So after the much hubbub of the international break, Premier League is back in action and Chelsea square off against Stoke City or the rugby boys as they are fondly known.
The match is Chelsea’s home fixture; and Stamford Bridge has been nothing less than a fortress for Chelsea. They have won 11 and drawn three matches and remain unbeaten at home this season. Another added advantage for the Blues is the reverse fixture at the Britannia Stadium, where Chelsea comfortably won 2-0.
So with 6 points lead and a game in hand Chelsea go in this intriguing fixture. The injury list includes midfielder John Obi Mikel and striker Diego Costa, who pulled a hamstring injury against Hull City and was subbed out. The possible starting lineup would be as follows.
GK: Thibaut Courtois
The Belgian has been in fine form and without any hesitations makes it to the starting XI. Courtois has been a total delight to watch and has pulled off some mind blowing saves that have won us several matches.
CB: John Terry and Gary Cahill
A total no-brainer. The duo has been tight at the back and made things anything but easy for the opposition attackers. Terry as always would be with the armband and Cahill makes into the team after some above average performances.
LB: Cesar Azpilicueta
The Spaniard has been clean at the back and has intersected some really dangerous crosses. Azpilicueta should be picked over Felipe Luis for the simple reason, that Stoke City’s wing is quick and might trouble Luis.
RB: Branislav Ivanovic
Undoubtedly, one of the best players for Chelsea this season. The Serbian has been scoring goals on will and providing some crucial assists. Apart from this, Ivanovic has been doing his defensive duties well. So, without any questions he is a starter for tomorrow’s match.
CM: Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas
The midfielders have paired really well and the duo has charmed with their passing game and ball control. A 4-2-3-1 formation might be employed with Matic occupying the defensive minded and Fabregas playing a floating role between midfielder and No. 10 position.
LW: Eden Hazard
Absolutely, no doubts on this picking. The winger has been the most integral part of this season for Chelsea and is the key link of every attack,, so the Belgian is surely to start against the Potters.
Willian has been the absolute powerhouse in the Blues squad and will be picked above the new man Juan Cuadrado. Some decent performances from Willian have earned him a confirm berth in the right wing.
The Brazilian is not in best of his form, but Mourinho will pick him ahead of his available options in the likes of Cuadrado and Ramires. A good performance from Oscar will do him a world of good and might water down the transfer rumors that are in full swing. Oscar will occupy the No. 10 spot and he desperately needs a good game, maybe this game against Stoke City will be the game changer for him.
ST: Loic Remy
Loic Remy proved to be the match-winner in the last game against Hull City. Also, Mourinho quoted that to Sky Sports that,
“Every time he plays, scoring or not scoring, he gives us everything he has to give. Sometimes it is movement, sometimes it is defensive contributions, sometimes he is scoring goals. This is a goal that means two extra points and I’m pleased for the boy, he is a fantastic kid.” – Source: Sky Sports
With such kind words from Mourinho one might expect to start and also have a feel that he is increasing his ranks and going into the good books of the manager.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire