RADIO CLIVE'S FIVE: CHELSEA V STOKE
Throughout the season former player Clive Walker provides radio and TV commentary on Chelsea's games. Here he selects five aspects of our narrow but welcome win over the Potters that caught his eye…
1. The game panned out pretty much how many people believed it would. When Stoke are playing away it is rarely going to be a pretty, free-flowing game. For everything that is being said about their style changing now there is no Rory Delap with his long throw, the foundations of the side have been laid down by Tony Pulis and the good job he has done there, and those are to make it very difficult for the other side.
2. Stoke essentially played a 4-5-1 formation so they flooded the midfield and tried to plug all the gaps. Having said, I thought they started very slowly and opportunities were there for Chelsea in the early stages of the game. We were on the front foot and looking like we were going to score at any time but with opposition like Stoke, if you don't score then sometimes they bite you on the backside and they were unlucky when they hit the crossbar. That knocked us out of our stride slightly and we started slowly in the second half too, but got things moving as the half wore on. We deserved to win based on possession and because we were the only team looking likely to score by that stage.
3. Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar started together for the first time and it was good in patches but it stuttered at other times. We have all been waiting to see this selection and after Oscar's performance against Juventus, people were hoping he would do the same time and time again but it doesn't happen like that. In analysing that part of the team you have to look at the front four. I felt sorry for Fernando Torres against Juventus as they played with a back three and every time he got the ball he had bodies all around him. Against Stoke, Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth were always going to make it another hard game. A more open match will come soon for him but against Stoke all the front four found it a bit tough.
4. Towards the end we were trying every avenue to break forward. Our full-backs have found it difficult in recent weeks to give us some width but it was great to see Ashley Cole pop up in the six-yard box. That is testament to the fact he just wants to keeping on going and it took a touch of quality to make a difference between the two sides. The only time Stoke looked like scoring was from a dead ball and for Chelsea to score from a free-flowing move was terrific.
5. With Frank Lampard rested, Ramires was asked to play as one of the two deeper midfielders and he went about his business well. He often looks best facing the game and he kept getting his foot in and looked comfortable playing deeper. I'm not saying we should split up Lampard and John Mikel Obi but it is good see there is someone else who can go in there and look a good player. Mikel was excellent as well.