressure, but the Stoke defence was too hard to break, meaning the game ended with the final score being 0-0.
by Abhishek Easwaran