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Stoke City v Chelsea: Preview, Team News and Playing XIs

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Jose Mourinho

With an opportunity to use the win against Dynamo Kiev for getting better results, Jose Mourinho’s beleaguered Chelsea side face a stiff trip to the Britannia to face Mark Hughes’ Stoke side.

Willian’s stunning late free kick had handed the Blues all three points in dramatic fashion in a game in which Chelsea looked more convincing than the previous games. The likes of Eden Hazard and Pedro made appearances from the bench and their performances showed flashes of their real quality.

Pedro Chelsea debut
Pedro

Stoke had succeeded in holding the Magpies last weekend, as English stopper Jack Butland’s impressive performances between the sticks allowed the Potters to hold onto a draw they didn’t actually deserve at St. James Park.

Stoke have already knocked the Blues out of the League Cup, although on penalties but would head into the game with a certain amount of confidence that they can pull off a result against a struggling Chelsea outfit. And a one game ban thumped by the English FA on Mourinho would mean that the former Porto and Real Madrid manager wouldn’t be allowed to communicate with his players and would be forced to match from the stands, acting as a hindrance.

Team News

The good news for Stoke would the return of Geoff Cameron from a thigh strain, which saw him miss the previous two games. More so, defender Ryan Shawcross will return to action too, much like Phil Bardsley, who will be back after serving a one game suspension.

Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel won’t feature due to the fact that Chelsea happens to be his parent club, meaning that American Geoff Cameron is likely to act as midfield cover.

Branislav Ivanovic
Branislav Ivanovic

Pedro, who made an appearance from the bench is back while Branislav Ivanovic is back in training but is unlikely to feature at Britannia.

Predicted Line ups

Chelsea possible starting lineup:

Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa

Stoke City possible starting line up:

Jack Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Shaqiri, Bojan, Cameron; Walters

Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri

Past Meetings

The previous meeting between both clubs took place at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea emerged as 2-1 winners in an encounter that saw Charlie Adam pull off a strike from his own half as Loic Remy and Eden Hazard struck for the Blues. At Britannia last season, Chelsea had picked up a 2-0 when John Terry’s early header and Cesc Fabregas’ strike had given the Blues 3 important points.

During their recent League Cup fixture, Jon Walters’ second half strike had given Stoke a lead but Loic Remy’s 91st-minute goal had dragged the game on into extra time. During extra time, nothing could separate both sides as it ended on level begging. Eden Hazard missed penalty during the penalty shoot outs had knocked the Blues out of the competition, as Stoke emerged as 5-4 winners on penalties.

Despite a crisis brewing at Chelsea, stats suggest they will get the result they want. They have lost just 2 and have drawn only two during both sides’ previous 18 games. The last time Stoke defeated Chelsea was back in 2013 when Oussama Assaidi’s 90th minute stunner had sent Chelsea packing.

Prediction

Unlike last season, Britannia has become a slightly less daunting a place to go, no matter which team you are. Watford claimed a 2-0 win during Stoke’s previous home game and the last time the Potters won there was on the 26th of September against Bournemouth.

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas

And it seems Mourinho now has players on his side, despite others not being so. The likes of John Terry and Cesc Fabregas have publicly made it clear that there’s no revolt in the dressing room and they still support the Portuguese gaffer. And their fighting win over Kiev suggests just that.

It’s going to be a close game, but I’ll back Chelsea;s overall quality and predict a 2-1 win.