A team in desperate need of a win, Chelsea will travel to the Britannia Stadium hoping for a victory this weekend. They are coming into this game with a morale-boosting victory against Dynamo Kyiv on the back of their minds, and they would hope that form in Europe could find its way in the domestic competition as well. Jose Mourinho won’t be available to watch this crucial tie as he’ll be serving a one-match ban after losing his appeal on Friday.
Even though Chelsea have their problems, their hosts haven’t enjoyed a decent start to this Premier League Season. With just three wins in the opening 11 games, manager Mark Hughes is under pressure to get the best out of his team yet again. Stoke fortified their squad in the summer with a heavy-weight acquisition of Xherdan Shaqiri, but the Swiss has done nothing so far to alienate the fears of his manager.
Here are the team News of both sides.
Looking at the injury list of the hosts Stoke City and it fails to provide any reason for the dismal form of the Potters. Though they have five players on the sidelines, 3 of them are expected to return to the game against Chelsea.
Of the two players that have been already ruled out of this fixture, the absence of Muniesa would be a blow to the home side. The Spaniard has made five appearances for Stoke this Season, but a hamstring injury has erased his chances of featuring against Chelsea on Saturday.
Stoke City haven’t made the most of their available options on the pitch.
The absence of Muniesa means that the German Center-back Wollscheid will take his place in the Stoke lineup.
After the grueling opening two months of the Season when Chelsea players were falling like leaves, it appears now that the injury nightmare is finally fading away for the Blues. A significant boost for the Chelsea squad would be the return of Branislav Ivanovic, who has returned to training earlier this week.
While he has resumed training, this fixture has come too soon for the Serbian as he is still sometimes short for making a full comeback. Apart from the Serbian, none from the injured duo in Courtois and Falcao is expected to make an impact on this fixture.
Key Battle – Willian Vs Pieters
In the dying stages of their mid-week game against Dynamo where Chelsea were heading towards another frustrating result, it took some brilliant finishing by Willian to give Chelsea a much-needed breathing space in Europe. His performance will be crucial yet again on Saturday if Chelsea wants to end their current bad run of form.
Head to Head – Last five fixtures
Stoke 1-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 2-1 Stoke
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea 3-0 Stoke
Chelsea 1-0 Stoke
Butland – Johnson – Shawcross – Wollscheid – Pieters – Whelan – Adam – Shaqiri – Bojan – Arnautovic – Diouf
Begovic – Zouma – Terry – Azpilicueta – Cahill – Ramires – Matic – Willian – Hazard – Pedro – Costa