Salah & Co end below par Stoke's run
5th April 2014 5.30pm
Stoke impressive run of results ended at Champions elect Chelsea with a whimper.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Frank Lampard and Willian were enough for Jose Mourniho`s men to beat the Potters and keep their hopes of winning the title alive.
The Potters were forced into one change from their home win against Hull, as Wilson Palacios replaced the ill Stephen Ireland.
Chelsea made changes from their 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace as William and Salah came in for Hazard and Luiz.
The Blue dominated the early part of the game, as they had Stoke chasing shadows as the Blues moved the ball around nicely and didn`t allow the Potters to settle into the game in which they came into off the back of three straight victories.
Fernando Torres had to golden opportunities but he screwed a shot wide, and was well blocked off by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic after Dutch full back Erik Pieters carelessly tried to chest the ball back to the Bosnian, but the Spaniard was not quick enough to open the scoring.
Chelsea seemed to have a point to prove after losing their last two outings to Crystal Palace and Paris St. Germain, and was surprising that it took them half an hour to break the deadlock.
Mourinho`s two January signings linked up well to give the Blues the lead after Nemanja Matic did well on the left wing and pulled the ball back to the penalty area where Mohamed Salah had managed to shake off the poor Erik Pieters before sliding home to give him second Premier League goal, in his first Premier League start.
Salah was having a huge influence on the game and was linking up well with Branislav Ivanovic on the right hand side. The latter thought he had doubled Chelsea`s lead but his powerful header was chalked off for being offside.
The Egyptian Salah, who was signed from Basle, continued to cause problems in the Stoke backline and won a penalty in the second half after substitute Andy Wilkinson, who came on for Geoff
Cameron in a half time double substitute by Mark Hughes, which saw Chalrie Adam replace Wilson Palacios also, recklessly bring down the winger in the area.
England midfielder Frank Lampard stepped up but his spot kick was saved by Begovic, although the midfielder was quick enough to put the rebound into the empty net to score his 250th career league goal.
This all happened just after the Potters seemed to get a foot hold in the game and looked to push forward more; with Peter Odemwingie have several opportunities, although from distance to bring the Potters level.
Stoke did have a golden opportunity to get one goal back after the penalty but the below par Marko Arnautovic couldn`t control Steven N`Zonzi sublime pass 18-yards out from goal.
With that any real chance of the Potters clawing their way back into the game extinguished, and with the game going through the motions, Willian produced a smart finish to make 3-0 after Salah was once again involved.