Chelsea Host Stoke City Preview

Chelsea see out 2017 with a Saturday 3pm home match against Stoke City. It is a match that concludes a run of 7 consecutive league matches against bottom half of the table opposition for The Blues. A defeat at West Ham and a goalless draw at Everton have interspersed 4 victories which have an aggregate score of 10-2. In other words, if Chelsea score they have won.

Antonio Conte tinkered with both his line up and formation for the 2 matches over the Christmas weekend and with one eye on the up coming trip to The Emirates stadium next Wednesday we can expect a few adjustments to his starting XI this time around.

Andreas Christensen may not be risked after missing out last time due to illness. Alvaro Morata who had returned from suspension, along with talisman Eden Hazard and the masterful N’Golo Kante were all substituted in the win over Brighton and the manager will surely include them all again in the hope that he can do the same as and when his side are in a commanding position against The Potters.

Mark Hughes’s side are currently having their least successful season under the Welshman’s guidance. So much so that there has been much discussion as to whether the manager will lose his job or not. A morale boosting victory last Saturday eased the pressure slightly and so Hughes picked the same players for the key tie away at Huddersfield on Boxing Day. They had their chances but it ended as a draw.

Similar to his Chelsea counterpart, the Stoke manager will have one eye on their next fixture when choosing his line up for this match, as they are due to host Newcastle, who are just 2 places below and 2 points behind them in the table. Hughes will deem it as a far better prospect for gaining another much needed 3 points as they try to move further clear of the relegation battle. However, his greatest concern may be his lack of options in defence with a number of injuries and also Kurt Zouma is unable to play against the club who loaned him out.

From a Chelsea perspective, this is another match which they will be looking to control from the outset and lay the platform for a comfortable win before heading into a mixture of tougher looking league fixtures and various cup ties.

Victory would complete the run against lower half sides with a tally of 16 points from a possible 21. An amount that would normally be made the league leaders. While it still lagging behind the incredible all conquering antics of Pep Guardiola’s side this time round, it has allowed Conte’s team to close in on second place and keep a cushion between them and the chasing pack behind them in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Written by Jon Ellis, Chelsea FC home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on twitter: @ClitheroeBlue
Chelsea Host Stoke City Preview Chelsea Host Stoke City Preview Reviewed by A Blue Up North on December 30, 2017 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.