Dec 30, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,433
Chelsea
5-0
StokeStoke City
Rudiger (3'), Drinkwater (9'), Pedro (23'), Willian (73' pen.), Zappacosta (88')
Pedro (52')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Live Commentary: Chelsea 5-0 Stoke City - as it happened

Live Commentary: Chelsea 5-0 Stoke - as it happened
© Offside
Relive how Chelsea signed off 2017 with an emphatic 5-0 win over Stoke City, courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea romped to a 5-0 victory over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge this afternoon with five different players on the scoresheet.

Defender Antonio Rudiger headed the hosts in front from Willian's set piece on three minutes, before Danny Drinkwater opened his Blues account with a long-range volley.

Pedro made it three for Chelsea with an expert finish on 23 minutes, although Stoke were unfortunate not to pull one back prior to the break when Mame Biram Diouf had a goal harshly disallowed for alleged handball.

The Potters have the worst defence in the division and conceded their 45th and 46th league goals of the season late on as Willian rolled in a penalty and Davide Zappacosta found the bottom corner with a fine left-footed shot.

Relive how the action unfolded in West London with our minute-by-minute updates below.


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2.00pmGood afternoon ladies anf gentleman! Tis the season to love football, and the Premier League is back with another full fixture list to end 2017, including third-place Chelsea hosting former player Mark Hughes and his Stoke City side at Stamford Bridge. Team news coming up imminently...

2.02pmCHELSEA: Courtois; Rudiger, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Moses, Drinkwater, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Pedro, Morata
Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Hazard, Batshuayi

2.04pmSTOKE: Butland; Edwards, Cameron, Wimmer, Tymon; Diouf, Fletcher, Adam, Afellay, Ramadan; Berahino
Subs: Grant, Allen, Chupo-Moting, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ngoy, Souttar

2.06pmAntonio Conte makes three changes from the Chelsea team which beat Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day, resting Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko and bringing in Danny Drinkwater, Willian and Pedro.

2.08pmDefender Andreas Christiansen is back on the bench after recovering from a Christmas bug. David Luiz remains injured so it is an unchanged back five with Antonio Rudiger starting for a fourth straight game.

2.10pmThis is just Drinkwater's third league start since joining from Leicester City in the summer, and all of them have come alongside Ngolo Kante, his partner in crime from the Foxes' famous 2016 title triumph.

2.12pmThe Christmas period can be a nightmare for Fantasy Football managers and Conte will have ruffled some feathers by leaving Hazard out this afternoon. The Belgian hasn't quite been at his best of late though and Chelsea have the small matter of a trip to Arsenal to consider on Wednesday.

2.14pmMark Hughes also seems to have an eye on his next game with today's team selection - with Xherdan Shaqiri, Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting, Joe Allen and Peter Crouch all left on the bench ahead of a huge bottom-half clash with Newcastle United at home on New Year's Day.

2.16pmThe Potters boss is already without injured defenders Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and Glen Johnson, as well as ineligible loanee Kurt Zouma so this Stoke side looks very understrength. Josh Tymon, Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay all make their first league starts of the season.

2.18pmThere is also a start up front for Saido Berahino, who is still waiting to open his Stoke account, with this today his 22nd appearance. The 24-year-old striker has had a couple of penalty misses in his Potters career and badly needs a goal, but Hughes has given him an uphill task today.

2.20pmOnly one of Stoke's top four league scorers makes the starting lineup - Mame Biram Diouf. The in-form Ramadan Sobhi, who has scored in each of his last two matches, will play on the opposite flank so the visitors do have the pace on the wings to possess a counter-attacking threat.

2.22pmThe young full-back pairing of Tymon and Edwards will have a very tough job on their hands with the rampaging Chelsea duo of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. Hughes has been forced into switching to a four-man defence with Geoff Cameron at centre-back, and it looks pretty makeshift.

2.24pmThis Stoke fan at the darts isn't convinced about Hughes despite four points from the last two games...


