Jose Mourinho’s top placed Chelsea travels to Brittania Stadium on a cold, Monday night to square up against the 13th placed Stoke City in their own backyard.
Manchester City, with their recent run of good form, is sniffing right at our neck, with a similar number of points as Blues although, we do have a game in hand. Needless to say, a loss or even a draw against the Potters, and the pressure would be back on us.
Stoke is never a good place to travel for any top side. Moreso, on cold nights like these, with their direct, physical play, they can be a vey tough side to overcome against.
Fortunately for us our starting eleven had a good rest before this game, so fatigue shouldn’t be a factor when we line-up on the pitch tomorrow.
With Mourinho looking for a win before the Christmas break, this is how he is expected to lineup tomorrow:
GK – THIBAUT COURTOIS
The Belgian couldn’t take part in the last two games because of a side strain, but our No.1 goalkeeper is expected to be fit enough to start against the Potters tomorrow.
CB – JOHN TERRY and GARY CAHILL
Our usual CB pairing of Terry and Cahill should be good enough to control the likes of Peter Crouch and co. tomorrow. Cahill has been a bit shaky of late and the height of Crouch could prove a problem for the Englishman but with the likes of Zouma sniffing down his neck, the defender is expected to put up a good performance.
LB – CESAR AZPILICUETA
Filipe Luis has been really good at the LB spot in the last few games for Blues. But given the physical side of this fixture, Cesar Azpilicueta is the obvious choice over the Brazilian.
RB – BRANISLAV IVANOVIC
In a physical fixture like this, Ivanovic would be one of the first names on the team-sheet. He definitely starts tomorrow.
CM – NEMANJA MATIC and CESC FABREGAS
Now this is a tough one. Matic and Fab are obvious first choice at CM for Blues but given Mourinho’s preference of Mikel/Ramires in a physical away fixtures (see Man City), we could very well see one of those two along with Matic as Fab moves to the No. 10 position. Still, I would go with Matic and Fabregas here.
LW – EDEN HAZARD
No matter who we are up against, Hazard has this position locked down for years and years, hopefully. Sign the bloody contract Eden!
RW – WILLIAN
Andre Schurrle may have scored a goal against Derby, but this is precisely the fixture suitable for Willian. Running, tracking back, tackling, pressing, practically being all over the pitch is what Mourinho would expect from the Brazilian.
CAM – OSCAR
Mourinho dropped Oscar last time on the trip to Stoke citing he was not ready against that kind of physical play. I am hoping it’s not the case this time around though. Hopefully, he starts.
STRIKER – DIEGO COSTA
Diego costa vs Ryan Shawcross, bring it on! Hopefully, Costa rips him to shreds or more appropriately, have him sent off in the second half.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt