Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chelsea v Stoke City: Hughes eyes long-awaited Stamford Bridge win

SoccerNews in English Premier League 2 Apr 2015

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Mark Hughes is eager to celebrate signing a new contract by ending Stoke City’s long wait for an away win against his former club Chelsea on Saturday.

Stoke have lost their last eight games at Stamford Bridge and you have to go back to January 2009 to find the last time they scored at the home of the Premier League leaders.

The Staffordshire outfit have failed to hit the back of the net in seven visits since then and not since a 1-0 League Cup success back in 1995 have they secured an away win over Chelsea.

Stoke’s winless streak at Chelsea in league matches goes back to 1984 and Hughes, who last week agreed a three-year extension to his current deal, knows they are overdue a victory over the club where he spent three years in his playing days.

He said: “Our record there hasn’t been great, but I think that is the case for most teams. The last time the club got a positive outcome down there was in 1984, and I think my first-team coach (Eddie Niedzwiecki) was in goal that day. I’m not sure what that says about him to be honest. 

“We have acquitted ourselves well in big games on the road this season, and we want to go down to London and put in another good performance. It will be incredibly difficult because they have world-class players and they have an outstanding man in charge. 

“I don’t think they have been playing as well as they were at the start of the season, but they are still picking up positive results. They don’t have Europe to contend with now and maybe that will help them in their bid to lift the title.”

Back-to-back defeats against West Brom and Crystal Palace prior to the international break have left Stoke 10th in the top flight.

Chelsea have not lost in the Premier League since a 5-3 defeat at Tottenham on New Year’s Day and are six points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand over their rivals.

Jose Mourinho’s men are unbeaten at home in the league this season and moved a step closer to regaining the title by winning 3-2 at Hull City last time out.

Diego Costa injured a hamstring yet again in that victory and Mourinho will be hoping the Spain striker is available this weekend, but Loic Remy could get his chance after scoring the winner at the KC Stadium.

Midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee) will also be assessed after a month on the sidelines.

On-loan Stoke winger Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club, but Hughes expects Jonathan Walters (knock) and Marc Muniesa (hamstring) to be fit.

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