RADIO CLIVE'S FIVE: STOKE V CHELSEA
Throughout the season former player Clive Walker provides radio and TV commentary on Chelsea's games. Here he selects five aspects from Saturday's biggest away league win of the season that caught his eye…
1. Part of Chelsea's game plan on Saturday was to get our creative players on the ball in the right areas. With Stoke you know the basic way they are going to play so if you can get a plan going that is causing them problems then it can be difficult for them to change things around. Stoke's two wide players, Jonathan Walters and Matthew Etherington, would have caused problems if we allowed crosses in towards Kenwyne Jones but defensively Ashley Cole was terrific and Cesar Azpilicueta did okay as well. Ryan Bertrand starting in midfield added a defensive side and helped Eden Hazard have a good game. He was in a positive mood going forward and was a big danger to this Stoke team because he is so quick. Sometimes he has to concentrate more on the defensive side but with Bertrand out there it gave stability and Hazard the opportunity to go forward.
2. It was one of those games when the first goal was going to be very important and the Kenwyne Jones miss when the score was 0-0 was a poor one. On another day Asmir Begovic would not have got anywhere near Frank Lampard's chance soon after, so to get the goal just before half-time was a massive lift for us. Lampard, who had an excellent game all round, did superbly to pressure Steven Nzonzi to give away the throw that led up to it. His work-rate never dips. Walters was in a difficult position to deal with the cross, he tried to recover the situation but other defenders could have done a better job earlier in the move.
3. Sometimes when Chelsea play against teams like Stoke we struggle to break them down but on Saturday you sensed a sudden surge of urgency when we picked up a loose ball. It meant we put the ball in good areas and Stoke struggled to clear it, especially with that opening goal. You need your little bit of luck and coming out for the second half we were far the better side.
4. Demba Ba's performance was more important than eye-catching. In the first half a lot of balls he tried to get on the end of were not the best deliveries up to him but he made something of them. He won a few headers but team mates did not pick up the bits and pieces. It looked like the instruction at half-time was to play closer to him and we linked off him a lot better. His was a good team performance and he created some chances. It looked like he was enjoying it more second half.
5. Not much should be read in to the formation switching to three defenders at the back when John Terry came on near the end. The game was over by then and I think it was just a case of getting Terry some more minutes on the pitch and giving Juan Mata a little break. It was great to see Petr Cech back as well and when balls were laid back to him, especially in the first half, his delivery forward was excellent.