Date: Saturday 31st December, 2016
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Our last game of the season sees us at home to Stoke City.
Mark Hughes’ side has struggled for consistency so far this season and come into the game with no win from the previous four after what looked like a half-decent spell. Of course Chelsea are on a run of 12 wins from 12 and despite the absence of both Diego Costa and N’golo Kante against Bournemouth on Boxing Day, looked no less solid.
On a run like ours though, we’re there to be beaten and having taken a point off us in this fixture last season, Hughes will be setting Stoke out to do what he’s so far failed to do as a manager against us himself – take all 3 points away from Stamford Bridge.
Going into today’s game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “At the start of the season, not one coach, not one person, not one journalist trusted in this team to fight for the title in this league this season. To have 12 wins in a row is a great achievement, but it’s not enough to win the league at this point of the season. I’m pleased that the opinion is changing. I’m [also] a bit worried because, when the opinion changes quickly, you must pay attention.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes meanwhile, says “The run they are on at the moment is absolutely outstanding, but that run will come to an end at some point. We’re going into it with the intention of stopping the run if we can – and why can’t it be us? We went there last year and got our first point at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, which proves we have good talent in our team.”
For Chelsea, Pedro serves a ban after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Bournemouth but Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante are both available again.
For Stoke, Muniesa, Cameron, Ireland and Butland all remain unavailable because of injuries and Marko Arnautovic is still suspended. Phil Bardsley could return.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Hazard, Costa, Willian
STOKE (Possible line-up): Grant; Johnson, Shawcross, Indi; Diouf, Whelan, Imbula, Allen, Pieters; Crouch, Walters
Chelsea 1-1 Stoke (5th March 2016)
~ Chelsea have gone 11 home games without a league defeat in this fixture since 1974
~ Stoke’s last win at Chelsea in any competition came in October 1995
~ A Chelsea win would see them equal the top-flight record of 13 consecutive wins in a single season
~ Chelsea have kept 10 clean sheets during their current club record 12-match winning streak, conceding just two goals and scoring 28.
~ Chelsea have won the previous 6 successive Premier League home games.
~ Chelsea’s tally of 46 points after 18 games is the second highest in Premier League history, bettered only by the same club’s 49-point haul in 2005-06
~ Stoke are on a four-match winless run, including back-to-back away defeats in which they conceded a total of seven goals.
~ Stoke have 21 points after 18 games (their lowest tally since 2008-09)
~ Stoke have ended the last two calendar years with a league victory
~ Stoke have won only one of their last 19 league matches in London
~ Mark Hughes has never won at Stamford Bridge as a manager in 11 attempts in all competitions