Chelsea eased to a 5-0 victory against a much-changed Stoke City side in their English Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea 5 Stoke City 0
Rudiger opens the scoring
Drinkwater nets stunning second
Pedro makes it 3-0 after 23 mins
Willian adds a fourth from the spot
Zappacosta scores a late fifth
Chelsea raced into a three-goal lead in the opening 23 minutes of a one sided affair at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Pedro all scored to finish the game off as a contest in the opening stages. And Willian stepped up to convert a 73rd-minute penalty after being fouled by Geoff Cameron, to make it 4-0.
Davide Zappacosta scored a late fifth from 20 yards out as the Blues made it five wins from their last six games.
Stoke City came into the fixture against the Champions on an alarming run of form with only two league wins in ten games and with defender Ryan Shawcross injured, and Kurt Zouma ineligible. Mark Hughes opted to make six changes for the encounter at the Bridge.
Star winger Xherdan Shaqiri was dropped to the bench, while Saido Berahino, Charlie Adam, Ibrahim Afellay, Josh Tymon, Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi all came into the team.
For Chelsea, the notable absentee was Eden Hazard, but Antonio Conte’s options of Pedro and Willian proved the stronger.
It took just three minutes for the home side to take the lead, as Rudiger leapt highest to meet Willian’s set-piece to fire an unstoppable header past goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Six minutes later Drinkwater, who was earning a rare start, scored a spectacular effort from 25-yards out to find the top corner of the net – leaving Butland with no chance.
And before the half-hour mark, Pedro proved what depth Conte has at his disposal as a brilliant first touch just outside the area, set the Spain international up to smash right-footed effort into the bottom left corner.
The Potters managed to hold on until the whistle without conceding again but in the second half it was one-way traffic once again.
Despite forging an excellent chance on the counter, Saido Berahino’s woes in front of goal continued as his 50th-minute effort was shot straight at Thibaut Courtois. The former West Brom striker has failed to score in over two years in the Premier League now and the one-on-one effort proved to be the only shot on target for the visitors.
Willian, who was brilliant all afternoon, was eventually rewarded for his industrious display after being fouled in the area by Geoff Cameron in the 73rd minute.
The Brazil international stepped up to convert the subsequent spot-kick before Zappacosta scored a late fifth from 20 yards out as the Blues made it five wins from their last six games.
Full-time: Chelsea 5-0 Stoke City! ?
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 30, 2017