Monday, April 23, 2018

Stoke City vs Chelsea 1-0: Five things we learned from another emphatic display from the Premier League champions

Diego Cista: Disappointed and Disappointing - Image via

Diego Costa: Disappointed and Disappointing – Image via

The Premier League title holders have suffered their seventh defeat this season with a visit to Brittania Stadium turning sour following Arnautovic’s volley just around the hour mark.

The Blues are now occupying the 16th place in the Premier League standings just three points clear off the relegation zone and their campaign has today officially turned from bad to worse.

Dominant in possession, Chelsea failed to convert their on-pitch supremacy against highly organized Stoke City who showed great composure and patience in the game.

The final encounter of the Saturday match programme has taught us a couple of things and here are some of our observations listed below. Feel free to share your thoughts on the game.

Jose Mourinho must go

Chelsea Football Club have this season lost their identity, much to the responsibility of their manager. Despite the love songs from the stands, Mourinho will have to take the blame, sooner or later. The Portuguese manager has so far tried to divert the attention away from his team’s underachievement towards the media, referees, the FA and even rivalling managers, but at no point did he stand up and took the responsibility to himself.

Mourinho didn’t blame it on the players either, but Chelsea’s problems will need to be addressed before it gets too late. With relegation fears sneaking into the locker room, the players are turning against their manager who was not missed in the game against Stoke City.

Mourinho’s charisma has turned into bitterness and the Chelsea manager is surrounded with negativity which is projecting onto his players.

Are Mourinho’s days numbered?

Willian the key player

The Brazilian winger has been one of the brightest spots in otherwise completely disappointing Chelsea team. The 27-year-old has put in another fine performance at Britannia Stadium proving once again that he has become the key player this term.

He took Eden Hazard’s role from last season, as this flamboyant player is channeling the majority of Chelsea’s plays, equally participating in both attacking and defensive exploits of his team.

Following his winner against Dynamo Kiev, Willian has today once again stepped under the spotlight, taking the responsibility into his own hands. However, he was not followed by his emphatic teammates who have put another below-par performance.

Putting his body on the line has not yielded results against Stoke City and Willian will have been disappointed by the lack of effort from his team.

Matic a shadow of his former self

The Serbian midfielder has been unrecognizable this term. Mourinho was right to criticize him for his nonchalant displays, which was exactly what we saw against Stoke City.

Running around aimlessly, Nemanja Matic was out of play most of the time. Renowned for his pressure on the rivaling players, the 27-year-old holding midfielder failed in what he was so generously praised for last season.

No interceptions, no pressure on the ball, Matic was mostly standing in between the Stoke City players far away from the actual play.

The imposing midfielder will have to rethink his role in the team as he could easily lose his place in the starting line-up, maybe even for the next game already.

Debutants’ duel: Baba vs Shaqiri

The two players met for the first time in Saturday’s game at Brittania Stadium. Baba Rahman kept a close watch on the dynamic midfielder who was, admittedly, properly guarded for most of the time.

Shaqiri played his ninth Premier League game following his transfer from Inter Milan this summer and is yet to find the net in Enlgand’s top tier. His hopes of bagging a goal against the Brittania Stadium debutant from Chelsea were put to a halt by an exciting performance from this 21-year-old Ghana defender.

Baba was given his second start this season and Chelsea defender showed promising signs of good quality in his third Premier League appearance.

The young and fairly inexperienced player as he is, Baba Rahman gave a lot of stability to Chelsea’s backline, not allowing Xerdan Shaqiri to pierce through towards Begovic’s goal. Left-footed talent has fired a warning toward his teammates and other candidates for the place in the team, he is here to stay and Chelsea definitely have a bright gem in this young man.

Chelsea need to sign a striker in January

Only two goals in ten Premier League games is a devastating number for a striker of Diego Costa’s calibre. During his 90 minutes against Stoke City, the Spanish striker produced just one goalscoring opportunity, adding a theatrical effort towards the end of the game in his attempt to win a free-kick for his team.

Loik Remy joined his 27-year-old striking partner after 70 minutes and he even managed to get into a good goalscoring position, when his effort from a difficult position went over the bar.

Radamel Falcao was not on the bench at Brittania Stadium and Stoke game served as the final proof of Chelsea’s impotence in front of goal this season.

The club management will have to react during the winter, as it has become obvious that the reigning champions need some fresh blood upfront.


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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