Preview: Stoke City v Chelsea

Stoke City will aim to continue their positive run of form at home when they host rampant Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday.

Premier League
Date: 18 March 2017
Match Day 29
Kick-off: 17H00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Bet365 Stadium

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: A Nunn, R West
Fourth official: L Probert

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Stoke City 74 22 16 36
Chelsea 74 36 16 22

Previous encounter:

Chelsea 4-2 Stoke City 31/12/16 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorers: G. Cahill (34′), Willian (57′, 65′), D. Costa (85′)
Stoke City goalscorers: B. Martins (46′), P. Crouch (64′)

Players to watch:

Stoke may look to Marko Arnautovic and Joe Allen to provide the creative force for them. Both have bagged six goals so far this campaign, while pitching in with four assists a piece.

Chelsea have been driven forward by Diego Costa’s goalscoring ability this season. He has netted 18 goals in 30 appearances, and another against Stoke would see him reach 50 goals in the Premier League.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Potters are unbeaten in their last eight home Premier League games. Their last encounter in front of their own fans saw them beat Middlesbrough 2-0, before earning a point with a 0-0 draw at Manchester City in their most recent tie.

Speaking ahead of the game, Stoke manager Mark Hughes told a press conference: “We’ve caused them problems in the past, and we’re on the back of a really good performance against Man City, who are clearly one of the teams close to Chelsea’s level. We’ve shown that we can acquit ourselves strongly against these teams.”

The Blues are unbeaten in their last 11 fixtures across all competitions and have won four games on the trot, eliminating Manchester United from the FA Cup on Monday with a 1-0 result at home.

Manager Antonio Conte’s men enjoy a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League standings with 11 games left in the season, while Stoke are ninth, 30 points adrift.

Chelsea defender David Luiz told the club’s official website that Conte has urged his players to remain focused ahead of the Stoke clash as the season enters its most important stage.

“He’s doing a great job but didn’t finish yet and tells us we have to keep focus,” said Luiz.

Team news:

Stoke will miss defender Glen Johnson due to a shoulder injury, but Marko Arnautovic has recovered from illness in time for the clash. Mame Biram Diouf and Xherdan Shaqiri are available after doubts surrounding their fitness.

Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses is unlikely to feature against Stoke after he picked up, what seemed to be a calf strain against Manchester United. The rest of the squad should be ready for selection.

Comments