(Reuters) – CHELSEA 5 STOKE 0
Willian ran the show in the absence of Eden Hazard as Chelsea thrashed an abject Stoke City 5-0 to go provisionally second in the Premier League, 13 points behind leaders Manchester City, on Saturday.
The Blues dominated from the start despite resting Belgian star Hazard ahead of next week’s clash at Arsenal, with Antonio Rudiger heading home Willian’s free kick in the third minute to put his team in control.
Danny Drinkwater broke Stoke’s sprits six minutes later as he rifled a half-volley home from nearly 25 metres to net a spectacular first goal for Chelsea and Willian teed up Pedro for the third in the 23rd minute.
The Brazilian capped a superb display by slotting home the fourth from the penalty spot near the end after being fouled by Geoff Cameron, with Davide Zappacosta slamming home a fifth goal late on to complete a hefty rout.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; editing by Clare Fallon)