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FA Cup

  • January 26, 2014
  • • 10:30 AM
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 40845

FA Cup Preview: Chelsea - Stoke City

FA Cup Preview: Chelsea - Stoke City

Mark Hughes guided Stoke to a 3-2 win over the Premier League title challengers in December but the visitors to Stamford Bridge have not won away from home since Aug. 31.

Chelsea has already lost to Stoke City this season and Jose Mourinho is braced for another tough test against Mark Hughes' side Sunday.

Oussama Assaidi's late goal gave Stoke a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Premier League title contenders at the Britannia Stadium in December. Chelsea has the opportunity to gain revenge for that defeat when Stoke visit this weekend for an FA Cup fourth-round tie.

When asked what he expects from Stoke, Mourinho replied: "We lost to them one month ago. They are a difficult team. Very physical, very direct.

"They're very strong in set pieces. I expect a very difficult match [and] that's why I'm going to play a strong team. I'm not going to make big changes in the team because we're going to try and go as far as possible in the competition."

One player who will not feature for the hosts is midfielder Juan Mata, who has joined Manchester United after the Premier League champions agreed to a club-record fee with Chelsea on Friday.

Chelsea will also be without striker Fernando Torres after he suffered a knee injury in the victory over United last weekend, meaning Demba Ba is in line to start.

Frank Lampard could also return to the starting lineup after being named among the substitutes for the United game following an injury layoff.

Chelsea has been in fine form in recent weeks, winning its last six games in all competitions and conceding only two goals in the process.

Stoke's victory over Chelsea last month was its first against the Stamford Bridge outfit since 1995, when a goal from Paul Peschisolido secured a 1-0 win.

It would be a major surprise if Stoke won this weekend, as Hughes' men have claimed just one away victory in the top flight this season, against struggling West Ham in August.

Stoke has also been beaten in each of its visits to Chelsea since gaining promotion to the top flight in 2008, scoring only one goal across five league meetings and one FA Cup tie.

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic could return at the expense of Jack Butland after a month on the sidelines due to a broken finger. Hughes will check on John Guidetti after the on-loan striker reported to training Friday feeling unwell.

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Reader's Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City

Top 3 Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 0
Stoke City FC STO
Chelsea FC CHE
2 - 0
Stoke City FC STO
Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 1
Stoke City FC STO