England international and Chelsea full-back, Ashley Cole managed to sneak in behind the towering Stoke City back line, thanks to a cheeky heel-flick from Mata, and put away what would be the clincher for the Blues as they came away with the points at Stamford Bridge.
In a hard-fought match between two physical sides, Chelsea and Stoke City knocked at each others doors for all match long, with little in the way of finishing quality. Chelsea were happy to see Oscar on the pitch though, a pre-match doubt, as he had one of the best strikes of the day fizzle just wide of the left handed post. The lead-up to that was something to behold, as it definitely had shades of his screamer of a goal against Juventus, earlier in the week.
The boyish Brazilian was not without fault though, as he managed to be somewhat invisible the first half and booked for simulation after a questionable challenge from Stoke captain, Ryan Shawcross.
Stoke City looked very dangerous going forward, muscling their way in through the Blues back line throughout the match, despite having a clear disadvantage in possession. The best chance of the match came for the Potters in the 19th minute, as Glenn Whelan whipped in a cross that was met with a powerful header from Johnathan Walters. Unfortunately for Stoke, that header managed to rattle the crossbar and only provided a scare to the Chelsea defense.
In the column for forwards that have been down on their luck, Fernando Torres looked off form, today, as he managed to hold up the ball and control some of the play going forward, but did very little from there, usually losing the ball to a decisive challenge from one of the men in the red and white stripes. For the Potters, however, Michael Owen managed to come on and get his first touches of the Premier League season, though those touches were a bit hasty, as he looked nervous on the ball and managed to boot the ball straight to the Chelsea defense on two occasions.
The game really sparked up late on, notably starting up around the time Lampard was subbed on in the 81st minute. Matthew Etherington managed to keep pushing down the left flank, looking for some sort of support from his on-rushing Stoke teammates, but receiving very little. Just as Blues fans started to file out, a brilliant move from Chelsea saw their left back filter in behind the giants that guard the Stoke goal and score a neatly tucked away goal to seal the points for the Londoners.
With Stoke City pressing forward with an all-out attack after that goal, Chelsea countered merely moments later with a somewhat off-timed through ball to Victor Moses from Juan Mata, but the speedy counter was brought to a halt by a brilliantly timed slide tackle from the workhorse that was Matthew Etherington. Tempers started to flair towards the end, though, as David Luiz unleashed a horrible, two-footed, cleats-up challenge on a Stoke player on the break. The Potters surrounded the ref, looking for the red, but none was to be given as the referee had his mind made up and only awarded the Brazilian with a yellow.
Chelsea will be glad to have gotten the points from such an intense encounter, with Stoke providing quite a few scares to the Chelsea faithful. Stoke, however, should be a bit upset to not have managed to steal at least a point from the match, as they stood toe-to-toe with the league leaders.
The Blues maintain their spot on top of the league table, with 13 points from their first five matches. The Potters, on the other hand, slip down to 13th, managing only 4 points from their first five, breaking their streak of draws.