Saturday, 5 April 2014

Chelsea returns to top of English Premier League with 3-0 win against Stoke

After the days of hang-dog soul-searching from Chelsea here was a performance that ranks among their best this campaign as they disdainfully dismissed Stoke. It was no contest. A mis-match.

With it Chelsea returned to the top of the league but such has been the resignation around the place recently that this important detail almost felt like a footnote. It could be significant still – who knows? – even if there was no sense of celebration.

Chelsea's decision not to buy a striker in the last transfer window has complicated their quest for trophies but here one of the players who they did buy in January, 21-year-old winger Mohamed Salah, marked his first Premier League start with a performance that helped to send José Mourinho's team back to the top of the table.

The Egyptian scored in the first half before being fouled in the second to give Frank Lampard the chance to convert a penalty. Lampard missed the spot-kick but netted the rebound. Willian then added a third goal with a sumptuous shot from the edge of the area. Chelsea now have a one-point lead in the Premier League, having played a match more than second-placed Liverpool.

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