Stoke v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 23rd September, 2017
Venue: bet365 stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST

This afternoon’s game sees us take on a Stoke side with five points from five games so far this season and just three wins from their last 16 in the Premier League. Stoke also come into this game off the back of a midweek defeat to Bristol City in the League Cup.
Chelsea meanwhile had the luxury of resting players against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night and still coming away with a decent win. This did come after a less than inspiring scoreless draw against Arsenal last weekend though and with Atletico Madrid and Manchester City up for us next, we could do with getting back to the momentum we had before the international break.
Stoke won’t make it easy for us to do that and Alvaro Morata is likely to be subjected to the customary welcome from Mark Hughes’ side although with five reds in our last nine games, we’ll be the ones having to watch our backs in what’s likely to be a bumpy ride.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Stoke manager Mark Hughes says “We disappointed ourselves earlier in the week, so we are eager to respond to that in the right manner against Chelsea. There is always a reaction on the back of a disappointing result, and we fully expect the performance to be markedly better this weekend. It will be a huge test for us, but we have come up against Arsenal and Manchester United and taken points off them so we are confident of doing the same this weekend.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “For sure it will be a really tough game. They [Stoke] beat Arsenal and drew against United; it means they are a very good team. We must pay great attention tomorrow. This is the first of three tough games in seven days. A good test and challenge for us.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Stoke, Geoff Cameron and Ryan Shawcross are both injured, Kevin Wimmer (hamstring) is a doubt and Kurt Zouma is ineligible to play against us.
For Chelsea, David Luiz is banned but Pedro (leg) is fit and Temoue Bakayoko is no worse for wear after his accident so should be ok to play.

TEAMS
STOKE (Possible line-up): Butland; Martins Indi, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Allen, Fletcher, Pieters; Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting; Jese
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Hazard; Morata

LAST SEASON
Stoke 1-2 Chelsea (18 March 2017)

CURRENT FORM (PL)
STOKE: LWDDL
CHELSEA: LWWWD

OTHER STUFF
~ Stoke have won only two of their 18 Premier League matches against Chelsea (both at home)
~ Stoke have been beaten 13 times by Chelsea in the Premier League
~ Stoke have managed only three wins in their last 16 Premier League matches.
~ Stoke have lost just once in their past seven top-flight home matches against the reigning champions
~ Chelsea have lost only three of their last 23 Premier League games (W17, D3).
~ Chelsea have also won seven of their past eight away matches in the league.
~ Chelsea could win their opening three Premier League away matches for the first time since 2009.

PREDICTION
BBC Sport: Stoke 1-1 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Stoke 1-3 Chelsea
Sportsmole: Stoke 1-3 Chelsea

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