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August 28, 2010 3:00 PM BST
Stamford Bridge — London
Referee:‬ M. Atkinson‎
Attendance:‬ 40931‎
77′ (PG) Didier Drogba

Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Stoke

By Alex Dimond

 FA Cup: Frank Lampard, Chelsea - Stoke City (Getty Images)
By Alex Dimond

Looking for another home run

After two 6-0 wins to start the season, how about a third for Chelsea? It's certainly not out of the question for the Premier League champions, especially as they romped to a 7-0 hammering last time they played host to Saturday's visitors, Stoke City.

On that occasion it was Salomon Kalou that was the hero, with a hat-trick that was nicely complimented by a brace from Frank Lampard and one apiece for Florent Malouda and Daniel Sturridge.

There is little to suggest similar proficiency in front of goal couldn't be the order of the day again on Saturday. Malouda, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba have already accounted for eight of the 12 league goals the Blues have notched so far this season, and all are likely to be deployed at the weekend.

Indeed, perhaps the only choice Ancelotti has to face is whether he rotates his starting eleven ahead of challenges to come. The likes of Kalou, Ferreira and even new signing Ramires could all be slotted into the lineup to rest other first-choice performers, but will the former AC Milan manager want to risk a change to the chemistry that has delivered such an impressive start to the campaign?

Once more into the breach

After a slow start to the season, Stamford Bridge is perhaps the absolute last place Tony Pulis would want to bring his side as they look to get off the mark.

Successive 2-1 defeats to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham have left the Potters stuck on zero this season, and now the head to west London on the back of two defeats last season (one in the FA Cup) where they shipped nine goals without scoring.

Pulis has worked hard to reinforce his attacking options over the summer, with the expensive acquisitions of Jon Walters and Kenwyne Jones, but that is likely to be of little aid at Stamford Bridge.

The former Gillingham manager will likely set out his side's stall to defend, and hope they can hold on for as long as possible against a force that is quickly beginning to look irresistible.



After a full week of training new signing Ramires might be ready to be included in his first matchday squad, although he is unlikely to start.

Jose Bosingwa remains the club's sole long-term injury concern, with Ancelotti free to choose from the rest of his options. Some mild rotation — perhaps seeing Kalou start — may be the Italian's only deviation from the norm.

Possible Starting XI: Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Essien, Lampard; Malouda, Kalou, Drogba.

Stoke City

Recent signings Jon Walters and Kenwyne Jones are both available, although Pulis might be more relieved to know that he has a full compliment of defenders to choose from.

Asmir Begovic's current dispute with the club is unlikely to lift him from the substitutes' bench, while Mamady Sidibe is a long-term concern.

Possible Starting XI: Sorensen; Collins, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham; Etherington, Whitehead, Wheland, Delap, Walters; Jones.

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
3Ashley ColeDefender
26John TerryDefender
20Paulo FerreiraDefender
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
-Michael EssienMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
11Didier DrogbaStriker
39Nicolas AnelkaStriker
15Florent MaloudaMidfielder
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
52Patrick van AanholtDefender
18Yuri ZhirkovMidfielder
8Salomon KalouStriker
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
25Abdoulaye FayeDefender
5Danny CollinsDefender
24Rory DelapMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
3Danny HigginbothamDefender
17Tuncay ŞanlıMidfielder
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
23Michael TongeMidfielder
10Ricardo FullerStriker
-Danny PughMidfielder
Players to Watch
Florent Malouda
Florent Malouda
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 15
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
All eleven of Chelsea's players could reasonably fill this spot (perhaps with the exception of Petr Cech) but perhaps Florent Malouda will be singled out for special attention by Tony Pulis.

The Frenchman has often been at the heart of the Blues' most impressive performances over the past year, and will once again look to cause havoc in the opposition box. If he fails, well, there's always Didier Drogba...
Thomas Sørensen
Thomas Sørensen
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 29
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
Thomas Sorensen will no doubt go into the game expecting to be worked hard. The last 'keeper to visit the Bridge, Scott Carson, gifted the Blues their first goal, and Sorensen will want to ensure he doesn't befall the same fate.

With backup Begovic currently at odds with the club, Pulis will want to see he doesn't need to be considered about his first-choice glovesman, too.

Probable Lineups
Petr Cech 1
Ashley Cole 3
Alex 33
John Terry 26
Paulo Ferreira 20
John Obi Mikel 12
Michael Essien 0
Frank Lampard 8
Didier Drogba 11
Nicolas Anelka 39
Florent Malouda 15
Thomas Sørensen 29
Robert Huth 4
Ryan Shawcross 17
Abdoulaye Faye 25
Danny Collins 5
Rory Delap 24
Dean Whitehead 18
Andy Wilkinson 28
Matthew Etherington 26
Jonathan Walters 19
Kenwyne Jones 9
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
15 2