Jonathan Walters, Stoke v Chelsea - Reuters
 
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Walters endures nightmare as Chelsea thump Stoke

Walters endures nightmare as Chelsea thump Stoke

By Eurosport
Last update The 14/01/2013 at 01:16 -
By Eurosport - The 14/01/2013 at 01:16
Premier League, Britannia Stadium - Stoke City 0, Chelsea 4 (Walters 45+2 o.g., 62 o.g., Lampard 65 pen, Hazard 73)
 

Jonathan Walters scored two own goals and missed a penalty as Chelsea won 4-0 to inflict Stoke's heaviest-ever Premier League home defeat.

The Irishman planted a diving header into his own net in first-half stoppage time, and again nodded past Asmir Begovic just after the hour mark.

Frank Lampard then slammed in a penalty and Eden Hazard struck a beautiful 25-yarder before Walters completed his day of misery by blazing a spot-kick into the crowd after John Terry fouled him.

Stoke had never lost a Premier League match by more than two goals at the Britannia Stadium and may feel the result is not a fair representation of a match to which they contributed much.

But it was another fine away performance from Rafa Benitez's side, who have scored nine goals in their last two games on their travels, having put five past Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend.

Benitez handed Demba Ba a debut at Fernando Torres's expense, while Lampard took the captain's armband days after his agent confirmed the club would not offer him a new contract.

David Luiz - fresh from a trip to the barber's - dropped back into central defence, Petr Cech returned and Terry came off the bench as he returned from a knee injury.

But Stoke made the early running, with Walters and Kenwyne Jones posing a formidable challenge for the Chelsea back line.

A Walters shot ricocheted to Jones in the seventh minute, but the dreadlocked striker dragged his left-foot effort wide. Walters then managed to hit himself in the face with a volley.

Stoke almost completely subdued Juan Mata, while Hazard quickly grew frustrated at Andy Wilkinson's constant attention.

Wilkinson was harshly booked when Hazard made the most of feather-light contact, but was lucky not to see a second yellow card minutes later for a far rougher challenge.

While Stoke had the better of play, it was Chelsea who carved out the clearest chances.

Superb build-up from Ramires and Hazard presented Lampard with a shooting chance on 25 minutes but Begovic denied him brilliantly.

And the Bosnian was in top form moments later to repel a Ba effort as he latched on to a through ball.

Chelsea finished the half strongly, and went in front seconds before the break when Walters - who had Mata lurking behind him - attempted to deal with Cesar Azpilicueta's cross but succeeded only in planting a bullet header past Begovic.

The game's physical edge saw tempers raised on both benches - Benitez and Tony Pulis launched simultaneous angry confrontations with referee Andre Marriner at half-time, leaving the official somewhat bemused.

Stoke made a bright start to the second period. Marriner initially pointed to the penalty spot when Azpilicueta tackled Matthew Etherington - but assistant Sian Massey had rightly flagged for offside.

Then it all fell apart for Stoke. Walters somewhat unluckily nodded a corner past Begovic with Lampard in close attention, before Robert Huth was adjudged to have tripped Mata inside the box - Lampard converted the penalty to put the result beyond doubt.

Begovic made another fine save from Lampard but could do nothing about Hazard's pure left-footed shot that fizzed into the left corner.

Terry came on - preposterously, the departing Mata dutifully delivered the armband to Terry from the excellent Lampard - and almost immediately made a clumsy challenge on Walters to concede a penalty.

But Walters's misery was not over, and he thumped the ball high into the crowd to end a truly calamitous afternoon.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Frank Lampard (Chelsea): If this is his final season, Lampard is going out in style. He produced another fine, controlled performance and scored to move to within eight of Chelsea's all-time record.

PLAYER RATINGS

Stoke: Begovic 8, Cameron 7, Shawcross 6, Huth 6, Wilkinson 6, Walters 4, Whelan 6, Nzonzi 7, Etherington 7, Adam 5, Jones 6. Subs: Whitehead 6, Kightly N/A, Jerome 6

Chelsea: Cech 6, Azpilicueta 7, Ivanovic 6, Luiz 7, Cole 7, Hazard 7, Lampard 8, Ramires 7, Bertrand 6, Mata 7, Ba 7. Subs:  Torres 6, Ferreira N/A, Terry 5

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

 
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