Chelsea 1 Stoke City 0
Roberto Di Matteo won his first Premier League game as interim manager of Chelsea thanks to Didier Drogba’s second-half goal.
A typically resolute Stoke kept the Blues at bay for over an hour after having Ricardo Fuller sent off for stamping on Branoslav Ivanovic.
Drogba finally broke the deadlock when he latched onto substitute Juan Mata’s through-ball and rounded keeper Asmir Begovic.
John Terry was back in the starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury.
He captained a side without Mata, Michael Essien and David Luiz, who were all rested on the bench with Wednesday night’s Champions League game against Napoli in mind.
Chelsea had a host of chances before Fuller’s sending-off, with Ivanovic heading just over from a Frank Lampard corner and Raul Meireles firing across goal.
But the Stoke forward was shown a straight red card for stamping on the thigh of Ivanovic after the full-back was late with a tackle.
Mata was introduced with eight minutes left of the first half after Meireles picked up a knock.
Ivanovic, meanwhile, was forced off at half-time suffering the effects of Fuller’s stamp, and was replaced by Luiz at right-back.
Drogba finally put Chelsea ahead in the 68th minute when Mata found him unmarked in the area.
And Mata could have given Chelsea a second with a stinging free-kick that struck the post late on.