Posted on: Mon 14 Jan 2013

Rafael Benitez praised his players for the way they went about their task at the Britannia Stadium, and he is backed up by the facts and figures as we celebrate a fourth straight away league win.

The game was even until we took the lead in first half stoppage time, at which point both sides had taken six shots with two on target. In the second period we had seven efforts with four on target, Stoke another six with three making the returning Petr Cech work.

Stoke's pass completion was 68 per cent, ours 79, relatively low compared to our average across the season. We also attempted more long balls than Stoke, 53 to 50, though a smaller percentage of our overall passes. We had 57 per cent possession, though the ball spent longer in our half than it did Stoke's, with Cech collecting 15 backpasses.

We completed 99 passes in the final third, our second lowest of the season after Sunderland away. It shows the team is spending less time in build-up before attempting to score, as Rafael Benitez advised when he took over.

Stoke won 23 of 34 aerial duels, though we won three of five inside our own area, and Jonathan Walters twice headed into his own net at the other end.

Frank Lampard attempted four shots, more than anyone else, and had three on target. Asmir Begovic twice made unlikely saves from the midfielder.

Lampard was also the game's top passer, completing 52 across the 90 minutes, from 64 attempts. In a low-key game alongside him, Ramires misplaced just three of his 37. Steven Nzonzi was Stoke's most influential player, with 41 from 47 and 16 from 17 around our danger zones.

Lampard's excellent understanding with Ashley Cole was in evidence as they exchanged 26 passes over the 90 minutes.

Demba Ba had a quiet game in front of goal but created three opportunities for team-mates. Only Matthew Etherington, with four, made more.

Eden Hazard had a good game on the ball, with five successful take-ons, while Ramires was best without it, making six successful tackles.