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Premier League

  • 28 August 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 40931
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Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Stoke

Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Stoke

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.

TEAM NEWS

Chelsea

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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Players to watch

F. Malouda

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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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...

T. Sørensen

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

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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.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Chelsea

Stoke City

Wins
4
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
Draw
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City
91%

Top 3 Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
6 - 0
Stoke City FC STO
Chelsea FC CHE
4 - 0
Stoke City FC STO
Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 0
Stoke City FC STO

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