2.26pmHughes is the 2-1 second favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked, behind struggling Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino. The Welshman seems to have the support of chairman Peter Coates, but the fans remain split on whether he has taken them as far as he can.

2.28pmStoke's biggest problem this season has been their defence - they have conceded 41 goals which is the most in the Premier League. Hughes signed three centre-backs in the summer - Zouma, Wimmer and Martins Indi but injuries and form have prevented him from getting a settled lineup.

2.30pmThe Potters have gone 10 games without a Premier League clean sheet - only Southampton (11 matches) are currently on a longer run. They have conceded seven to Manchester City, five to Spurs, and four to Chelsea in the reverse fixture in September, when Morata scored a hat-trick.

2.32pmIn stark contrast, Chelsea's defence has been key to their excellent form of late. The Blues have conceded just four goals in their last 11 Premier League games, keeping seven clean sheets on the way.

2.34pmChelsea have lost just once in 15 games in all competitions, winning 11 matches and drawing three. That defeat came away to West Ham, but they have been untouchable at Stamford Bridge of late.

2.36pmThe Blues have won their last six home top-flight matches since going down to Manchester City in September, and have also beaten Everton and Bournemouth in the EFL Cup during that run.

2.38pmSTAT: Remarkable fact this - no team in Europe's top five leagues has scored more league goals via Spanish players this season than Chelsea. Real Sociedad are the only La Liga team to have as many goals through Spanish scorers - 20.

2.40pmTwo of those Spaniards have combined for six goals already this term, with Cesar Azpilicueta a regularly supplier of Alvaro Morata. That is already the joint-most assists from one Chelsea player to another in a single campaign - level with Cesc Fabregas to Diego Costa in 2014-15, and Frank Lampard to Didier Drogba in 2009-10).

2.42pmThe Azpilicueta-Morata relationship is a major reason why Chelsea have scored a league-high 12 headed goals in the Premier League this campaign. Peter Crouch's contribution has the Potters in seventh for headed goals this term, which is not as high as they may have been a few years ago.

2.44pmChelsea haven't lost their final Premier League game in a calendar year since 2011, which ended with a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa. Stoke meanwhile lost their last fixture of 2016 - 4-2 to today's opponents.

2.46pmLess than 15 minutes until kickoff at Stamford Bridge now. Sports Mole are all over today's Premier League action so check out what other games we are covering in our live commentaries section.

2.48pmVictory for Chelsea this afternoon would lift them above Manchester United, who do not face Southampton until this evening. Stoke could move as high as 11th with a shock win, depending on results elsewhere.

2.50pmHEAD TO HEAD: Chelsea have won 25 points from a possible 27 in their nine Premier League home games against Stoke. The only draw came in March 2016 when Bertrand Traore's goal was cancelled out by Mame Diouf.

2.52pmStoke have lost 14 of 19 Premier League games against Chelsea - their worst record against any opponent in the competition.

2.54pmThis is both Chelsea and Stoke's last game before the January transfer window. Antonio Conte has made no secret of his desire to add depth to his squad and Mark Hughes may feel he needs a couple of signings to stay clear of a relegation battle, so both could be busy...

2.56pmPREDICTION: I fancied Chelsea to win prior to seeing the team news and now I expect a resounding victory. This looks like a Stoke team which has been sent out waving a white flag as Hughes prioritises the Newcastle game. I'll go for a repeat of the 4-0 score from September.

2.58pmStamford Bridge is filling up as the players emerge onto the field. The home fans will be hoping that their side can send 2017 off on a high - a year in which the Blues regained the Premier League title, waved goodbye to Diego Costa and were humbled by the champions elect. How will it finish?

1 minKICKOFF: Chelsea get the game underway and have a corner within the first 30 seconds as Stoke fail to deal with a simple ball over the top towards Pedro - a nervy early moment for Kevin Wimmer.

