Stoke City play host to visitors Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Keen followers of the Premier League will remember the gripping 1 – 0 Blues win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge earlier during the season. Fans will be looking forward to a good match after a long break from the regular season, with both teams will be looking to snatch up those valuable 3 points to push their team up through the ranks in the table.
Stoke City have been a pleasure to watch throughout this season, upsetting some of the big clubs in the league and matching most on the field. They’ve had a brilliant run with an unbeaten record of 10 games before falling prey to Manchester City at the start of the New Year. Manager Tony Pulis will look to review his team, preparing them for their . Currently placed at the 10th position, The Potters will feel a little under the weather when they face Chelsea, being unable to even find the net in their past two competitive games. Nevertheless, they can edge Chelsea marginally, having produced a solid defense which is backed by their superstar goalkeeper Begovic, along with a strong attack lead by Jonathan Walters and Jones.
On the other hand, the Blues have enjoyed a good start to the year, with Demba Ba being a new addition to the team. He opened his Chelsea account in their FA Cup match against Southampton, with a double brace to lead his team to emphatic 5 – 1 win. Mistimed errors from the back four, especially Ivanovic resulted in the 0-2 loss to Swansea in the League Cup semi-final a couple days ago. Despite such road bumps, Rafael Benitez will be impressed with the way his team is performing. Statistically speaking, in their previous unbeaten run of 7 games, they have scored 22 goals. Rotation will be a likely move by the Blues to ensure a fresh set of 11 players are out there to get the job done.
Stoke City : The Potters are the lucky few teams to be associated with any fresh injury woes. Zero problems for the The Potters in terms of squad selection.
Chelsea : Goalkeeper Petr Cech and captain John Terry are yet to be given the green signal to play due to a groin injury and knee ligament damage respectively. Based on late fitness test before the game, Benitez will decide to his starting XI, keeping in mind that a few are at the moment fatigued.
Stoke City : Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Wilkinson, Whelan, Adam, Walters, Kightly, Nzonzi, Jones, Nash, Sorensen, Etherington, Whitehead, Jerome, Owen, Edu, Crouch.
Chelsea : Turnbull, Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Terry, Mikel, Ramires, Bertrand, Lampard, Ake, Clifford, Gordon, Hazard, Mata, Marin, Piazon, Torres
- In nine Premier League games against Chelsea, Stoke have never won and last beat them in the league in 1975.
- Stoke City are the only team in the Premier League not to have conceded a goal from outside the box this season.
- Asmir Begovic has kept nine clean sheets this season, more than any other goalkeeper.
- Demba Ba has scored four goals in four Premier League appearances against Stoke City.
Chelsea have the upper hand on paper. Depending on the defense and the occasional attack by Stoke City, we could for see a possible win for the Potters. Managers will get a sense of direction for the remaining season based on tomorrow’s match
Stoke City 2 – 2 Chelsea