|English Premier League 2014-15|
| Stoke City
ScheduleMonday, 22 December 2014 at 19:00 GMT / 19:00 UK / 00:30 IST
VenueBritannia Stadium (Stoke-on-Trent)
Next Monday, 22nd of December 2014, the league leaders Chelsea will travel to Staffordshire to measure forces with Stoke City at Britannia Stadium for round 17 of the English Premier League, on a match they need to win if they want to maintain their three-points lead advantage over Manchester City at the top of the table.
After the surprising defeat at St. James’ Park early this month, Chelsea managed to bounce back and returned to wins almost immediately. The defeat against Newcastle hasn’t left any open wounds on the London Blues and the team has won their three matches after it, one for the EPL, one for the UEFA Champions League and another one for the Capital One Cup that granted them a place on the competition’s semi-finals. José Mourinho has done his job brilliantly during the pre-season and so far he has been harvesting the benefits of what he sow. Chelsea are maybe ten times better than they were last season and the arrivals of Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa have definitely contributed for that improvement. Together with the newcomers, Mourinho’s tactical refinements brought the team together and more cohese when compared to last season and such improvements are blatantly obvious in Chelsea’s overall performances this season.
Next Monday’s clash will definitely be far from easy, mainly because the Blues will face a team that can go from rags to riches in the very same match and that fact could disturb José Mourinho’s boys. For the Britannia Stadium’s clash, the Portuguese manager will have all players at his disposal as there isn’t any name at the injury list by now.
As for Stoke, the Potters have been considerably inconsistent so far this season and, although they’ve already managed to defeat big teams such Manchester City, Arsenal and even the Spurs, they tend to fail miserably on other matches against teams with similar quality standards.
After defeating Arsenal at home two weeks ago, Stoke failed to grab anything better than a draw from their visit to Selhurst Park. Although the Potters have had plenty more ball possession, they failed to beat Crystal Palace and conceded their fourth draw of the season.
For the important clash against Chelsea, Mark Hughes will probably still not be able to rely on the contribution of Odemwingie, Sidwell, Moses and Teixeira, all sidelined due to injury.
Although Stoke are going through a positive moment, the league leaders, Chelsea, are firm favourites for the next Monday’s match as the Potters might not have what is needed to prevent Mourinho’s boys from snatching the three points.
Stats: W-1 L-3 D-1
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Stats: W-4 L-1 D-0
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Stoke City (4-2-3-1) – Begovic - Wilson - Shawcross - Bardsley - Pieters - Cameron - N’Zonzi - Krkic - Walters - Diouf - Crouch
Chelsea (4-3-3) – Courtois - Ivanovic - Terry - Cahill - Azpilicueta - Matic - Fàbregas - Óscar - Hazard - Willian - Diego Costa