3 minGOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 STOKE (ANTONIO RUDIGER)

3 minWhat a start for Chelsea, and it is another headed goal this time for Antonio Rudiger. Willian's free-kick delivery is excellent and the German international attacks it with a powerful header from six yards. Such soft defending from Stoke who had four men across the six-yard box but nobody attacking the ball.

Antonio Rudiger celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 30, 2017© Offside


5 minThis already looks as though it will be a very long afternoon for Stoke. Mark Hughes' plans to sit back and keep things tight are out of the window and Chelsea are buzzing around after their early goal.

7 minIt continues to be all Chelsea, with Moses and Alonso pushed forward like wingers and Stoke's defence being overwhelmed by the number of Blue shirts stroking the ball around in their defensive third.

9 minGOAL! CHELSEA 2-0 STOKE (DANNY DRINKWATER)

9 minDanny Drinkwater will remember his first Chelsea goal forever. The ball comes to the midfielder on the edge of the box and he opens his body up to unleash a dipping volley past Jack Butland into the top corner. It is an unstoppable strike of great technique and Stoke are rolling over already.

Danny Drinkwater celebrates with Willian after scoring the second during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 30, 2017© Offside


11 minStoke's defenders look like rabbits in the headlights as Rudiger makes a commanding charge out from defence, all the way to the left byline before his cross is turned away at the near post by Wimmer.

13 minStoke have finally got on the ball in the last couple of minutes, with Berahino holding the ball up nicely for Diouf and Sobhi who are the runners off him. Edwards gets up on the overlap too from right-back, but his cross is easily claimed by Courtois.

14 minSAVE! Butland stays big at his near post to keep the deficit at two after Willian had released Morata down the right channel. The Spaniard had shown a surprising change of pace to get away from his defender and in on goal, and the shot nearly squeezed through Butland's legs.

Jack Butland saves Alvaro Morata's shot during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 30, 2017© Offside


16 minWillian's free kick from deep - intended to be a cross by all accounts - has Butland backtracking and is not far away from dropping underneath the crossbar. Stoke need to stay firm for the next 20 minutes otherwise this has the potential to get embarrassing very quickly.

18 minFletcher skips away from Drinkwater with some nice footwork on the halfway line and releases Diouf down the right wing. Again though the cross is poor - way overhit with Berahino the only player in the box to aim for.

20 minDiouf is starting to emerge as a decent outlet for Stoke on the right flank. He makes an out-to-in run which Fletcher spots with a nice lofted pass but the offside flag is raised against the Senegalese.

22 minSHOT! Pedro wriggles away from Edwards on the edge of the box to unleash a right-footed shot which is powerfully struck but straight at Butland. Stoke look scared to put a foot in though.

23 minGOAL! CHELSEA 3-0 STOKE (PEDRO)

23 minAnother already for Chelsea and this is an outstanding touch and finish from Pedro, who drops his shoulder as he collects Willian's pass across the box to lose Tymon, and then finishes masterfully across Butland and into the bottom corner. This is men against boys, and some Stokies are leaving already...

Pedro celebrates with Cesar Azpilicueta after scoring the third during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 30, 2017© Offside


25 minStoke have been liable to capitulations this season and that will be a real concern to Hughes. The robustness that once personified Stoke has completely disappeared and they now have a soft underbelly which the top teams can exploit far too easily.

27 minYELLOW: Diouf's frustration gets the better of him as he hacks down Morata on the Chelsea left and receives a booking.

29 minSHOT! A lovely layoff from Morata tees up Pedro for a shot which brings a decent save out of Butland.

31 minStoke have had a couple of periods when they have kept the ball but they have not looked penetrative, with Berahino isolated up against three central defenders.

33 minCHANCE! Morata is miles offside but is adjudged to be on after the ball takes a flick off Wimmer on its way through. The Spaniard is through one-on-one and tries to cut onto his left foot, giving Wimmer the opportunity to get back and make amends.

35 minThere is a stoppage in play as Rudiger receives treatment on his back after a nasty landing from an aerial challenge with Diouf. Conte has Christensen fit again and on the bench if required.

