Chelsea give Stoke the blues
Stoke's long unbeaten home run was brought to a shuddering halt as Chelsea chalked up a 4-0 victory - with a helping hand from Jonathan Walters.
The Potters had not lost at the Britannia Stadium in the Barclays Premier League since February and have proved formidable opponents for the league's big guns, but this was their biggest home loss since returning to the top flight in 2008.
It began to go wrong in injury time at the end of the first half when Walters headed into his own net, and remarkably the striker repeated the trick in the 62nd minute. Three minutes later Frank Lampard netted a penalty after Juan Mata went down and Eden Hazard rounded off the scoring with a long-range screamer 17 minutes from time.
Walters was given the chance to at least score one goal at the right end when Stoke were awarded a 90th-minute penalty but in keeping with the rest of the striker's day he could only find the top of the bar.
In the eighth minute a shot from Andy Wilkinson was blocked by Ramires and the ball fell to Kenwyne Jones on the right of the area. His shot beat Petr Cech but rolled just past the post.
It looked like the teams would go into half-time all square but with injury time almost up Cesar Azpilicueta swung in a cross from the right. Mata was poised to convert but he was beaten to the ball by a diving Walters, who powered the ball past his own keeper.
The killer goal arrived in the 62nd minute, and incredibly it was another own goal from Walters. This time Mata sent in a corner and the Stoke striker got his head to the ball just ahead of Lampard.
Three minutes later when they conceded a penalty as Mata broke through and went to ground under pressure from both Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross and Lampard smashed the penalty down the middle.
The visitors did manage another in the 73rd minute, though, and what a strike it was as Hazard let fly from 25 yards and the ball rocketed into the top corner.
There was still time for the returning John Terry to give away a penalty for a foul on Walters, but there was no redemption for the striker.