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After being battered for 4 at Anfield, Mark Hughes Stoke City side will now face an even tougher test at the Stamford Bridge against a Chelsea side that have let in just 2 goals in the last 8 Premier League games. Antonio Conte, has been able to get the desired results from his side and has also found consistency in just his first season at the club but Stoke City are a decent side who will surely test them throughout the game. Pedro and Hazard were both on target in their recent victory over Bournemouth and Conte will hope that his side can keep up the good work for the last game of the year. Here is the preview of this game, along with the team news, predicted lineups, predictions and betting odds:
The League game between Chelsea and Stoke City will be played on Saturday the 31st of December at the Stamford Bridge in London. The kick-off is scheduled at 3:00 pm BST (8:30 pm IST).
John Terry and John Obi Mikel will both remain on the sidelines and will play no part in this game. The manager will welcome back the likes of Diego Costa and N Golo Kante into the first team after the duo serve their suspensions while Pedro picked up his 5th yellow in the previous game and will now be suspended for this game.
Expected Lineup (3-4-2-1):
Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Hazard; Costa
Stoke City have no new injuries to worry about ahead of this game against Chelsea. Marc Muniesa is still doubtful for this game while Xhedran Shaqiri is expected to start this game.
Expected Lineup (3-4-2-1):
Grant; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi; Pieters, Allen, Whelan, Imbula, Shaqiri, Diouf; Walters
Diego Costa vs Ryan Shawcross:
Shawcross did not look comfortable against a fluid Liverpool attack but he will have an even tougher job this weekend as he will be up against the top goal scorer in the league in Diego Costa. The Stoke City defender should keep Costa away if the Potters are to take anything from this game.
Jon Walters vs David Luiz:
Having scored the only goal in the defeat at Anfield, Walters, will want to have a greater impact on this game against Chelsea but he will be up against an in form David Luiz who has been almost impossible to beat this season. It is a battle that can decide the outcome of the game.
Chelsea didn’t win either game against Stoke City last season (D1 L1), the first time they had failed to beat them either home or away in a league campaign since 1974/75.
The Potters are winless in 11 league visits to Chelsea, last winning there 1-0 in April 1974.
Stoke have scored just three times in eight visits to Stamford Bridge, with goals from Rory Delap, Charlie Adam and Mame Biram Diouf.
Eden Hazard scored and assisted in Chelsea’s last Premier League win over Stoke (2-1 in April 2015).
Chelsea haven’t lost their final league game of a calendar year since 2011 (1-3 at home to Aston Villa).
Stoke City have ended the last two calendar years with a league victory – 2-0 v West Brom in 2014 and 4-3 at Everton in 2015.
Stoke City: 10/1
Chelsea have been close to invincible recently but they have at times shown weaknesses that were never really exploited. Stoke City have a decent squad who can do it, but they will have to be at their best to get anything from this game. Chelsea, surely, are favorites to take all three points and stay at the top of the table after the New Year.
Our Predictions: Chelsea 3-1 Stoke City.