Chelsea defeated Bournemouth on Boxing Day to extend their winning streak to 12 games and should be considered favorites to make it 13 when they face Stoke City next at Stamford Bridge.
The Potters were ripped apart by an in form Liverpool side at Anfield two days ago and will have to bounce back big time if they are to have any chance of earning anything against the Blues.
Antonio Conte was without the likes of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante against the Cherries but comfortably won the game 3-0.
The Spanish striker and the French midfielder were suspended for the game against Bournemouth and should get straight back into the starting XI vs Mark Hughes’ men.
Expect Kante to replace Cesc Fabregas in the center of the park and Costa should start as the lone center forward up front behind Willian and Hazard.
Here is Chelsea’s strongest possible 3-4-3 XI vs Stoke City.
Thierry Henry: This is the secret behind Chelsea’s success under Antonio Conte
THIERRY HENRY has hailed Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.
Chelsea currently lead the league after 18 games, with Conte’s men six points clear of Liverpool.
Manchester City and Arsenal occupy the other top-four spots.
The Blues are in stunning form under Conte and have won 12 league games on the spin.
And Henry is a big fan of the league leaders, claiming their defensive record is instrumental to their success.
“I just think at the moment, when you are in that run, things go your way all the time,” Henry told Sky Sports.
“You have to give them credit for the plan, the way they play and the structure.
“Whoever plays in that structure plays well all the time; Pedro, Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso.
“Yes, it is up to other teams to put on pressure, but they don’t concede goals, it’s vital.”
Chelsea send message to fans ahead of today’s game: They will love this
CHELSEA fans are being urged to get to Stamford Bridge early today – because the club are giving out freebees.
The club want supporters there at 1pm to take advantage of a special drink offer and giveaways.
They are also handing out posters to fans.
Chelsea face Stoke at the Bridge this afternoon (3pm).
A club statement read: “As a thank you for your loyal support throughout 2016, we are offering those at the game on Saturday a free bottle of Singha beer or bottle of water to enjoy beforehand.
“Supporters entering the turnstiles between 1pm and 1.45pm will be issued with a voucher which can then be exchanged for a bottle of Singha or a bottle of water at a kiosk inside the stadium.
“Please note, no vouchers will be accepted after 1.45pm.
“Our team of Game Makers will also be handing out commemorative posters to supporters arriving early.
“Stocks are limited so we advise you arrive early to avoid missing out.
“We will also be joined, one last time in 2016, by the Chelsea Brass Band.
“The band will march to the stadium from Fulham Broadway at 1.30pm before taking their usual position outside the West Stand until kick-off.
“It should be a great spectacle and we would love you to join us.”