Updated: 22/09/2012 20:40 | By pa.press.net

Cole spares Chelsea blushes

Ashley Cole, right, dinks the ball over Asmir Begovic for the game's winner late on

Ashley Cole, right, dinks the ball over Asmir Begovic for the game's winner late on

Ashley Cole spared the blushes of Chelsea's £130million attack as the European champions spluttered to a 1-0 victory against Stoke to go three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Roman Abramovich looked on as the Blues unleashed the £80million trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata for the first time behind £50million man Fernando Torres.

But the quartet misfired until the 85th minute, when Cole finished a brilliant move to snatch a barely-deserved win.

Torres did nod a Mata corner over the top, but otherwise the Champions League winners were guilty of taking too many touches, making one pass too many and allowing Stoke to smother.

The visitors should have made them pay in the 20th minute when an unmarked Jonathan Walters thumped a header from Glenn Whelan's free-kick against the crossbar.

Branislav Ivanovic was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a shameful dive in the box, but no referee could have failed to book Charlie Adam for rugby-tackling Ramires.

Torres is rarely upstaged when it comes to embarrassing moments and he duly added another to his collection with an air-shot after Mata's wonderful dink put him one-on-one with Asmir Begovic.

At the other end, Michael Kightly almost redirected Geoff Cameron's fizzing cross past Petr Cech, while Chelsea's half was summed up when David Luiz smashed a wild shot high into the Shed End.

Oscar's harsh booking for going down under a challenge from Ryan Shawcross sparked Chelsea to life, and the Brazilian became more and more of a threat with a deflected low shot which was well saved by Begovic before he sent another mid-range shot narrowly wide.

John Obi Mikel departed for Frank Lampard for the final nine minutes and, four minutes later, Chelsea finally had the breakthrough as Mata's delightful backheel found Cole, who lifted the ball beyond Begovic.

22/09/2012 18:36
Now why isn't Frank Ford being reported with Racism by MSN? If it was face book are twitter he would be investigated Pity Anton and Rio don't read this forum. Then they would know what a real  racist is. Low life Frank Ford hiding behind a pseudonym like the coward he is.
22/09/2012 18:52
Chelsea bossed pretty much the entire game, no real quality in the final third. Am i the only one losing patience with Torres ??
chelsea are getting the pointson the table.....beware you mancs!!
22/09/2012 20:23
Come on you blues another three points in the bag " **** the haters "
22/09/2012 20:13
bloody ell, i might live in stoke these days but im glad i dont support them, i`d lose the will to live having to watch that every week
22/09/2012 21:56
I was at the game and Stoke are a very hard team to beat. Physical yes, but that's their game. Chelsea deserved the three points, no question. And I agree with The Doctor.
23/09/2012 08:57
Chelski persisted and got their rewards. Stoke is no easy place to earn 3 pts but, fair play, Chelski came away with all three in the bag.
 The team will gel as the season progresses, no doubt.
Patience is running thin for Torres and questions should now be asked. Replace him in January, take the loss and put a goal scorer in his place. 
22/09/2012 18:13
sure zoe-every girl proud of a wife beater
22/09/2012 17:55
Small teams, little wins. Chelsea despite all the millions spent are hardly setting the world alight are they. Di Matteo is mad to think he can compete for the title with no recognised strikers in the squad.
I stand to get a whole shower of abuse, but Chelsea, are not the real deal and the team are going to get a heavy spanking soon. This will result in De Matteo, getting the sack, and his replacement will be Harry Rednapp.
22/09/2012 19:40

tim lee

small teams, little wins eh? Like the small team who picked up that little win in Munich last May you mean?

22/09/2012 19:39
actually,someone with a low IQ dancing around bongo drums is generally called prince something or other from the british monarchy
wonder how much the russian paid for the diving pool at the bridge 
ff -you are a **** AND CFC will win the leageue again 4th time in the last  8 years,.
22/09/2012 19:39

dr dexter


since when has Cole been a wife beater?

22/09/2012 22:34
Manuel your job to  score goals YES !.......... que ?.......el- mule..
22/09/2012 18:01
Cheryl will be proud of her ex and nobody deny that.  She will know of this if not now soon enough.
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