Stoke v Chelsea Preview
Chelsea remain on top of the league and last weekend bounced back to winning ways with a win over Hull City.
Diego Costa got himself back on the scoresheet and brings his total for the season to twelve, in thirteen games. Costa has scored a goal every 91 minutes on average and has an impressive conversion rate of 40% (12 goals from 30 shots). In addition, exactly 80% of his shots this season have been on target (24/30), according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Costa is 29/10 to score first with 888sport.
Eden Hazard has sat on top of the dribbling charts all season, and this does not look like changing any time soon. After last weekend’s match, Hazard has completed 71 successful dribbles, which is around 4.6 take-ons per game this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He along with Costa are likely to be Chelsea’s biggest threats to Stoke on Monday night.
Cesc Fabregas missed Chelsea’s game against Hull but is set to return against Stoke, and that will certainly be a big boost to Jose Mourinho. The midfielder has made an astonishing 739 passes in the opposition half this season, averaging out at around 49 per game. Only Yaya Toure has a greater total in the division, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
This week’s Monday night visitors to Stamford Bridge are Stoke, who certainly won’t be a pushover and will be looking to emulate their performance away at Man City that saw them take all three points. Stoke will come into the game in a positive frame of mind having picked up four points from a possible six in their last two outings, including a fantastic victory over Arsenal.
In Asmir Begovic, Stoke have one of the league’s most talented goalkeepers and he has been living up to all expectations this season, as illustrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has made 26 saves this season to help keep the goals against column as low as possible. This also showcases the great work that his defence has been doing in front of him to keep the shots testing him to a minimum.
In midfield, Steven N’Zonzi continues to impress for Stoke, as demonstrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The French holding midfielder has covered a squad best 178.8km, and is equally adept on the ball as well, having completed a squad best 528 passes. His work rate and talent could be the key to unlocking the Chelsea backline.
Up top, Bojan has really started to find his feet in the Premier League and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can showcase this mercurial talent. Bojan has netted twice for the Potters and will look to threaten in behind with his top speed, recorded at 32.9km/h. He is 27/5 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Stoke City v Chelsea Match Facts:
- Stoke have won one of their last five Premier League matches, a 3-2 win against Arsenal in their last home game.
- The Potters have conceded a goal in each of their last 10 Premier League games – it’s the longest run without a clean sheet in the top flight this season.
- Current Stoke manager Mark Hughes made 123 appearances and scored 39 goals for Chelsea during his playing career. While with the Blues, he won the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
- Chelsea’s only league defeat this season came in their last away match, when they lost 2-1 to Newcastle.
- The Blues have lost only one of their last 19 Premier League games played on a Monday (W11, D,7 L1).
- Eden Hazard has not scored a Premier League goal away from home since January; his last 11 goals in the league have all come at Stamford Bridge.
Facts complied from BBC.
Stoke City v Chelsea Possible Lineups:
Stoke City: Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Nzonzi, Cameron, Diouf, Bojan, Walters, Crouch
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa
Stoke City v Chelsea Prediction:
A 1-2 win for the travelling side.
Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.