LONDON— Mohamed Salah scored one goal and played a part in the other two as Chelsea strolled to a 3-0 victory over Stoke to reclaim the provisional Premier League lead Saturday.
Even though Jose Mourinho continues to downplay Chelsea’s title prospects, his team remain in the mix with a relatively undemanding run-in, apart from a trip to Liverpool. Liverpool, though, can ensure Chelsea’s stay at the top this weekend is short-lived by winning Sunday at West Ham.
This was a routine victory for Chelsea against a Stoke side that presented little attacking threat.
Salah was unmarked when he netted the opener in the 32nd minute, and won the penalty after the break that Frank Lampard had saved before netting the rebound. Salah set up Willian to complete a fifth straight home in the 72nd.
The Chelsea vs Stoke City EPL match is set for Saturday, April 5.
Kick-off time is 5:30 p.m. GMT (12:30 p.m. ET) at Stamford Bridge.
The game will be broadcast on Sky Sports 1/HD in the United Kingdom.
The game will also air on NBC in the United States.
Live stream is available on NBC Sports Live Extra and Sky Go Extra.
The odds for this match per OddsChecker are:
Here are two AP columns on the two teams.
Chelsea is slowing down, having lost three of its last five games after just one defeat in the previous 17 matches. The defeats against Crystal Palace and PSG have exposed Chelsea’s defensive weakness and the lack of quality in Mourinho’s current strike force.
Following his poor display against Palace, Fernando Torres did not start the match in Paris as Mourinho picked Andre Schurrle to play in a central role rather than Demba Ba. On the other half of the pitch, PSG coach Laurent Blanc displayed a lineup featuring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who scored the opening goal.
“I’m not happy with my strikers’ performances, so I have to try things,” Mourinho said. “With Andre at least I know we have one more player to have the ball, we have one more player to associate with the other players. Football is also about scoring goals. That is for strikers, for real strikers. I had to try.”
Tenth-placed Stoke is seven points from equaling its best Premier League points tally and is aiming to finish in the top half of the table for the first time since gaining promotion in 2008.
“We can go to Chelsea with their confidence knocked and ours sky high, and we have to take advantage of that,” said in-form midfielder Stephen Ireland. “Hopefully we can capitalize and win there as well.”
Stoke has not lost since a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City at the end of February and Mark Hughes’s team beat the Blues 3-2 last December.
“Looking at the games we have left, it’s a real opportunity to pick up as many points as we possibly can,” Ireland said. “We can’t take our foot off the gas and hopefully we can break the records we have been set out to do.”