Chelsea produced a clinical display versus Stoke, scoring four goals with no reply through only four shots on target.
The man behind this score line has to be Alvaro Morata, who continued his fine early-season form with a brilliant hat trick – taking advantage of a Stoke defence without Zouma due to the loan restrictions.
The Blues kick started an efficient day out with a quick-fire goal on the 2nd minute. Azpilicueta hit a long ball up field which Alvaro Morata raced on to before slotting into the bottom right corner to open his tally for the day. Stoke reacted positively, however, with a threatening response coming within three minutes.
Shaqiri played the ball back to Diouf who fired towards goal, only for Azpilicueta to clear – adding defensive grit to his attacking abilities for the day. Unfortunately for the Potters, just as they were looking to even the game, Fletcher’s poorly controlled chest-touch allowed Pedro through on the edge of the box.
Pedro made no mistakes and despatched a low-shot from 18 yards which passed Butland. This therefore left Chelsea in a positive position moving into the second half at 2 – 0 up.
Despite bright signs for Stoke in the opening half, Chelsea looked out of sight, particularly as Stoke’s first shot on-target came in the 60th minute in the form of a tame Shaqiri shot straight at Courtouis.
There were a frantic few minutes following this, however, Chelsea brought on their Spanish playmaker, Fabregas, to assert more control. However, it was Chelsea’s Spanish striker, Morata, who turned control into dominance. He stole possession by the half-way line, dribbling all the way into the area and delightfully chipped the ball over a diving Butland and into the net.
The striker was on a solo mission for a hat trick, and he proved successful in the 82nd minute. Azpilicueta once again was a key cog in the attack, chesting down a lofted Fabregas through ball into the path of Morata. All Morata needed to do was stretch out his right leg, and he finished with aplomb.
Stoke will rue conceding early on as Morata’s goal in the 2nd minute undoubtedly dampened their morale. Morata took charge of proceedings, and encouraged Blue’s fans that Chelsea will be able to cope without the departing Costa.
Written by Theo Atherton-Green.