Chelsea are about face the most crucial stage of their season as they play three vital games over the next 7 days’ time. They play Stoke tomorrow, then a Champions League tie against PSG will be followed by an FA Cup match against Everton.
One positive thing about this difficult run-in is their recent good form, which has seen the Blues win 4 of their last 6 matches. Incoming manager Guus Hiddink is still unbeaten in the league, but he will have a tough challenge against Stoke this weekend.
After suffering bak-to-back defeats, The Potters have found their early-season form and won 3 games in a row. In Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic and John Walters, Stoke have a strong attacking lineup with an equally capable defense.
Chelsea vs Stoke starting XI
Chelsea starting XI: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Baba, Mikel, Fabregas, Traore, Willian, Hazard, Costa
Stoke starting XI: Butland, Muniesa, Wollshied, Pieters, Wilson, Imbula, Whelan, Arnautovic, Shaqiri, Affellay, Walters
How teams will setup?
Like most of the other teams, Chelsea and Stoke like to operate with a 4-2-3-1 formation and depend on creativity from their three-man attack force behind their lead striker. Diego Costa and John Walters will be the men responsible to score goals for their sides in a tightly-fought contest.
Battle on the wings will be fascinating as both teams have destructive players in wide areas. In Shaqiri, Premier League has seen a wizard operate for the Potters while Willian has been Chelsea’s best player this season. Those two will have a huge say in the game this weekend.
Stoke’s defense is fragile at the moment with Glenn Johnson and Ryan Showcross missing from the team. As for Chelsea, John Terry is out of the game vs Stoke and Kenedy will face a late fitness test to see if he plays in the left back or Abdul Baba Rahman.
Chelsea vs Stoke Prediction
Both the teams are in good form lately and have got several players to win the games for them. Stopping Diego Costa will be the prime target for Stoke in order to strive for a win. I expect the game to be tight and tensed, and could even end in a score draw. Predicted Scoreline – Chelsea 2 Stoke 2.