EPL 2016/17: Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea, Player Ratings
Chelsea extended their lead at the summit of the Barclays Premier League after securing a hard-fought victory over Stoke City. The win takes Chelsea a step closer to their second Premier League title in three seasons. Stoke, meanwhile, remain ninth in the table, three points above Southampton who have played three games less.
The first half saw the Blues take the lead when Willian scored from a free-kick, beating Lee Grant at his near post. The hosts equalised from the penalty spot via Jonathan Walters after he was brought down by Gary Cahill.
Chelsea regained their lead in the second half when Cahill scored from a clearance scuffed by Erik Pieters. The goal came at a point where Stoke were threatening to secure a lead against the league leaders.
Here’s how the players fared during the game.
Lee Grant – 4.5/10
Grant made a couple of decent saves during the game but was at fault for conceding the opening goal. He was easily beaten at his near post. The keeper couldn’t have done much in keeping out Cahill’s winner, though.
Phil Bardsley – 4/10
Bardsley endured a torrid time against the left side of Chelsea’s attack. His marking was very poor allowing the likes of Pedro and Marcos Alonso to threaten the Stoke goal. One such instance was when he allowed Alonso to have a clear shot at goal which was saved well by Lee Grant in the first half.
Bardsley was booked in the first half for a silly foul on Diego Costa and heaped more misery on his team when he was sent off for a cynical challenge on Cesc Fabregas.
Ryan Shawcross – 5.5/10
Shawcross played a very vital part in keeping Costa quiet throughout the game. There were certain instances where his tackling was rash, but the centre-back had a decent game overall.
Bruno Martins Indi – 7/10
The Dutchman was one of the best players for Stoke. Martins Indi showed great composure and defensive awareness while dealing with Costa. His well-timed tackles and interceptions in vital areas of the pitch helped keep Stoke in the game.
Eric Pieters – 4.5/10
Pieters did not offer much going forward but made some vital blocks to stop the opposition from getting into dangerous positions. He was booked in the second half after being forced to commit a foul on Pedro, who otherwise would have been through on goal. The Dutchman’s scuffed clearance also helped Cahill smash home the winner.
Geoff Cameron – 5/10
The American offered good work rate and made some important tackles and interceptions which prevented the likes of Costa, Willian and Pedro from getting into dangerous positions. He prevented Pedro from making the score 2-1 in the early stages of the second half with a perfectly timed tackle in the penalty box.
Joe Allen – 4/10
It was a frustrating day at the office for Joe Allen who was well marshalled by Chelsea’s midfield pairing of Matic and Kanté. The relentless pressing from Chelsea’s midfielders didn’t allow Allen to dictate the play and the Welshman found it difficult to cope with Matic’s physicality. His set pieces were very poor and did not pose a problem for Chelsea’s defence.
Jonathan Walters – 6/10
Walters was one of the few players who looked to threaten Chelsea’s defence. His efforts were rewarded when he calmly dispatched a penalty after being brought down in the penalty box by Gary Cahill.
Marko Arnautovic – 4/10
The Austrian cut a frustrating figure throughout the game and lacked the cutting edge to worry Chelsea’s defence. Arnautovic lost possession on numerous occasions and did not link up well with his team mates. Moreover, the Austrian gave away the free-kick that led to Chelsea’s opening goal.
Ramadan Sobhi – 5/10
The Egyptian exhibited flashes of brilliance but couldn’t display his skills throughout the game. Sobhi got the better of Azpilicueta on a few occasions but failed to provide the final pass most of the time. However, he did win the free-kick that led to Stoke’s equaliser.
Saido Berahino – 3.5/10
Berahino was passive throughout the game and did not pose any problem for Chelsea’s defence. He committed a foul inside the opponent’s penalty box which ruled out Martin’s Indi’s goal shortly before Stoke’s equaliser. Overall, it was an inept display from the youngster who is still looking for his first goal for his new club.
Mame Biram Diouf – 4/10
Diouf came on as a substitute for Berahino in the second half. He did not get the necessary service from his teammates and failed to pressurise Chelsea’s defence.
Peter Crouch – N/A
Crouch replaced Sobhi in the dying moments of the game when Stoke were looking for the equaliser.
Thibaut Courtois – 5/10
The Belgian was a spectator for a majority of the game. There was nothing Courtois could do to save Walters’ penalty which was struck hard into the right-hand side of his goal.
César Azpilicueta – 5/10
Azpilicueta was troubled by Sobhi’s guile on certain occasions but managed to keep him at bay and have a decent game. The Spaniard kept things simple at the back and his no-nonsense approach while defending helped his team secure the victory.
Gary Cahill – 7.5/10
It was a real captain’s performance from Gary Cahill, who helped his side by scoring the winning goal after conceding the penalty that led to Stoke’s equaliser. Apart from the concession of the penalty, Cahill looked assured while defending and his calm demeanour helped keep Stoke’s attack in check.
David Luiz – 7/10
Luiz defended solidly throughout the game and did well to stop the likes of Marko Arnautouvic and Ramadan Sobhi from having a sniff at goal. The Brazilian was composed and made seven interceptions along with ten clearances to make sure his side took home all three points.
Victor Moses – 5/10
Moses got on with his job in silent fashion and helped keep things tight at the back. He did not have to offer much in attack due to the performance of Chelsea’s front three and was subbed off ten minutes after the hour mark.
Marcos Alonso – 6.5/10
The Spaniard linked up well with Pedro and caused a lot of problems for Phil Bardsley. Alonso drew a foul off Arnautovic which eventually led to Chelsea’s opening goal and also stopped some dangerous crosses from being delivered to Stoke’s strikers. Alonso was unlucky not to score when his free-kick rattled the post.
Nemanja Matic – 7/10
The Serbian got on with his work in splendid fashion and kept things tight in midfield along with Kanté. Matic retained the ball and shielded the back three with great aplomb. His physical approach didn’t allow the Stoke players to boss the midfield and he constantly broke up Stoke’s counters by making some smart interceptions/blocks in the middle of the park.
N’Golo Kanté – 7.5/10
Kanté did what Kante always does and that is put in a shift. He was his side’s perfect link between defence and attack. His relentless pressing made the opposition hurry their passes and helped his side regain possession on numerous occasions. Kante made a total of six tackles, the most by a Chelsea player, along with four interceptions.
Pedro – 8/10
Although Pedro did not find the net, he looked lively throughout the game. He dribbled past defenders effortlessly, linked up seamlessly with Willian and played a very important part in the build-up to the first goal where he spotted the run of Alonso and let the ball roll to the wing-back, who was subsequently fouled.
Willian – 8/10
Willian linked up well with Pedro and displayed some brilliant attacking football. He scored a free-kick that beat Grant at his near post. The Brazilian’s pace and vast reserves of energy troubled Stoke immensely.
Diego Costa – 5.5/10
Costa could not stamp his authority on the game as he was man marked by Martins Indi and Shawcross. However, he did come close to scoring in the second half when his effort hit the side netting.
Cesc Fabregas – 6/10
Fabregas replaced Victor Moses in the second half. The Spaniard played some composed football and played three key passes that led to chances which were kept out by Grant.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 5/10
Loftus-Cheek played a key role in getting the corner from which Chelsea scored. The youngster also had a chance to score in the dying minutes of the game only to be denied by Grant.
Kurt Zouma – N/A
Zouma came on in the dying moments of the game to see out the match.