After the international break, it’s back to Premier League action this weekend. With Manchester City not in action until Monday, would see the Blues open up a 9 point gap between them and the defending champions.
Chelsea could also have a new challenger by the time they kick-off as Arsenal goes head to head against Liverpool in a lunchtime tussle. Mourinho’s men will be looking to take another step closer to the Premier League title when they host Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Let’s analyze our opponents:
History of Stoke City:
Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, the club changed its name to Stoke City in 1925 after Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status. They are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Stoke played in the Premier League after winning promotion in 2008. Their first and to date, the only major trophy was won in the 1972 Football League Cup Final, when the team beat Chelsea 2–1. Stoke’s home ground is the Britannia Stadium. The club’s nickname is ‘The Potters’, named after the Stoke-on-Trent.
It has been another season of progress for the Potters under Mark Hughes. The Potters currently sit 10th in the table, on 42 points with eight games of the season remaining. They have however slipped during their last few games and have suffered a series of defensive injuries of late. Prior to the international break, Stoke City suffered a loss at home to Crystal Palace and were unable to break down a West Bromwich Albion side that was beautifully organized.
Recent form: LWWWLL
Mark Hughes has always preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation, with four defenders shielding the goalkeeper and two defensive midfielders who can attack whenever needed. The Potters are always a threat to any opposition being aggressive and pressing throughout the 90 minutes. Since Victor Moses would be ineligible to play against his parent club and with Bojan out, Hughes will have a difficult decision to make – who plays with Peter Crouch or Jonathan Walters in the attack.
Mark Hughes will welcome Phil Bardsley and Philipp Wollscheid back in the squad, dropping Marc Wilson and Geoff Cameron. Glenn Whelan would be restored in the center of the part. With Bojan, Moses and Peter Odemwingie missing, Jonathan Walters could be selected over Peter Crouch upfront.
Strength – Key Player
Charlie Adam: The Scottish International’s ability to supple dangerous deliveries from set-pieces will be something Mourinho’s men would have an eye on, with the Blues struggling in defending the set-pieces in few of the recent games. Against Crystal Palace, Charlie Adam created the most chances, won the most tackles and hurled 18 crosses into the box. Nemanja Matic will be the man in charge of Adam and the Serbian would have to be one step ahead of the Scottish International.
With Bojan, Moses and Peter Odemwingie missing out on Saturday’s tea-time action, the Potters have a problem in their attacking department. Peter Crouch is a threat with his famous headers during set-pieces, but without an attacking force there’s little he can do. Mark Hughes will be losing his attacking flair in Victor Moses, who has scored three goals and supplied five assists since the start of the season.
Head to Head:
Chelsea have won their last three matches against Stoke without conceding. Both sides have played against each other 86 times with Chelsea emerging victorious 43 times, leaving Stoke City with 24. Both these side have shared points on 19 occasions.
- Stoke have scored 97 goals away from home in Premier League history.
- Chelsea have won 10 and lost just 1 of the 13 Premier League meetings with Stoke.
- The Potters have not scored at Stamford Bridge since 2009, seven visits ago.
- They last won at Chelsea in a League Cup tie in 1996 and have not done so in the top flight since 1974.
Fatigue is set to play an important part for the Blues when they take on Stoke City. Chelsea supporters shall remember that Stoke has already knocked off Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this season and can be dangerous at their given day. Both teams are in need of a boost and the game promises to be a physical and enthralling battle.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire