Match Preview: Stoke City vs Chelsea

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Chelsea are looking to get back to winning ways immediately after losing ground on Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Manchester United last weekend.

A 0-0 draw with Arsenal, which could well have been a loss, has seen a three-point gap build up between their title rivals, but will be confident of victory against Stoke on Saturday. The bigger issue right now regards discipline, as David Luiz became the third Chelsea player to see red in the space of five league games – as many sendings-off as their previous 73 games – while Victor Moses and Pedro were also dismissed in the FA Cup final and Community Shield. All-in-all it has been a mixed start to the campaign for the defending champions; initially putting their shock 3-2 opening-game defeat to Burnley behind them with three league wins on the spin – including a 2-1 triumph away to Tottenham Hotspur – but that stalemate with Arsenal has very much halted them in their tracks.

The Potters have beaten Chelsea just twice in Premier League history, and have lost six of their previous eight encounters including home and away last season. The Potters took eight games to surpass the five-point mark last season, however, having endured a torrid run of form that saw Hughes’s job called into question before slowly pulling away from danger. Stoke have also managed to find the net in seven of their last eight league games stretching back into last season, boosted by the free signing of Cameroon international Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who netted twice in that four-goal draw against United.

Antonio Conte, and Mark Hughes, rotated their squads for the EFL Cup in midweek, so expected a raft of more changes and Eden Hazard to be given his first league start of the campaign.

Match Details :

Date : Saturday, September 23.
Time : 15:00 BST / 19:30 IST
Venue : Bet365 Stadium.
TV Broadcast : Star Sports Select HD 2(India)
Live Streaming Link : www.Ronaldo7.net

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Team news :

Stoke City : Kurt Zouma is ineligible to face his parent club, but that is only the beginning of a mini defensive crisis for Mark Hughes. Both Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron are at risk of missing the game through injury, the latter almost certainly, so former Spurs man Kevin Wimmer could come in.

Chelsea : Antonio Conte has a defensive headache, of sorts, to solve with David Luiz suspended. Gary Cahill will return so it’s not all bad. Further up the field, Eden Hazard will likely start after playing the full 90 minutes, for the first time, on Wednesday. Pedro has been declared fit after having to withdraw at half-time against Arsenal

Predicted line-ups:

Stoke City starting XI: Butland; Wimmer, Shawcross, Martins Indi; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Jese; Choupo-Moting
Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard; Morata

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Head To Head Records :

Chelsea are unbeaten in 19 of their last 22 meetings with Stoke City in all competitions, most recently earning a 2-1 win when the two sides faced off in March to move 13 points clear at the league summit.

The Potters picked up a 1-0 victory on home soil the season prior, though, while also coming out on top on penalties when they met in the EFL Cup a month beforehand.

Overall, the West-London outfit have won 47 of their 109 encounters against City, with each of their defeats in this fixture since the turn of the century coming away from home.