It was a feisty competition between Stoke City and Chelsea at the Bet365 Stadium as an undercurrent of tension permeated the entire game on Saturday. Stoke contained the Premier League leaders well with Lee Grant making a few great saves for the Potters but the final scoreline almost seems inevitable in hindsight even though it looked unlikely in the final stages of the game.
Willian netted first with a free-kick in at the near post which really should have been saved by Grant. Stoke scored next when Jon Walters converted from the spot in the 37th minute. It was at the end of the Potters’ best period in the later part of the second half that Chelsea clinched the winner through Gary Cahill. Even though the Blues did concede in their sixth consecutive league game, they are now 13 points clear of the rest and almost sure to be crowned champions in May.
Here are the five major talking points from a riveting contest between the two sides:
#1 Stoke’s disallowed goal
Before Walters’s penalty, Stoke had the opportunity to equalise through a corner when the Chelsea defenders seemed to have simply switched off. An unchecked Bruno Martins Indi came bursting forward after the initial corner had been defended and met the loose ball with a header. As soon as his attempt beat Thibaut Courtois, the linesman blew his whistle for what was initially assumed to be a call for offside.
Replay suggested otherwise as the centre-back was clearly onside, however, Saido Berahino was not. The former West Bromwich Albion man was making his full home debut for the Potters and was the one to blame as he pushed Cesar Azpilicueta to the ground from an offside position thus resulting in the disallowed goal. Berahino’s mistake was the worst part of the forward’s otherwise desultory performance.