Friday, December 14, 2018

Chelsea vs Stoke City

Verdict: Chelsea to win to nil

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Chelsea will be looking at leapfrogging Manchester United into second place when they entertain Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday. We preview the clash from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea

It is now five matches unbeaten for Chelsea and their 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day took them within a point of second-placed Manchester United in the league. Antonio Conte’s men have kept clean sheets in their past three games and – even though the title race looks to be over – they’ll have their sights firmly set on finishing at least runners up to leaders Manchester City. The Blues are currently enjoying a six game winning streak at home and there’s still chance of salvaging something from the season as they’re through to the last 16 of the Champions League, the semi-finals of the League Cup and also have the FA Cup to compete in. Even though Chelsea should be confident of beating Stoke on Saturday, they haven’t scored too many goals at Stamford Bridge, with six sides bettering their record of 16 home strikes. With that in mind, we could be in for a low-scoring affair.

Team News

Andreas Christensen could return to the team after missing the win over Brighton due to illness, meaning Gary Cahill could drop to the bench.

David Luiz is still out due to a knee injury.

Stoke City

After an alarming run of form which saw Stoke suffer five defeats in six games, it is fair to say they have steadied the ship somewhat after a 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion was followed by a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town. This would have no doubt eased the pressure surrounding manager Mark Hughes but he’ll know how difficult it will be to snatch anything away at Chelsea on Saturday. Only Swansea City have picked up fewer points on the road this season and the Potters have the second worst away defensive record, conceding 22 goals. These frailties at the back won’t be helped by Ryan Shawcross’ injury which was picked up against Huddersfield and it looks like the defender could be out until after the New Year at the very least. This is a huge blow to Hughes’ plans and with Kurt Zouma unable to face his parent club, the Potters could be in for a very long afternoon against last season’s champions.

Team News

Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi will miss the match because of injury, while Kurt Zouma is ineligible to face his parent club.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have won 25 points from a possible 27 in their nine matches against Stoke City (W8 D1)
  • The Potters have lost 14 Premier League games against the Blues – more than they have against any other side in the competition
  • Chelsea haven’t lost their final game in a calendar year since 2011 (3-1 at home to Aston Villa)
  • Stoke haven’t won any of their last 16 Premier League matches in London (D6 L10)
  • The Blues have conceded just four goals in their last 11 league games, keeping seven clean sheets

Conclusion

When you combine Stoke’s terrible away record with the fact they have Shawcross injured and Zouma ineligible then it’s going to be difficult for them to get anything at Stamford Bridge. Comfortable home win.

Verdict: Chelsea to win to nil

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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