Mame Biram Diouf’s late strike earn Potters a point at Stamford Bridge.

Mame Biram Diouf’s late strike earn Potters a point at Stamford Bridge.
Mar 6, 2016

Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Bertrand Traore of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on March 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

As Chelsea prepare for their biggest game of the season, the game against Stoke was far from ideal for Chelsea. The hosts dropped two points against opponents who for the majority of this contest showed greater intent and quality and will reflect that it was only their lack of a killer instinct that prevented them departing from this venue with a victory. With the performance against Stoke, the Blues fans will be hoping for a much better display against Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.

PSG come along with a hard earned 2-1 lead along with them when they defeated the team from West London in Paris. Guus Hiddink’s men were jittery at the back while in attack their play was sluggish and lacking in penetration. That can partly be put down to the absence of key players through injury, most notably John Terry and Diego Costa, the latter absent here because of a minor tendon strain.

Stoke deserve huge credit for how they put Chelsea under pressure from the very first minute of the game. After continuous possession and dominant play Stoke actually looked to get all the three points at Stamford Bridge. Bertrand Traore gave Chelsea the lead in 39th minute after a superb strike from outside the box. The attacking trio of Marko Arnautovic, Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shaqiri caused constant panic among the defenders in blue and it was the man positioned ahead of them, Mame Biram Diouf, who got the goal Stoke’s display deserved, a close-range header on 85 minutes after Thibaut Courtois had punched Shaqiri’s right-wing cross directly at the striker.

Diouf’s reaction after the goal was some sort of a relief for him after he missed many crucial chances for Stoke. However at the end of the day he was Stoke’s hero, securing their first point at Stamford Bridge since 1984 and keeping them in seventh.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Mame Biram Diouf (1st R) of Stoke City celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on March 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Hiddink was aggrieved with referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision not to award Chelsea a penalty on 72 minutes after Marc Muniesa appeared to push Oscar to the turf inside the Stoke area – “It was a clear penalty,” protested the Dutchman – but he also admitted that a draw was a “fair result” and that Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via their league position have all but vanished. The Londoners remain 10th in the table and are 10 points behind Manchester City in fourth, having played a game more than Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

“That [making the top four] is almost impossible,” said Hiddink, who at least has become the first manager to start a Premier League spell in charge with a 12-match unbeaten run. “Today’s result of West Ham for instance is very respectful that they’re knocking on that door as well.”

Now Chelsea fans can only hope that Diego Costa and John Terry turn up against PSG on Wednesday to face the French Champions. After their game against Stoke, PSG will believe that for a second year in a row they can dump Chelsea out of Europe’s elite competition.

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