In Review

Good omens for Mourinho as Chelsea stay top for Christmas

Goals for John Terry and Cesc Fabregas ensure the Blues spend Christmas three points clear of Man City

Stoke City 0 Chelsea 2. Jose Mourinho will tuck into his turkey with a smile this Christmas after his Chelsea side overcame Stoke to move clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. Mourinho's men now have 42 points, three more than City, and the omens are good for the Blues: on the previous three occasions they've topped the table on Christmas Day, they've gone on to win the league title in May.

The Blues suffered defeat in the corresponding fixture last season but much to the delight of Mourinho goals from John Terry and Cesc Fabregas ensured the Londoners left the Britannia Stadium with all three points. "These victories mean more than three points," said Mourinho. "To win and get three points, the players need the right spirit and mentality. Only with a great team performance is it possible to be successful against Stoke."

In truth Chelsea were rarely required to move out of second gear against a Stoke side that failed to repeat their heroics against Arsenal earlier in the month. The Potters were on the back foot within 90 seconds, John Terry rising to head Cesc Fabregas' corner past Asmir Begovic.

Chelsea should have doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark when Fabregas put Diego Costa through on goal but his shot couldn't match the quality of the pass.

Fabregas wasn't so wasteful 12 minutes from time when he latched on to Eden Hazard's pass to  fire home the visitors' second.

Hazard was the victim of the only controversial note of the night, the Belgian upended by a heavy tackle from Stoke defender Phil Bardsley that had Mourinho howling for a red card. "At that time, I felt the tackle was a bad one but if it was a bad one it was the only one," he said. "At the end of the day it was a fair game, a typical English winter game."

Blues' fans will be hoping the win is the first of a quartet of victories over the Christmas period for their boys, although Mourinho warned they face a tough couple of weeks. West Ham visit Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day and then Chelsea travel to Southampton and Tottenham on 28 December and New Year's Day respectively. "We have to focus on the three matches we still have until the end of this period," explained Mourinho. "The three-point lead we have is a little advantage, it is a little pillow we have to protect us We go home happy and pleased with what we did."

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