|English Premier League 2013-14|
||vs|| Stoke City
ScheduleSaturday, 5 April 2014 at 16:30 GMT / 17:30 UK / 22:00 IST
Jose Mourinho may well have said that Chelsea’s title chase is over, but that is far from the truth. Not only are they still very much in the race, they have more than a good chance of winning it. Of course, with Manchester City having 2 games in hand makes it difficult. But if this season has shown the fans anything, it is that things can change very quickly indeed. So, despite the loss to Crystal Palace, Chelsea need not be disheartened, and should ensure they get all 3 points against a Stoke City side that are aiming to finish in the top 10.
Mark Hughes has a great chance to make a mark in the Stoke City’s history if he can ensure that his side finishes inside the top 10 as it would be the first time the club would have achieved such a distinction in the Premier League. While they are not a swashbuckling, attacking side by any means, Hughes has certainly changed the long ball game that was so prevalent under Tony Pulis. While Pulis did make sure Stoke did not get relegated, it certainly did not do for good viewing and also did not do much in terms of finishing high in the league.
Both teams still have something to play for in the league, which would throw up an interesting contest. Stoke, having managed to beat Arsenal and seen Palace’s victory, would certainly fancy their chances against the London side. With both teams known more for their defensive efficiency, it could well turn out to be a battle of attrition, and whoever takes their chances would end up winning it. While there won’t be much in terms of entertainment, it will certainly be an absorbing contest. It will be interesting to see who comes up trumps.
Chelsea could see the return of Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o, but the chances of either of them starting the game are very slim. Van Ginkel is still out with a long term injury.
Stoke City are without Osama Assaidi, as well as the long term injury of Robert Huth. The chances of Assaidi starting the match against are slim to none.
With both teams not suffering too much in terms of first team choices, there would not be any excuses for either team to bring their best game to this match.
Head to Head
Chelsea and Stoke City have played each other a total of 85 games, with the London side holding a significant advantage with 42 wins. Stoke City have only managed to win 19 of their games, so history certainly favours Chelsea in this match.
Chelsea – LWLWW
Stoke City – WWWDW
Prediction – Chelsea 1-1 Stoke City
With Chelsea coming off the back of a demoralizing defeat to Crystal Palace, they would be a lot more cautious in this game, to avoid dropping any more points. This would certainly play into the hands of Stoke, who would be more than happy to sit back themselves, and try to break on the counter.