Fernando Torres
Stoke City's Delap challenges Chelsea's Torres during their English Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke. REUTERS

Stoke held Chelsea to a goalless draw on Sunday, after some excellent goalkeeping and a staunch defensive display kept the visitors' vaunted attack in check.

Fernando Torres was Chelsea's standout performer in a quiet first half, as Stoke were limited to long-range efforts.

The second half brought a marked improvement from both sides, with John Obi Mikel and Nicolas Anelka forcing smart saves from Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Chelsea were left frustrated by Mark Halsey's refusal to award one of three penalty appeals in the second half.

Torres was brought down by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross as the Spaniard burst into the penalty box early in the second half, while Marc Wilson's trip on Frank Lampard was perhaps the most credible but Halsey failed to award a spot-kick for either appeal.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was left to lament his side's profligacy in front of goal, but he will be encouraged by a marked improvement in the form and confidence of Torres.

The £50m striker suffered an indifferent pre-season after managing just one goal in 18 games last season following his move from Liverpool in January.

But the Spain international was integral in most of Chelsea's moves forward on Sunday and the 27-year-old believes his confidence has been lifted after the opening weekend.

"I am only 27, I have not forgotten how to play and how to score and to play well," he told Sky Sports.

"Last season was a season to forget for me...it's in the past and now I want to look forward."