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Premier League

  • 10 March 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: A. Marriner
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Chelsea - Stoke City Preview: Blues look to continue revival under Roberto Di Matteo

After their impressive 2-0 FA Cup replay win over Birmingham City, the home side will be hoping to improve their Premier League form and put the pressure on Arsenal in fourth


PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

Cech
Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole
Lampard, Ramires, Meireles
Sturridge, Drogba, Mata

STOKE CITY

Sorensen
Huth, Woodgate, Shawcross, Shotton
Whelan, Wilson, Whitehead, Etherington
Walters, Crouch


Having rested a number of their key players in the midweek FA Cup win over Birmingham City, Roberto Di Matteo is likely to restore a number of them to the starting line-up. Ashley Cole is doubtful with an ankle injury, but should recover in time but fellow full-back Jose Bosingwa is unlikely to return.

Captain John Terry has described his recovery from knee surgery as "incredible" and could take a place in the starting lineup here.

After their impressive 1-0 win over Norwich City in their last match, Tony Pulis is unlikely to make many changes to his side. However, Andy Wilkinson was taken off with a hamstring injury against the Canaries, and may not be risked in the centre of defence.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Chelsea’s Fernando Torres last scored on October 19 2011 against Genk in the Champions League, with his current barren spell standing at 23 matches in all competitions, and nearly 24 hours in total.
  • However, the Blues have lost just once at home in their last seven Premier League matches, when they were defeated 3-1 by Aston Villa on December 31 thanks to goals from Stephen Ireland, Stiliyan Petrov and Darren Bent.
  • Chelsea’s Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou (pictured right) have enjoyed a great deal of scoring success in the Premier League against Stoke City, with three goals apiece.
  • These two teams first met this season on the opening day, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium thanks to some resolute Stoke defending in a game of few clear chances.
  • Chelsea and have won all three of their previous encounters with Stoke at Stamford Bridge since the Potters' promotion, scoring 16 goals.
  • After a run of four straight defeats in January, Stoke’s form has improved thanks to two straight wins over Swansea City and Norwich City at the Britannia Stadium which have kept them in the top half of the table.
  • Like their hosts, Stoke have enjoyed success in the FA Cup this season, reaching the quarter-finals thanks to a 2-0 victory away to Crawley Town. The Potters will face Liverpool in yet another away tie, their fourth in four rounds.
  • Stoke’s Glenn Whelan recently became Stoke’s most-capped player of all-time in winning his 37th cap for the Republic of Ireland in a recent friendly against the Czech Republic. Whelan beat legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks’ record, who made 36 appearances for England while with the Potters.
  • Robert Huth began his career in English football with Chelsea, making his debut at the age of 17 in the 2001-02 season. In five years with the Blues, Huth made 42 appearances before moving to Middlesbrough and then on to Stoke.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
24Gary CahillDefender
26John TerryDefender
7RamiresMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
14Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
11Didier DrogbaStriker
8Salomon KalouStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
23David LuizDefender
-Michael EssienMidfielder
6Oriol RomeuMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker
8Juan MataStriker
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
15Salif DiaoDefender
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
10Ricardo FullerStriker
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
20Matthew UpsonDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
25Peter CrouchStriker
30Cameron JeromeStriker
Players to Watch
Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 15
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Having hit ten goals in all competitions this season, Sturridge has firmly established himself in Chelsea’s first team.

As he has shown for much of the Premier League season, his pace and direct running should cause real problems for Stoke’s defence.
Matthew Etherington
Matthew Etherington
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
After several years of struggle, Etherington seems to have found his role at the Britannia, and has gone some way to fulfilling his early potential.

On the left-hand side of midfield, his crosses are always dangerous and his finishing is incisive making him a key player for the Potters.
Prediction
Chelsea’s recent struggles have been well-documented but, with their 2-0 win against Birmingham, they should have regained some confidence under interim manager Roberto di Matteo.

With home advantage, and several first-team players rested, they should win this comfortably.
Editor's Prediction

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