It took an injury-time winner from Florent Malouda to maintain Chelsea's 100 per cent Premier League record after coming from behind at Stoke.

The win continues our perfect start to the new season under Carlo Ancelotti, but it could have been a different story after we fell behind to an Abdoulaye Faye header on 32 minutes, before Didier Drogba leveled in injury time at the end of the first half.

Chelsea had created little inside the opening 45 minutes, and could count ourselves lucky to be level, but the second half was a different story as we peppered the home goal with shots and bombarded the penalty area.

This particular part of the Midlands is a difficult place to come, and not many sides will take three points from Stoke, making Malouda's late drive all the sweeter for the superb travelling Chelsea fans.

International duty done and dusted, it was back down to earth and Premier League football, and there are few grounds that provide a bump like the one at the Britannia Stadium, with its loud home support and open corners.

Perhaps with Porto and the Champions League in mind on Tuesday, Carlo Ancelotti opted to leave Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Essien and Nicolas Anelka on the bench, making way for Branislav Ivanovic, Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou to start, while for Stoke there was a new defensive pairing in place with former Blue Robert Huth alongside debutant Danny Collins, a transfer deadline day signing from Sunderland.

Chelsea kicked off in bright sunshine, attacking a home side clearly set out not to concede, with five defenders in place and three hard-working midfielders to protect them, while forward Dave Kitson dropped deeper to pressure Mikel in the midfield.

Lampard battles for possession

The first chance of the game went to Stoke, after last man Ivanovic allowed the ball to bounce loosely off his chest, but James Beattie snatched at his unexpected opportunity and shot wide.

In vying for possession, the pair collided and Beattie had to be stretchered off, replaced by the muscular Ricardo Fuller.

There was little meaningful action but an interesting talking point arrived on 16 minutes, when Kalou was yellow-carded for blocking a Rory Delap long throw with his head, despite being the obligatory two yards away when the throw was taken.

The caution may have been a result of the Ivorian's leap when Delap launched the ball. Not many in the ground will have known about the intricacies of that particular footballing law.

Playing against such energetic and determined opposition was proving difficult. Too many times passes from one blue shirt to another would go astray, and it cost Chelsea dear just after the half-hour mark.

The mistake was Petr Cech's, caught in no-man's land after hesitating on a harmless looking Glenn Whelan cross. Fifteen yards out, he probably shouldn't have done, but having got half way he might have reached it, only to stop, allowing Abdoulaye Faye to loop a header over his head and into the empty net.

It hadn't been a good start and Ancelotti looked far from happy as he gesticulated to his men from the touchline.

At the other end Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was having problems of his own, and had to surrender to injury five minutes before the break. Steve Simonsen was introduced in his place with Stoke defending a corner they had little trouble in clearing. More would be required if Chelsea would salvage anything and typically it was Drogba who delivered in stoppage time.

Malouda lines up Chelsea's winner

Spurred by eight minutes of injury time, allocated after injuries to the Stoke pair, the forward latched onto a clever Lampard pass, turned Faye and sent a truly unstoppable left-footed drive into the far top corner beyond Simonsen to level the scores.

Half-time probably still brought some stern words but at least we were not behind.

A yellow card for Ashley Cole was the standout event of the first 10 minutes of the second period, after he cut Fuller down on the break.

Delap showed his throw-ins were still an important part of Stoke's play, forcing Cech to punch behind on 57 minutes, before the Czech stopper had to dance across his line to gather a goalbound header.

Four minutes later Huth leapt above his compatriot Ballack at another corner but headed over, prompting a flurry of substitutions as Anelka and Essien replaced Kalou and Ballack for Chelsea and Tuncay came on for Kitson for Stoke.

Chances followed for Chelsea, as first Bosingwa shot wide and then Drogba and Essien saw efforts blocked by red and white striped shirts.

Into the final 20 minutes it was all Chelsea, and Drogba thought he had scored when he chested down a deep cross at the far post before shooting goalwards, only for another block three yards out to prevent the goal.

A free-kick from the Ivorian had Simonsen scrambling across his goal to push the ball wide, before he claimed the resulting corner high above his head and then palmed away a low Drogba cross after he had beaten Shawcross with the usual combination of pace, power and tenacity.

Ancelotti's last change was to bring in the forward-thinking Juliano Belletti in place of Mikel eight minutes from time, but there looked like being no breakthrough as a wall of Stoke shirts blocked shot after shot, cross after cross along the edge of their area.

Malouda celebrates scoring Chelsea's winning goal

Four minutes of the allocated five in injury time had already passed before Essien took control inside the area and found Anelka, who laid off for Malouda to drive low into the bottom corner beyond Simonsen's grasp.

It was harsh on Stoke, but nobody heading back to west London will mind, and we still sit top of the league five games in.

By Andy Jones

Stoke (5-3-2): Sorensen (Simonsen 40), Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye (c), Huth, Collins; Delap, Whitehead, Whelan; Beattie (Fuller 11), Kitson (Tuncay 65).

Goal Faye 32

Booked Shawcross 18, Delap 58, Wilkinson 76

Chelsea (4-4-2 diamond): Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry (c), A Cole; Mikel (Belletti 82), Ballack (Essien 65), Malouda, Lampard; Kalou (Anelka 63), Drogba.

Goal Drogba 45+2, Malouda 90+4

Booked Kalou 16, Terry 45+5, A Cole 52