Premier League
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Chelsea 5-0 Stoke City

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Chelsea 5-0 Stoke: We finished a great year for us - Antonio Conte

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said his side's comprehensive victory over Stoke rounded off a great 2017.

Struggling Stoke - missing five defenders and fielding two teenagers at full-back - trailed within three minutes when Antonio Rudiger headed home Willian's free-kick.

The Premier League champions, who rested Eden Hazard, doubled their lead when Danny Drinkwater fired home on the bounce from 25 yards out, and Pedro added a third from just outside the box with only a quarter of the game gone.

Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf had a goal harshly ruled out after using his upper arm to control a long ball before smashing home.

The game almost descended into a training match, with Chelsea - who move above Manchester United into second place - going 50 minutes before adding a fourth through Willian's penalty.

Davide Zappacosta scored a late fifth from 20 yards out as the Blues made it five wins from their last six games.

Conte led the Blues to the title last season in his first year in charge, but they now trail leaders Manchester City by 13 points.

"Today, we finished a great year for us - for the club, for the fans, for the players, for me," Conte told BBC Match of the Day.

"For a first experience in the league, to win the title is not easy, so I have to thank the club for giving me this opportunity.

"Manchester City are on a fantastic run. We just have to give everything in every game to try and get three points, and then at the end of the season we will see what happens."

Chelsea can afford to rest players

Danny Drinkwater
Danny Drinkwater - making only his third Premier League start for Chelsea - scored the Blues' second

With Wednesday's trip to top-four rivals Arsenal in mind, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte left Hazard on the bench and never needed to consider bringing him on.

The game was so straightforward, he could probably have rested his entire first 11.

Conte made three changes from the side who beat Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day, and the first four goals were scored or set up by the trio to come in - Pedro, Willian and Drinkwater.

Rudiger rose highest to head an early opener from Willian's set piece, before Pedro's deflected cross found Drinkwater to smash home his first Chelsea goal.

Willian then picked out Pedro to score a third.

The second half lacked any competitive edge and Conte was able to bring off N'Golo Kante, Alvaro Morata - who missed two relatively straightforward chances - and Victor Moses to keep them fresh for Wednesday.

Willian scored a penalty after he had been fouled by Geoff Cameron, and Zappacosta scored his first Premier League goal from just outside the box late on.

Sorry Stoke thrashed again

Mark Hughes and Antonio Conte
Mark Hughes said his side had to "take their medicine" after a heavy defeat at Stamford Bridge

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is under pressure and a heavy defeat against his old club will not have helped. The Potters, who are two points above the relegation zone, have now conceded five goals or more in three Premier League games this season.

In truth, circumstances and tactical decisions meant a positive result against the champions never appeared likely.

Stoke had four defenders out injured, and Kurt Zouma was ineligible to play against his parent club. Stoke had only ever started teenagers in five Premier League games, but Josh Tymon and Thomas Edwards both faced the Blues.

Hughes rested Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Peter Crouch, with the home game against relegation rivals Newcastle on Monday in mind.

The visitors only had one shot in the entire game - Saido Berahino's feeble effort at Thibaut Courtois when through on goal. The striker has not scored a goal since February 2016.

Reaction: Hughes 'pragmatic' with his team

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Hughes defends Stoke team selection at Chelsea

Stoke boss Hughes confirmed that he rested several key players because of their two-day turnaround, adding he would have named a stronger side if his team had four days off like Chelsea.

"There was always going to be a risk with the back four but they're all we had," he told BBC Match of the Day. "The two young lads in defence did their best in difficult circumstances. The back four had never played together.

"We've got to go again on Monday so we had to protect a number of players. I take responsibility for this, it was my decision. But the feeling is we're in better shape for Monday - if we win that, we've had a decent Christmas period.

"If we had Chelsea's schedule, we'd have picked Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and had a go. We've been put in a difficult position.

"Our record here is poor. It was going to be very difficult to get a positive result even with a full-strength side. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic and take your medicine."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told BBC Sport: "Today we were very good, we started very well and to score twice after 15 minutes, another clean sheet, there are a lot of positives after this game.

"But at the same time we know we must continue to work and improve, and prepare for a very difficult game against Arsenal.

