Chelsea’s unbeaten run continued this week as the Blues ousted the bottom side Norwich in thrilling fashion. The win has extended their unbeaten streak to twelve games and also saw them break into the top half of the table. But Chelsea’s impressive run will be tested when they host seventh-placed Stoke City on Saturday.
With just three points separating the both side, the Blues will be looking to win the tie and pile even more pressure on the clubs ahead of them. Stoke City fans are enjoying their club’s progress in English Premier League this season. Stoke City registered a hard fought 1-0 win against relegation side Newcastle United during the midweek fixture, the win was their third in a row and also saw them move to seventh place in the league with 42 points.
Even though Stoke City fans are ambitious enough to see them qualify for the Champions League next season, but they are just five points behind the fourth-placed Manchester City and they seriously have a chance at qualifying for the elite competition next year. The Staffordshire-based club will be looking to maintain their winning run against Chelsea and make their fans hopes come true.
Guus Hiddink will be in a serious dilemma to fill in a squad ahead of the Saturday clash as the Blues will be facing PSG in a span of four days for their Champions League Last 16 clash. Midfielders Willian and Mikel will return to the starting eleven on Saturday as they only both played the last thirty minutes of Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Norwich during the midweek. Striker Alexandre Pato was an unused sub in the midweek, but the Brazilian international will more likely replace Diego Costa in the strike on Saturday and make his long-awaited debut for the London-based club. Skipper John Terry will not be risked on Saturday due to their vital Champions League clash. Former Barcelona winger Pedro is still recovering from his hamstring problem and will not be a part of the fixture.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes will be in a tough position this weekend due to the injuries to key players in defense. Full-back Phil Bardsley was seen limping off the field during his team’s 1-0 win over Newcastle in the midweek, and England internationals Ryan Shawcross (knee) and Glen Johnson (back) will still remain on the sidelines. Former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam is still recovering from the calf injury and will not be a part of the squad.
Courtois (GK), Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Baba, Fabregas, Mikel, Hazard, Willian, Oscar and Pato.
Butland (GK), Muniesa, Cameron, Wollscheid, Pieters, Whelan, Imbula, Shaqiri, Afellay, Arunatovic and Bojan.
Chelsea 1 – 0 Stoke City