You have to hand it to Stoke: the spectators have an attitude as uncompromising as the players. Midway through the first half here, as the European champions attempted to slow the game down by passing across midfield and patiently waiting for the opportunity to play the killer ball, the home crowd struck up a chant of "Boring, boring". As if stung by the enormity of being so insulted in these parts, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba promptly combined to produce a moment of true quality and a shooting chance for Frank Lampard, who rather fluffed his lines by allowing Asmir Begovic to save with his legs.
Boring or not, Chelsea managed to deprive the Potters of their proud claim to be the last team in all four divisions with an unbeaten home record, proving that while Rafael Benítez's side might have been through a blip with defeats to QPR and Swansea, they can still do it on a freezing cold Saturday in Stoke. Chelsea did not just end the record, they demolished it, and deserved to, though it always comes in handy when the home side chips in with two own goals from the same player, who then goes on to miss a penalty.
"It wasn't our day today, it was Chelsea's," Tony Pulis admitted. "Up until the second goal I thought we were the better team but it just didn't go for us."
That is not to suggest Chelsea had everything their own way. They would have been in trouble after just eight minutes had Kenwyne Jones finished with more composure when a rebound from an Andy Wilkinson shot left him with only Petr Cech to beat. The goalkeeper stood up well but Jones still failed to test him, rolling his shot inches beyond a post from the sort of position Stoke would spend the rest of the afternoon trying to reproduce.
Chelsea also took something of a physical battering, with Hazard in particular on the receiving end of some meaty challenges, and naturally the more he protested to the referee the more the crowd enjoyed it.
"We knew it would be tough here," Benítez said. "It was intense and physical but we were ready for that."
After a shaky period in the middle of the first half, Chelsea found their bearings and were beginning to get on top by the interval, though it still took an own goal to break the deadlock, Jon Walters heading past his own goalkeeper from César Azpilicueta's dipping cross. Juan Mata may or may not have scored had Walters left the ball alone, but for the previous few minutes Stoke had been taking no chances, trying and generally succeeding in getting heads or bodies in the way of everything Chelsea could throw at them.
Ashley Cole brought a save from Begovic at the start of the second half after Ba had done well to reach and control Lampard's searching pass, but Chelsea kept inviting Stoke back into the game by needlessly giving the ball away, and when they stood off Steven Nzonzi just before the hour it took a good save from Cech to beat out a rising shot.
Chelsea got even luckier a few minutes later. Andre Marriner pointed to the spot when Azpilicueta felled Matthew Etherington in the area, only to find the visitors reprieved by Sian Massey's flag for offside.
Replays showed there was not much in it, but confirmed the linesperson had been absolutely correct.
Stoke's luck ran out shortly after that, with the match settled by two more Chelsea goals in three minutes. The hapless Walters contributed the first from Mata's corner, getting himself into a tangle facing his own net under pressure from Lampard and ending up getting in the way of the Chelsea captain but not out of the way of the ball. Perhaps, like Paul Scholes, Walters is just not cut out for getting back to help out his defence.
On Chelsea's next visit to the Stoke penalty area Robert Huth went through Mata from behind. Home defenders looked in vain for any help from the referee's assistant, leaving Lampard to score emphatically from the spot.
With the game safe Fernando Torres and then John Terry joined the action, the latter to a rapturous reception from the Chelsea support.
Terry fouled Walters to give away the last-minute penalty that the Stoke player all too predictably blasted too high, prompting the visiting fans to pile on the misery by chanting that Walters scores when he wants.
Fittingly, it was Hazard who had provided the true final flourish a few minutes earlier, neatly stepping inside a challenge and beating Begovic from 25 yards with a stunning left-foot drive. Not even Stoke could call that boring.