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Chelsea 5-0 Stoke





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  • Rüdiger (3′minutes)
  • Drinkwater (9′minutes)
  • Pedro (23′minutes)
  • Willian (73′minutes pen)
  • Zappacosta (88′minutes)

cruised to victory against Stoke in a game that was over as a contest within 23 minutes.








Struggling Stoke – missing five defenders and fielding two teenagers at full-back – trailed within three minutes when Antonio Rudiger headed home Willian’s free-kick.

The Blues, who rested , doubled their lead when fired home on the bounce from 25 yards out, and Pedro added a third from just outside the box with only a quarter of the game gone.

Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf had a goal harshly ruled out after using his upper arm to control a long ball before smashing home.

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The game almost descended into a training match, with going 50 minutes before adding a fourth through Willian’s penalty.

Davide Zappacosta scored a late fifth from 20 yards out as the Blues made it five wins from their last six games.

can afford to rest players

With Wednesday’s trip to top-four rivals Arsenal in mind, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte left Hazard on the bench and never needed to consider bringing him on.

The game was so straightforward, he could probably have rested his entire first 11.

Conte made three changes from the side who beat Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day, and the first four goals were scored or set up by the trio to come in – Pedro, Willian and Drinkwater.

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Rudiger rose highest to head an early opener from Willian’s set piece, before Pedro’s deflected cross found Drinkwater to smash home his first Chelsea goal.

Willian then picked out Pedro to score a third.

The second half lacked any competitive edge and Conte was able to bring off N’Golo Kante, – who missed two relatively straightforward chances – and to keep them fresh for Wednesday. Chelsea 5-0 Stoke

Willian scored a penalty after he had been fouled by Geoff Cameron, and Zappacosta scored his first goal from just outside the box late on.

Sorry Stoke thrashed again

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is under pressure and a heavy defeat against his old club will not have helped. The Potters, who are two points above the relegation zone, have now conceded five goals or more in three games this season. Chelsea 5-0 Stoke

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In truth, circumstances and tactical decisions meant a positive result against the champions never appeared likely.

Stoke had four defenders out injured, and Kurt Zouma was ineligible to play against his old club. Stoke had only ever started teenagers in five games, but Josh Tymon and Thomas Edwards both faced the Blues. Chelsea 5-0 Stoke

Hughes rested Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Peter Crouch, presumably with the home game against relegation rivals Newcastle on Monday in mind. Chelsea 5-0 Stoke

The visitors only had one shot in the entire game – Saido Berahino’s feeble effort at Thibaut Courtois when through on goal. The striker has not scored a goal since February 2016.

BBC








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