Stoke v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Britannia Stadium
Date: Saturday, 7 November
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

Wednesday’s game in the Champions League isn’t the only time we’ve managed a win this season and it wasn’t against the best opposition either but it seemed significant all the same. Why? Because for the first time this season, in the first half and again when we conceded the equaliser, our players responded positively.
Willian aside, none of them were all that special, yet they somehow responded to rumours of a dressing room revolt against their manager in exactly the manner we’ve been willing them to. Even Eden Hazard – alleged to be at the centre of the storm – came off the bench looking a lot less lethargic than he has in recent weeks. Unfortunately though, just when the players look like they might actually want to win for the manager, he’s not going to be around following his not-over-the-top-at-all stadium ban.
Mark Hughes will undoubtedly hope being manager-less leaves us even more fragile than we’ve shown ourselves to be already this season so Stoke can find some home form and the goal they’ve been lacking at the Britannia.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into this evening’s game Stoke manager Mark Hughes says of his missing opposition “It may well impact negatively on the team, it may be a positive, it’s a tough one to call. Maybe without his influence at half-time and just prior to the game, it may take something away. It’s always good to see Jose in the dugout and our crowd enjoy seeing opposition managers on occasions.”
Absent Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “My assistants are completely free of that extra pressure which doesn’t belong to their jobs. I choose the team and I predict to the maximum I can the different aspects of the game and the different directions it can follow. I try to prepare the players and assistants even better than ever because it is only the way. If after 10 minutes we are playing with seven men, it is something I did not prepare my assistants for, so they have to decide for themselves.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Stoke, Marc Muniesa (hamstring) and Shay Given (knee) are injured. Geoff Cameron (thigh) returns and Phil Bardsley is available again after a one-game ban. Marco van Ginkel is ineligible against us.
For Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois (knee) remains out long term, Falcao (muscle) is injured and Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring) has returned to training but won’t feature yet. Pedro is fit to start after his late appearance midweek.

TEAMS
STOKE (Possible line-up): Butland, Johnson, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Adam, Whelan, Shaqiri, Krkic, Arnautovic, Walters.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Begovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Terry, Baba Rahman, Matic, Ramires, Pedro, Oscar, Willian, Costa.

LAST SEASON
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea (22nd December 2014)

CURRENT FORM
Stoke: WWWLDD
Chelsea: WDLDLW

OTHER STUFF
~ Stoke have only beaten Chelsea once in the Premier League
~ Stoke beat Chelsea at the Britannia on penalties last month (League Cup)
~ Stoke have lost three of their five league matches at home this season
~ Stoke have scored the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (9)
~ Stoke have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four league games.
~ Chelsea have suffered two successive league defeats for the first time since 1999
~ Chelsea have only won two of their last nine games in all competitions
~ Chelsea have lost six league games already this season
~ Chelsea have conceded 12 goals in their five league games away from home

PREDICTION
We’ve struggled with Mourinho this season, can’t see that improving without him.

One Response to “Stoke v CHELSEA: Preview”

  1. chelsea can win ,because no Jose .the campaign against Jose