"Every win is important for us. Today it was important to get three points to continue our positive run."

Man of the match - Pedro

Pedro
Pedro (r) was at the centre of everything, with eight shots - four on target, including his goal

Match stats - Stoke's worst start in Premier League

  • Chelsea have conceded just four goals in their last 12 Premier League games, keeping eight clean sheets on the way.
  • Stoke's total of 20 points after 21 games is their worst-ever haul at this stage of a Premier League season.
  • Some 21 of Chelsea's top-flight goals this season have come via Spanish players, more than any other side in Europe's big five leagues - including La Liga.
  • The Potters have registered a league-low two clean sheets in the top-flight this season; indeed, in Europe's big five leagues, only Serie A strugglers Benevento have kept fewer (1).
  • The Blues have scored a divisional-high 13 headed goals this season.
  • Josh Tymon is just the third teenager to start a Premier League game for the Potters, after Ramadan Sobhi and Thomas Edwards.
  • Willian has been directly involved in six goals in his last four Premier League games against Stoke (4 goals, 2 assists).
  • Five of Pedro's last seven Premier League goals have come from outside the box.

Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 13Courtois
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 24Cahill
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 15MosesSubstituted forZappacostaat 57'minutes
  • 7KantéSubstituted forBakayokoat 65'minutes
  • 6Drinkwater
  • 3Alonso
  • 22Willian
  • 9MorataSubstituted forBatshuayiat 71'minutes
  • 11PedroBooked at 52mins

Substitutes

  • 1Caballero
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 10E Hazard
  • 14Bakayoko
  • 21Zappacosta
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 27Christensen

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 42Edwards
  • 20Cameron
  • 5Wimmer
  • 12Tymon
  • 24Fletcher
  • 16AdamSubstituted forChoupo-Motingat 81'minutes
  • 18DioufBooked at 27mins
  • 14AfellaySubstituted forNgoyat 71'minutes
  • 32Sobhi
  • 9Berahino

Substitutes

  • 4Allen
  • 10Choupo-Moting
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 25Crouch
  • 28Ngoy
  • 33Grant
  • 36Souttar
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
41,433

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home21
Away1
Shots on Target
Home12
Away1
Corners
Home7
Away0
Fouls
Home5
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 5, Stoke City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 5, Stoke City 0.

Attempt missed. Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Pedro.

Goal!

Goal! Chelsea 5, Stoke City 0. Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Kevin Wimmer.

Foul by Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea).

Kevin Wimmer (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaces Charlie Adam.

Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

Attempt blocked. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Davide Zappacosta with a cross.

Tiemoué Bakayoko (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Julien Ngoy (Stoke City).

Hand ball by Pedro (Chelsea).

Foul by Tiemoué Bakayoko (Chelsea).

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Chelsea. Willian tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Chelsea 4, Stoke City 0. Willian (Chelsea) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty Chelsea. Willian draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) after a foul in the penalty area.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Michy Batshuayi replaces Álvaro Morata.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Julien Ngoy replaces Ibrahim Afellay.

Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

Attempt saved. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tiemoué Bakayoko.

Offside, Stoke City. Charlie Adam tries a through ball, but Saido Berahino is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Tiemoué Bakayoko replaces N'Golo Kanté.

Foul by Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea).

Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jack Butland.

Attempt saved. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Davide Zappacosta replaces Victor Moses.

Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marcos Alonso with a cross.

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).

Booking

Pedro (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

Pedro (Chelsea) has gone down, but that's a dive.

Attempt saved. Saido Berahino (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a through ball.

Daniel Drinkwater (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City20191061124958
2Chelsea21143439142545
3Man Utd21135343162744
4Liverpool21118248242441
5Tottenham20114539201937
6Arsenal20114537251237
7Burnley219751817134
8Leicester217683132-127
9Everton217682532-727
10Watford2174103037-725
11Huddersfield216691832-1424
12Brighton215791525-1022
13Southampton214892030-1020
14Bournemouth2155112032-1220
15Stoke2155112346-2320
16Newcastle2154121930-1119
17Crystal Palace2046101832-1418
18West Ham2046102238-1618
19Swansea2144131332-1916
20West Brom202991427-1315
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