Chelsea vs Stoke City Preview, Possible Lineups & Key Stats

Chelsea will be looking to get one step closer to the Premier League title in a game they are heavily fancied to win on Saturday evening.

The Blues have been held 1-1 in three of their last four home league games. They have also won five of the last six Premier League encounters and kept six clean sheets in their last seven versus the Stoke City.

Mark Hughes’ side have a nice lead over Crystal Palace in 11th position before the weekend and they haven’t been the easiest team to beat on the road of late – losing only two of their last seven away games. However, six of those have been against bottom half teams, and the one top half team they faced, they were thrashed 3-0 at Arsenal.

Team News

Chelsea

Diego Costa is a doubt with a muscle injury picked up in Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Hull City before the international break. He withdrew from the Spanish squad meaning he’s had almost two weeks to recover.

John Obi Mikel is the only player confirmed ruled out for José Mourinho’s side.

Stoke City

Mark Hughes hasn’t had it easy with injuries this season but his side are currently in better shape than have a lot of the time.

Bojan is done for the season, Peter Odemwingie has been out for a while and Jonathan Walters is a doubt.

Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club.

Predicted Lineups

We’re going with Diego Costa to be fit to start up front, but if not, Didier Drogba and Loïc Rémy are both available. Oscar, Willian and Filipe Luís were with Brazil over the international break but their game on Sunday with Chile was in London. Depending on the status of Costa, Mourinho should be able to name his strongest team.

Mark Hughes lines his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and has his defence fully fit and available. Jonathan Walters is a doubt but otherwise we don’t expect the side to be much different from this selection.

Key Matchups

Eden Hazard vs Phil Bardsley
Eden Hazard has had an excellent season and should fancy his chances versus Phil Bardsley on Saturday. The Belgian, often a match winner and scoring most of his goals at Stamford Bridge this season can certainly cause Stoke’s right-back and defence a lot of problems in general.

Oscar vs Glenn Whelan
Chelsea’s number 10 should be a big factor in this game. Whilst Stoke are likely to sit a number of players behind the ball for the majority of the game, Oscar’s passing, shooting and movement can certainly hurt Stoke. Glenn Whelan isn’t the best when players run at him – often getting beat or committing a foul, he may be the weak point in the Potters’ defence this weekend.

Diego Costa vs Philipp Wollscheid
Philipp Wollscheid has had a hit and miss start to his Stoke career following his winter transfer move from the Bundesliga. Notably, he had tough games against the top teams – Arsenal and Manchester City, as Stoke conceded seven goals in those two games combined. Diego Costa has 19 Premier League goals this season and has the supporting cast to create chances for him this weekend.

Key Stats

1 – Thibaut Courtois has kept only one clean sheet in his last eight Premier League matches.

6 – Chelsea have kept clean sheets in six of their last seven Premier League matches versus Stoke City.

16 – Chelsea have kept 16 clean sheets in their last 22 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

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