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18:46 25th April 2010

Chelsea 7 Stoke City 0

A RAMPANT Chelsea side put the Potters to the sword on Sunday afternoon as they took a step closer to securing the Barclays Premier League title by inflicting the biggest defeat on the Potters in 10 years.

A hat-trick for Soloman Kalou, a brace from Frank Lampard and strikes from Florent Malouda and Daniel Sturridge secured the hosts all three points in what was in all honesty a completely one-sided encounter.

There was even more insult added to injury for Tony Pulis as he lost both captain Abdoulaye Faye and Denmark international Thomas Sorensen to injury during an action packed encounter at a sun baked Stamford Bridge.

The Potters went into the game knowing they would have their work cut out against a side desperate for all three points following Manchester United's victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and they wasted no time in showing their intentions as Ivory Coast star Didier Drogba brought the very best out of Sorensen early on.

Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller, who was recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Tuncay, then showed a glimpse of his ability by leaving Ivanovic for dead before teeing up partner David Kitson, however, Brazilian defender Alex stepped in to clear the danger.

Faye was then forced off clutching the upper part of his groin following a challenge on Lampard, meaning Ryan Shawcross made his first appearance for the club since being dismissed against Arsenal back in February.

An inexplicable piece of skill from Drogba led to him putting the ball on a plate for compatriot Kalou to head home the opening goal of the game in the 24th minute, before he doubled their advantage shortly after from close range after reacting quickest to Sorensen's superb save which denied Florent Malouda.

Leading goal-scorer Fuller then went close from long distance as the Potters caught Chelsea on the counter-attack, however, at the other end Chelsea were handed a glorious opportunity to all but the seal the win right on the stroke of half-time as former Blues defender Robert Huth brought down Malouda, seemingly outside of the area, only for Steve Bennett to point to the penalty spot.

Skipper for the day Lampard, who was deputising for the suspended John Terry, obliged and calmly sent Begovic the wrong way to fire home his 19th league goal of the campaign.

The second period continued in similar fashion to the first with the hosts dominating, but despite the efforts of Kalou and Michael Ballack it appeared the Potters would stand firm and keep the Blues at bay. That was until Kalou found his third goal of the afternoon just after the hour mark.

The lively attacker burst down the right flank and cut inside to fire goalwards, only to see Begovic deny him, but from the rebound he made no mistake in drilling the ball into the roof of the net via a deflection off Shawcross.

Three minutes later Malouda somehow failed to make it five from one yard as he amazingly sliced Nicholas Anelka's ball into the six-yard box horribly wide, but Lampard spared his blushes soon after by sublimely dinking the ball over Begovic from an acute angle to make it five.

There was still time for substitute Daniel Sturridge to open his account for his new club after doing well to beat Begovic, whilst Malouda put his earlier miss to bed by rounding off the match at the death with a well taken goal after good work from England World Cup hopeful Joe Cole.


    The Potters played out four replays to finally beat Bury in the FA Cup in 1955