Super sub Assaidi stuns Chelsea
7th December 2013 3pm
Attendance: 25, 154
Substitute Oussama Assaidi`s superb late strike gave Stoke their first win over Chelsea in 38 years, and stretched their unbeaten home run to five.
The victory has moved Stoke up to 12th in the Premier League as Chelsea slip to third behind Arsenal and Liverpool.
Stoke made two changes as Jonathan Walters returned to the starting eleven ahead of Oussama Assaidi, and Marc Muniesa deputised at left back in the absence of injured Erik Pieters.
Mourinho decided to leave Frank Lampard on the bench as Jon Obi Mikel started, and Andre Schurrle was the only other change, getting the nod ahead of Willian.
Chelsea came out of the blocks flying, as Andre Schurrle received the ball from Mikel before showing show excellent footwork and control before firing home past Begovic in the Stoke goal to give the Blues an early lead.
From that minute onwards, it looked like it could be a long day for Stoke, and flashbacks of Chelsea`s 4-0 win from last season may have started to haunt the Potters players.
The visitors seemed in total control of proceedings and it only seemed a matter of time until they doubled their lead, but were wasteful. Ramires missed a couple of golden opportunities.
Charlie Adam picked up an injury and was forced off. The injury proved to be a blessing in disguise as Stephen Ireland came on and was integral in Stoke`s fightback.
Stoke managed to grab an equaliser against the run of play after an uncharacteristic goalkeeping mistake by Petr Cech. The Czech Republic goalkeeper was hesitant from a Marco Arnautovic corner and found himself in no man`s land when Peter Crouch found the ball on the penalty spot and slotted home in a crowded box to send the side in level at half time.
The Potters were the side that started the second half the brightest. Five minutes into the second period, Jonathan Walters beat Cesar Azpilicueta in the air once again and turned the Spanish international and embarked on one of his trademark gallops down the right flank, the Republic of Ireland international found his fellow countrymen Stephen Ireland, who calmly allowed the ball to go across his body before curling the ball into the far corner with his left foot from 25 yards out that left Petr Cech with no chance.
The goal seemed to kick start Chelsea once again, and the Blues were level in a matter of minutes.
Juan Mata`s freekick from the right was only half clearly by the Potters and ball fell to German Schurrle again who hit an exquisite half volley which flew into the net.
The former Bayer Leverkusen striker seemed to be on a one man mission and nearly completed his hat-trick shortly after. He found space once again on the edge of Stoke`s box, and smashed a dipping effort towards goal, and with Begovic beaten again, the Bosnian was relieved to see the ball crash off the crossbar.
Stoke nearly regained the lead once again, as Ireland looked to double his tally. Frenchman N`Zonzi found Crouch expertly in the penalty who managed to chest down and lay off Ireland on inside the penalty area, but the Villa loanee couldn`t repeat his early curled effort as he blazed over.
Mourinho had seen enough, and brought on Demba Ba for Fernando Torres in a search of a winner. The change almost paid off immediately as the former West Ham striker seemed to have been bundled over in the penalty by Stoke`s captain Ryan Shawcross, but the referee waved away any appeals.
Chelsea then made two more changes as Lampard and Eto`o replaced Schurrle and Mikel and Mark Hughes responded by bring on Oussama Assaidi and Wilson Palacios for Jonathan Walters and Glenn Whelan as the former Chelsea forward looked to push for a winner.
His changes just did that. Ireland was tracking back in the midfield and went to ground and fouled a Chelsea midfielder but referee Moss allowed an advantage as Chelsea raced forward, moments later Marc Wilson, who is deputising in the heart of Stoke`s defence in the absence of Robert Huth won a crunching challenge and managed to find the now vertical Stephen Ireland free in the centre circle, the Irishman pushed forward and found substitute Assaidi, who took the ball in his stride and then cut in from the left wing and ghosted past Branislav Ivanovic before smashing a thunderous strike into the corner of the net and sent the raucous Britannia Stadium faithful delirious.
The on-loan winger himself was delighted and raced back to the halfway line to celebrate with the bench in a Ryan Giggs-esque manner as he took his shirt off a throw it to the ground.
There was no time for Mourinho`s men to get back into the game now, and when the final whistle blew, the dismay was clear to see on the Portuguese managers` face.
The Irishman definitely had a better game than he did last season against Chelsea where he scored two own goals and missed a penalty.
Walters gave Cesar Azpilicueta an absolute torrid time, as he constantly beat the full back in the air and on the deck.
The long rest (yes, a week is a long rest for Walters) gave Walters a renewed spring in his step and was integral in Potters second goal.