38 minRamadan wrestles the ball from Moses and darts forward but is stopped in his tracks by Cahill. Rudiger is back on to return the Chelsea defence to its full complement.

39 minDISALLOWED! A half to forget continues for Stoke as Diouf has a goal harshly chalked off for handball. Charlie Adam finds the Senegalese's out-to-in run and the forward controls on his shoulder and finishes confidently past Courtois, only for the flag to go up.

41 minStoke retain possession nicely in the Chelsea half, but there are not the same gaps in the home defence that the Blues can exploit so easily in that of the visitors'. Adam eventually tries to squeeze a ball through to Berahino, but Alonso cuts it off and starts a Chelsea attack.

43 minGood work from Tymon who tracks back with Moses and wins a throw-in by knocking the ball against the Nigeria international. It has been a tough half for the youngster but that will give him confidence.

45 minPedro tries a cheeky chip from 20 yards which floats over Butland's crossbar. There will be THREE minutes of stoppage time at the end of this first half for Stoke to endure.

45+2 minWillian takes a short corner to Kante, whose delivery from a narrow angle goes through the box untouched and behind for a goal kick.

45+3 minCrucial intervention from Cameron as he stretches out a leg to poke Alonso's layoff away from Pedro.

45+3 minHALF TIME: CHELSEA 3-0 STOKE

3.53pmPremier League halfs will not get much more comfortable than that for Chelsea, who lead by three thanks to a header from Rudiger and crackers from Drinkwater and Pedro. Stoke made it so easy for their hosts in the opening 10 minutes and were always going to struggle to recover.

3.55pmThe Potters have had a couple of decent attacking moments and were unlucky to not pull one back when Diouf's well-taken goal was chalked off for handball, but they have been so easy to play against. No tackles in midfield, no structure at the back and an intimidated, young defence.

3.57pmAlthough it is only half time, this game is now a write off for Stoke, if it wasn't already after Hughes's selection. The Welshman better get a performance out of his first choice team against Newcastle on New Year's Day, otherwise all he has done is subject his players to another hammering.

3.59pmChelsea haven't needed to be good but they have been, with Willian and Pedro very lively and moving the ball quickly to make light of Hazard's absence. Drinkwater and Kante have been impressive too, providing way more energy and penetration than the three Stoke midfielders combined.

4.01pmLATEST: Liverpool need Virgil van Dijk now! The Reds trail 1-0 at home to Leicester courtesy of Jamie Vardy's goal. Elsewhere, Watford and Bournemouth lead by one against Swansea and Everton respectively, while Huddersfield vs. Burnley and Newcastle vs. Brighton remain deadlocked.

46 minKICKOFF: The action is back underway with both sides unchanged. Considering that those on the bench have been saved for another day, I wouldn't expect to see many changes until the final 15 minutes.

48 minGreat play by Ramadan, who shows his turn of pace to fly past Azpilicueta on the Stoke left and then go on a 50-yard charge. There is nobody for him to cross to in the box, but runs like that will take the pressure off his defence at the very least.

50 minCHANCE! Berahino's wait for a Stoke goal goes on as Courtois denies him with an excellent save! The striker beats Cahill to Adam's lovely through-ball and opens his body up to bend the ball into the bottom corner, but Courtois reads the shot and makes a good block.

52 minYELLOW: Pedro flings himself to floor 25 yards from the Stoke goal and is shown a booking for simulation. No complaint from the Spaniard - referee Kevin Friend got that one spot on.

54 minAdam's passing is asking a few questions of Chelsea's defence at last. A long, raking pass aimed for Berahino requires a stretched clearance from Cahill and Rudiger is on hand to clean up.

56 minSUBSTITUTION: Conte wants Moses fresh for the London derby with Arsenal on Wednesday and thus brings him off early, with Davide Zappacosta getting the rest of the game at wing-back.

