Chelsea came up short in their last Premier League game at home to Arsenal, but can they respond this weekend and get back to winning ways? The Blues didn’t look great in their draw at the Bridge with the Gunners, and the momentum they had previously built up evaporated pretty quickly in that game. Will they find it as difficult to break through Stoke this weekend? The Potters haven’t made the best of starts this season, and Mark Hughes will be worried that his side could suffer yet another loss when the champions roll into town this weekend.
Not only will Antonio Conte be thinking about this trip, but he also has to cast an eye forward to the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid shortly after. That’s going to be a critical fixture in their group, with the pair battling for a place in the last 16. Chelsea may have added to their squad, to ensure they have enough depth for this campaign, but the key thing now is getting their first team through two vital away trips in the coming days, with a win at Stoke needed first to keep their title hopes alive.
Team News: Blues expected to be back at full strength
After making plenty of changes for the League Cup clash with Nottingham Forest, the Blues are set to be back to full strength for this clash. Eden Hazard is a player we can see starting, after his slow comeback from injury saw him left on the bench for the Arsenal clash. However, Stoke away probably isn’t an ideal place for the Belgian to start, as he’s likely to be kicked around in 90 minutes at the Bet365 Stadium. Conte may choose to rest a couple ahead of the Champions League trip in midweek, but we struggle to see anything but the strongest possible side taking the field for this trip, after a mixed start in the Premier League from the Blues.
Stoke were also in EFL Cup action in midweek, but that’s not going to be a priority for them this term. While a side like Stoke should be pushing in that competition, they’re much more concerned with securing Premier League safety. They are likely to start in a 3-4-3 set-up this weekend, after using that formation away to Newcastle last week. The concern for Hughes is that teams who try and match the Blues man for man don’t always come off too well. Stoke are set to be without Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma, which weakens their three man defence.
Stoke lost 2-1 to Newcastle last weekend, which was just their second defeat of the season. That loss has left them sitting in mid-table in the early standings, with five points from a possible 15. Stoke have taken most of those points against top sides, but will they be able to add to their haul when Chelsea visit this weekend?
After a 1-0 win at home to Arsenal and a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, Stoke are in form against top sides at home. However, could they have just caught them at the right time? Hughes and his team lost at home to five of the top six last term, and that’s bound to worry them before the Blues pay a visit on Saturday. After conceding twice in their last to league games, Stoke shouldn’t put up too much resistance to Chelsea’s attack this weekend.
Stoke v Chelsea Head to Head
Chelsea have a pretty mixed record against Stoke overall, despite winning home and away last season. The Blues have won just three of their last six trips to this ground, with Stoke coming out on top in the other three. Will this be another victory for Mark Hughes and his side, or can Antonio Conte get his team through another difficult trip to the Bet365 stadium?
- Stoke 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2017
- Chelsea 4-2 Stoke, Dec 2016
- Chelsea 1-1 Stoke, Mar 2016
- Stoke 1-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
- Stoke 1-1 Chelsea, Oct 2015
- Both teams to score – 19/20 with Bet365
- Alvaro Morata to score any time – 21/20 with Coral
Chelsea head to Stoke as odds-on favourites to take the points this weekend. You can back the Blues at 8/13 with BetVictor on Saturday, despite their mixed record at this ground. Meanwhile, Stoke are 9/2 with Betfred to take the points this weekend, while the draw here can be backed at 14/5 with Ladbrokes. The champions need to get back to winning ways after their slip against Arsenal, but will they take maximum points against the Potters? With the Manchester clubs starting to pull away at the top, the Blues can’t afford to drop any more points if they’re going to retain their title this season.
The problem for Chelsea is that they’ve not looked defensively solid for a while now. All season there’s been some concern over their backline, and now David Luiz is suspended for the Blues, which leaves them a little short. Stoke have been scoring a few goals, while they hit three goals against the champions last term. We can see Stoke scoring here, after scoring against United and Arsenal in their home matches already this term. We’re backing both teams to score here at 19/20 with Bet365.
While Alvaro Morata didn’t score against Arsenal last weekend, the Spaniard still looked sharp. He’s already scored in three of his first five games, failing to find the net against Tottenham and Arsenal. He should find things easier against Stoke, and we’re expecting the Spanish international to grab a goal on Saturday. Given how poor Stoke have looked at the back in recent games, there should be a few opportunities for Morata and co this weekend. We’re tipping a goal for the Spaniard, who is priced at 21/20 with Coral to score at some point during the game.