Premier League - Salah nets on first start as Chelsea outclass Stoke to regain top spot

Premier League, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 3 (Salah 32, Lampard 61, Willian 72) Stoke 0

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Premier League - Salah nets on first start as Chelsea outclass Stoke to regain top spot
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UNITED KINGDOM, London : Chelsea's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Stoke City (AFP)

Mohamed Salah scored on his first start for Chelsea as Jose Mourinho's side returned to the Premier League summit with a 3-0 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are one point clear of Liverpool, whose game in hand comes at West Ham United on Sunday at Upton Park. Manchester City are two points behind Chelsea, but have two games in hand on the Premier League leaders after a 4-1 win over Southampton earlier on Saturday.

Stoke were ideal opposition for Chelsea after their 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday. They offered little resistance and ended the match resembling cannon fodder as the home side threatened to declare on more than three.

Salah struck the opening goal on 32 minutes from Nemanja Matic's cutback before a late challenge by substitute Andy Wilkinson on Salah enabled Lampard to net his 250th career club goal over spells with Swansea, West Ham and Chelsea on 61 minutes.

Asmir Begovic stopped the Lampard penalty, but the ball broke kindly for the England midfielder to convert on the rebound.

The outstanding Willian finished off the scoring when he planted a glorious effort into the corner of the visiting net for the third goal with 18 minutes remaining.

KEY MOMENTS

25' - TORRES THREAT: Torres almost in for the opening goal. Pieters with a chest down towards Begovic, but the Stoke goalkeeper throws himself at the loose ball to save at the feet of the Spanish forward.

32' - SALAH GOAL - Chelsea 1-0 Stoke: Salah scores from 14 yards. Brilliant finish after a lovely cutback by Matic. Super goal. And that should ease the nerves among the home fans.

61' - LAMPARD SCORES FROM THE PENALTY SPOT - Chelsea 2-0 Stoke: Begovic halts the driven penalty by Lampard, but the midfielder follows up to convert the rebound. A 2-0 lead now for Chelsea.

72' - WILLIAN ADDS THE THIRD - Chelsea 2-0 Stoke: Willian smacks the ball into the net from just outside the Stoke box. Brilliant finish, and Chelsea lead 3-0.

KEY STATS

Mohamed Salah has now scored in four of his five all comps apps at Stamford Bridge (for Chelsea & FC Basel) - the exception being the 3-0 Premier League home win v Newcastle on Feb 8.

Chelsea scored past Stoke for the fifth Premier League match in a row: they have failed to score against the club on only one occasion since April 1975 (14 top-flight matches). Stoke have now failed to keep a clean sheet for the ninth Premier League away match in a row.

Chelsea extend their winning streak to five Premier League home matches, and their unbeaten streak to 26. Jose Mourinho is now unbeaten in 77 PL home matches as manager of Chelsea.

Chelsea’s win ends Stoke’s best unbeaten streak since December 2012, five matches without a loss.

Chelsea have kept 14 clean sheets (the most in the PL this season) and as many as they kept in the Premier League in the entire 2012/13 season.

Frank Lampard scores his 147th PL goal for Chelsea – putting him joint-second in the club’s leading all-time League scorers (all divisions) along with Kerry Dixon. Only Bobby Tambling (164) has scored more League goals for the club.

Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five Premier League home matches, after keeping two in their previous ten.

Infostrada

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Willian (Chelsea): Superb performance and goal from the attacking midfielder. Outstanding stuff as he ran the show from the centre of the park.

TALKING POINT: Can Chelsea overturn the 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg? Difficult to use Stoke as a gauge of what is needed against the French champions, but at least they will go into that match in the best of spirits. As Frank Lampard said afterwards, Chelsea certainly possess the personnel to win that match 2-0.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea: Cech 7, Ivanovic 7, Cahill 7, Terry 7, Azpilicueta 7, Lampard 7, Matic 7, Schurrle 7, Willian 8, Salah 8, Torres 5; Subs: Cole 6, David Luiz 6, Hazard 6

Stoke: Begovic 7; Cameron 5, Shawcross 6, Wilson 6, Pieters 5; Odemwingie 5, Whelan 6, Palacios 5, N'Zonzi 6, Arnautovic 5, Crouch 5; Subs: Wilkinson 4, Adam 5, Walters 6

MATCH IN A TWEET

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