Reaction: Hard-Fought Victory

A late winner from Ashley Cole was enough for Chelsea to seal all 3 points against Stoke and retain top spot in the Premier League, but the game wasn’t without it’s moments and Chelsea had to work hard to carve out a win against a defence-minded Stoke.

Robbie’s Reaction

Robbie was happy with the performance in general given how well Stoke organize themselves defensively. He said, “It was a very good performance, the whole team expressed themselves very well, after a Champions League game you can sometimes be physically and emotionally drained, there is always a little bit of concern, but we started very brightly.”

“When you play against Stoke it’s always hard to break them down, they defend with so many men, if you get an early goal it helps your game massively but if you don’t, it becomes hard work to try and find spaces.”

On the decision to rest John Terry and Frank Lampard, he said, “It’s just utilising the squad, we have some good players, a good squad, we just wanted to bring some fresh players in. We’ve done it many times before and will continue to do so because we play so many games.”

He was happy with the trio of Oscar, Hazard & Mata. “It’s the first time we have tried it, it certainly needs more work and practice, to tactically integrate them into our system.

‘I thought today it worked very well, but it will take time for them to know each other better.I want them to have mobility and rotation, they are very intelligent at finding free space, we lacked a bit of width at times so we needed our full backs to provide us with that.”

However, he was slightly displeased at the decision to book Oscar for diving. “I don’t think Oscar’s was a dive, there was contact, maybe the referee thought there wasn’t enough contact but he shouldn’t have booked him from my point of view.

‘It’s a difficult role the referees have, and the assistants, sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong.”

360’s Reaction

While it was a relief that Chelsea managed to win in the end, the match definitely wasn’t one to remember. Chelsea played some beautiful passing football throughout the match but were unable to create many chances. Torres was once again a spectator as he failed to make much of an impact on the game, his best chance coming when Mata put him clear. And while there was a lot of good passing going on, the fact that we didn’t create too many clear-cut chances is indeed worrying. On the plus side, Robbie didn’t play Ramires out of position for a change & played him instead in the double pivot alongside Mikel, where he didn’t do too badly. Mikel himself had a pretty decent game, providing solid defensive cover and even finding himself in goal-scoring positions. The 3 attacking midfielders all had their moments & passed well among one another which is a positive sign for the future. And even though we had to work hard to carve out a win, the end result is that we have won 4 of our 5 League matches. We are also undefeated in the League and still remain on top of the table.

#Shayne Dias

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