Chelsea’s cautious draw at home vs. Stoke City was a welcome sight to the supporters, however, it was only welcome in the hope that they are able to beat PSG at Stamford Bridge this coming week. If Chelsea were in the running for the domestic league this season, we might’ve witnessed a very different lineup today.
Signs were very good early on for the home side as they troubled the visitors again and again without seeing too much possession of the ball. They were able to create the better chances but failed to execute them with as much prowess as their creation.
This all changed in the 40th minute, when Bertrand Traore, the young man who started ahead of the club’s talisman Diego Costa, received a pass from Nemanja Matic while slightly inside the box, took the ball outside the box with his first touch, took another to settle it onto his left foot, and struck it before Erik Pieters could blink his eye. The ball ended up sizzling the top right of Butland’s goal, and it was one of the best goals we’d seen so far this Saturday.
Hiddink was very impressed by the Burkina Faso international taking the goal with the aplomb and technique that he did, and kept the young striker on until the 70th minute when he was replaced by Loїc Rémy.
In the meantime, though, Chelsea dominated in the last third of the pitch, controlling the game even when they didn’t have the ball in their possession by defending and pressing Stoke higher up the pitch at times. The Blues were not able to add to their tally after the 2nd half started, but got close a few times, with the final touch the only thing that went missing.
Stoke actually had even more possession in the 2nd half than they did in the first, but were not able to emulate the two first half chances that fell to Diouf which he missed. At least this wasn’t the case until the 83rd minute, when Courtois slapped a cross straight into Diouf’s path, and the Senegalese would’ve been tortured by his teammates after the game had he missed that sitter into the empty net.
In the end, it was a deserved result for both teams, as Chelsea, looking ahead to the clash against PSG this coming week, were not inclined to take the risk and gamble for the win. Hopefully, this preparation will have its effect on the team’s performance in that game, or so every Chelsea fan will hope.