A TON of Premier League goals was notched by Didier Drogba as Chelsea made it two wins out of two for Roberto Di Matteo's renewed Blues.
The Ivorian (pic) also became the first African in the top flight to achieve 100 strikes to set up a mouthwatering tie in the Champions League against Napoli on Wednesday.
As with midweek at St Andrews, Di Matteo attempted to address defensive frailty by playing two holding midfielders.
Chelsea had a more sprightly start than in recent weeks: Gary Cahill sending a peach of a shot from outside the box, which tested Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic's diving agility.
Chelsea gained the sort of advantage that doesn't often present itself on the half-hour, when Stoke were reduced to ten men by a totally needless incident.
Ricardo Fuller entered a challenge with Branislav Ivanovic, which saw the Serbian drop to the floor. With no obvious provocation, Fuller then clearly stepped backwards and stamped on Ivanovic's groin. Straight red.
Chelsea upped their efforts: and moments later John Terry hit the bar from a corner.
Half time saw a truly special moment: the Blues' recently unwell record goalscorer Bobby Tambling, returning to make an emotional speech thanking his 'Chelsea family' for their support.
How Chelsea could do with his goals today.
Roberto Di Matteo showed at the re-start that he was not afraid to shuffle his pack. Having already taken of Raul Meireles for Juan Mata, a tactical move; he brought on David Luiz for Ivanovic – injured in that Fuller incident.
But Chelsea looked no more creative.
They played a familiar frustrating game, often characterised by putting high balls into a box populated by tall Stoke players.
Di Matteo switched things about again: bringing on Daniel Sturridge for John Mikel Obi. Moments later, in the 67 th minute, Blues were ahead.
Chelsea, learning from the lack of aerial success, played the ball on the turf: Mata through to Drogba in the box. The Ivorian took the ball on one foot, rounded the keeper, and slotted home with the other: a fittingly superlative finish for his Premier League centenary – the first African to reach that milestone.
Unlike previous weeks, when Chelsea's resolve crumbled late in the game, they just about kept theirs. A relatively straightforward start for Di Matteo. Next comes Napoli, anything but straightforward.