Chelsea defeated on penalties at Stoke

Match Summary

Eden Hazard missed the decisive last penalty in the penalty shoot-out as Stoke City prolonged Chelsea’s dreadful start to the season.

The League Cup holders, victorious on five occasions and a competition Mourinho loves having won it three times, will have to analyse in the post-mortem tomorrow on another shocking night for Mourinho’s men.

The misery is further compounded by the fact that Stoke have won only once against Chelsea in their last 17 matches, and were it not for Remy’s injury-time equaliser cancelling out Walters’ fine second-half strike, the game would have been settled much earlier.

In the end the equaliser only proved to prolong Chelsea misery as Mourinho enters the biggest match of his life on Saturday against Liverpool.

It was a good confident start from the visitors, who had to prove they could do it on a cold Tuesday night at the Britannia. The Blues looked to have a spring in their step with a flurry of early chances.

Hazard ran out of space down the Stoke by-line for the first, whilst Costa had a shot moments later which was deflected for a corner.

Willian found space down the Stoke left and his low drive saw Costa flick on but Butland was in the right place at the right time. We were only into the fourth minute.

Stoke, meanwhile, were determined to make their mark and show their qualities. Diouf was a handful as Zouma was still trying to acclimatise to his makeshift right-back berth.

But most of the action was still at the other end. Costa did well and his squared ball inside the box was going in off an outstretched Stoke leg, but Hazard did superbly to inadvertently clear off the line.

The Belgian did show what he was once capable of at the right end of the field though, winding his way round four Stoke players before finding Rahman offside. The 21-year-old was called onside though and his pass to Ramires would have been accredited as an assist has the Brazilian, who rounded Butland, been better with his finishing. It was an open goal and brought back memories of Torres on De Gea.

When it rains, it pours for the Blues at a wet Britannia Stadium, as Costa went off injured and Remy replaced him. He became instantly stuck in the action but any intricate one-two was far too heavy and Mikel was not on the same wavelength.

The multitude of set-pieces for Chelsea was of exceptionally low quality, and with the feet of Hazard not working nor the aerial threat of Terry, it was looking to be a long night.

Stoke continued their reminders of what they are capable of with an alarmingly good chance for Muniesa, whose overhead kick went agonisingly over the bar.

When the ball did go into the back of the net for Chelsea, it was offside with John Terry a fraction ahead of the last man when meeting Willian’s low drive.

But despite Chelsea chances, Stoke had the best before half-time. Walters pivoted superbly in the box and had to score when faced with only Begovic.

It was a huge let-off, but Walters’ wait would not be much longer.

Seven minutes into the second half, Cahill let Chelsea’s defensive line slip and when Walters found the ball and teed himself up, with the space vacated by Cahill, Walters unleashed an excellent volley in off the underside of the crossbar. It was a special goal, but not what Chelsea needed.

It could have been two from the same man but his next opportunity was wasted, but it was concerning Stoke had the better chances, and it was even more concerning to see Kenedy deemed the answer as Chelsea chased the game. Rahman made way as Ramires was the left-back. You have to assume that has been tried in training.

Zouma hit the post from a quick free-kick but nothing was working.In fact, it was Stoke more likely to get the game’s next goal, as Walters countered from a Chelsea corner.

Traore’s thunderbolt nearly crept into top corner, but Chelsea were getting desperate.

Enter Loic Remy in injury time. A corner, the first one decently delivered by Willian in the entire match, presented perhaps the last opportunity for Chelsea. Begovic was close to getting up but thankfully a striker did his job, with Remy in the right place to lash home.

There was more action as the game petered out to 30 more minutes as Bardsley received his second yellow card for a late lunge on Kenedy. The game turned in 100 seconds.

Could Chelsea make the man advantage count in extra-time? No.

Hazard curled wide whilst Traore tried to cut in on his favoured left foot when on a tight angle.

Arnautovic was inches away from putting one past his former colleague Begovic, whilst Kenedy nearly won it for Chelsea, but the game was headed to penalties.

Adam drew first blood in the shoot-out, whilst Willian restored parity. Odemwingie, Oscar, Shaqiri, Remy, Wilson and Zouma all traded pound-for-pound, meaning sudden death. Arnautovic tucked home but Hazard failed, and that was that.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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Man of the Match

loic-remy.thumbnailLOIC REMY: Saved Mourinho’s skin by prolonging the game, but it might not save his future. 5/10

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Manager Reaction

Mourinho witnessed a different game to the one I saw: “My players tried everything. What the players did tonight is face some people that write and speak, and said: “You are stupid”. A few months ago I won a few matches and I was champion. People were saying there are things more important than results. Now, people say results are the most important thing. It’s a contradiction.”

Mark Hughes was full of praise: “Full credit to the lads because they showed tremendous character and determination. Everything seemed to be conspiring against us at the end of normal time.”

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Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

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© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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