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Can Chelsea do it on a cold, windy night in Stoke?


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Premier League leaders Chelsea head to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke in their second Monday Night Football of the season, with the game set to kick off at 8pm GMT.

The pressure is definitely on for the Londoners to restore their three-point lead at the top after Manchester City closed the gap with an easy 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace yesterday. With tough matches against West Ham, Southampton and Tottenham to come during the festive period, the Blues will be keen to get off to a good start at Stoke and not provide City any early festive cheer.

Which Stoke will turn up on Monday?

To say Mark Hughes' men have been inconsistent this campaign would be an understatement. The Potters currently sit in 13th and only four points above the bottom three, paying the price for failing to beat the likes of Aston Villa, Leicester, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers.

Bizarrely though, they have saved their best for the big boys. Stoke have beaten both Manchester City and Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium and White Hart Lane respectively while just over a fortnight ago, they hammered Arsenal on their own turf. The final result then may have been only 3-2 but the game was much more one-sided than the scoreline suggest as the Gunners only got back into the game because of the hosts' sloppiness.

To illustrate the point even further, of the 19 points Stoke have picked up this season, 16 of them have come against teams in the top half of the table (although admittedly, 3 were taken off versus Newcastle when they were in the bottom half).

Beware of the Spanish Messi

The mercurial Bojan Krkic has finally appeared to settle in the Premier League having netted two and assisted another in his six last matches. Granted, those numbers might not seem much but his performances have been encouraging. In his 4-2-3-1 system, Hughes has given the 24-year-old license to roam behind the lone striker, choosing various areas to hurt the opposition during the course of the 90 minutes.

Case in point would be the fixture against Arsene Wenger's side. Bojan ghosted in unmarked into the penalty area to tap home Jon Walters' cross for his goal and although his second was controversially ruled out after the break, he showed what he's capable of, cutting inside from the left, taking on defenders and shooting at goal.

It's unlikely the approach will be changed but Hughes might be tempted to stick the player against Branislav Ivanovic, who hasn't been the most solid of defenders in one-on-one situation especially against tricky and pacey players like Bojan himself. After all, the Welsh boss must have noticed half of the goals Chelsea conceded this term have come from Ivanovic's side.

Can Chelsea conquer Stoke on a cold, windy night?

That phrase been used thousands of times but with the Blues, the 'theory' will be put to the test tomorrow. Ever since Stoke were promoted to the top flight in 2008/09, only twice the two sides have met during the cold winter period - the two last seasons. The Potters won 3-2 last December but lost 4-0 in January 2013 (thanks Walters!), suggesting the Londoners may not necessarily like it at this particular time of the season at Stoke.

Team news


Bojan is set to be fit for the clash despite sustaining a hip injury in Stoke's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last Saturday while Marc Muniesa has recovered from his hamstring problem. Hughes also expects Stephen Ireland to be available even though he picked up a knee injury.

Provisional squad: Begovic, Butland, Shawcross, Wilson, Huth, Pieters, Cameron, Bardsley, Muniesa, Nzonzi, Adam, Ireland, Whelan, Walters, Arnautovic, Bojan, Assaidi, Diouf, Crouch.


Thibaut Courtois, who missed the last two matches with muscular injury, is expected to be available while Didier Drogba and Kurt Zouma should be ready after sustaining respective injuries in the Capital One Cup.

Provisional squad: Courtois, Cech, Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Luis, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Terry, Fabregas, Mikel, Matic, Hazard, Ramires, Matic, Schurrle, Oscar, Salah, Willian, Drogba, Remy, Costa.

Stats and Facts

1. Mark Hughes has won two and lost none of his last four matches as a manager in home games against Chelsea.

2. Stoke have conceded a goal in each of their last 10 Premier League games; the longest run without a clean sheet in the competition this season.

3. 38.5 per cent of Chelsea’s throw-ins this season have been long – a higher proportion than any other Premier League side (Stoke are fifth on 32.8 per cent).

4. Chelsea have lost only one of their last 19 Premier League games played on a Monday (W11 D7 L1).

5. Stoke City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games played on a Monday (W2 D4), including a 1-0 win over Newcastle at home earlier this season.

6. Hazard has not scored a league goal away from home since Jan 11th 2014, with his last 11 goals in the competition all coming at Stamford Bridge.

Match odds

Stoke win: 5/1

Draw: 14/5

Chelsea win: 8/13

Match Coverage

Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:

United Kingdom: Sky Sports 1/HD

United States: NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra

Middle East: beIN Sports

Belgium: Be Sport 1, Sporting 1

India: Star Sports 4 Asia, Star Sports HD 2 India

For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here.

There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.

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Its going to be a bit windy, but not cold, quite mild.

So 3 points for us.

Don't spoil the intention, FB! :rant:

Btw, was the last away league goal vs Hull?

Yes, all the way back in January.

Stopped reading after the lame title. Really, Jason?!

Sorry, couldn't help it. :lol:

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