58 minLovely move from Chelsea as Drinkwater spreads the ball out to Alonso, who somehow picks out the unmarked Pedro on the edge of the box. The Spaniard lets the ball run across him but his sliced shot goes a few yards wide.

60 minSAVE! It doesn't look as though it will be Morata's afternoon. He's sent through by a gorgeous Willian flick around the corner, races down on Butland's goal but is denied by a strong hand from the Stoke goalkeeper. He really should have scored but Butland has his number so far today.

62 minA poor Willian corner makes it out to Pedro at the edge of the box, and his left-footed rasper is blocked before it could ask questions of Butland.

64 minSUBSTITUTION: Kante is another who can rest his legs for Arsenal now, with Bakayoko coming on.

66 minAdam fizzes a pass into the feet of Berahino and although the striker does well to bring it under control, the offside flag is raised before he can attempt to turn Cahill and get a shot away.

68 minSAVE! Delightful play from Willian as he skips past two Stoke tackles on his way across the box, before unleashing a shot which is well held by Butland, who is single-handedly keeping the score down.

70 minWillian gets to the right byline and crosses to Pedro, who cannot control a difficult effort on the half-volley.

72 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Three up at home to Stoke with 20 minutes to go - an ideal opportunity for Michy Batshuayi to get on the scoresheet as he replaces Morata. Stoke make a change too, with Afellay lasting 72 minutes on his first start of the season - Julien Ngoy is on.

73 minGOAL! CHELSEA 4-0 STOKE (WILLIAN, penalty)

73 minBatshuayi wants the penalty after Willian is clumsily brought down by Cameron in the box - the American tried to play his way out of trouble and ended up hacking down the Brazilian - who picked himself up to slot the spot kick down the middle, denying Batshuayi his chance of a goal.

75 minLATEST: Another top-four contender - Liverpool - have not had it as easy this afternoon but look to be on their way to three points thanks to two more goals from Mohamed Salah against Leicester.

77 minCharlie Adam's passing has been one of few positives for Stoke today but the Scotsman may not finish things at Stamford Bridge after taking a nasty knock on the leg - the type he is more accustomed to giving out.

80 minSUBSTITUTION: Indeed Adam comes off for Stoke, with Choupo-Moting his replacement for the final 10 minutes.

81 minA free kick seems perfectly positioned for Alonso, but the wing-back instead rolls the ball across for Pedro whose scuffed shot rolls into the arms of Butland.

84 minIt is noticeable that Conte does not allow his Chelsea players to go into cruise mode. They are still buzzing around, with Willian and Bakayoko pressurising the Stoke midfielders on the ball even with this four-goal cushion.

86 minConte will be very pleased with the fact that he hasn't had to use Hazard and Fabregas today. Willian and Pedro have filled that void more than adequately to keep them fresh for the Arsenal clash.

88 minGOAL! CHELSEA 5-0 STOKE (DAVIDE ZAPPACOSTA)

88 minFive for Chelsea as Zappacosta latches onto a poor headed clearance from Tymon and rifles a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

90 minThere will be TWO minutes of stoppage time in this contest. I say 'contest' - it has not been that in truth for 88 minutes. Chelsea have been vastly superior and Stoke have rolled over under the pressure.

90+2 minFULL TIME: CHELSEA 5-0 STOKE

4.57pmYou don't get many foregone conclusions in the Premier League but, from the moment today's teams were announced, this looked like it would be easy pickings for Chelsea and so it proved as they overwhelmed Stoke from first minute until last. Five different goalscorers for Antonio Conte's side as they climb to second, at least briefly, and another thrashing for the Potters that will heap the pressure back on Hughes after a couple of positive results.

5.00pmThat's it from Stamford Bridge, although you can read our match report on the game before turning over to our coverage of Manchester United versus Southampton this evening. Can the Red Devils muster a response to being unseated by Chelsea? Stay with us to find out!

Michy Batshuayi nabs the second during the EFL Cup game between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest on September 20, 2017
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool24138354292547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
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11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
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13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton24410102435-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2455141535-2020
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