Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Match Preview: Chelsea FC v Stoke City


July 28 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Chelsea FC goalkeeper Petr Cech (1) during the first half of the 2012 World Football Challenge against AC Milan at SunLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Chelsea are coming off two straight disappointing losses coming into Saturday’s Premier League match against Stoke City. The Blues look to get their Premier League title challenge back on track at Stamford Bridge against the team that provided them a shock defeat in December which acted as a catalyst for a run of strong form, catapulting them to the top of the Premier League table.

Stoke City, meanwhile, stretched their season high winning streak to three games and their unbeaten streak to 5 with a 1-0 win against Hull City last weekend, as Chelsea suffered a horrible 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace that all but ended their chances at claiming the Premier League championship this season. The visitors will surely be hoping to continue Chelsea fans misery, but their record at Stamford Bridge is suspect; they’ve lost their last 7 matches in SW6 and failed to score in their last 6.

Chelsea will still be without midfielder Ramires as he finishes his 3 match ban the straight red card against Aston Villa earned him, and striker Samuel Eto’o will be questionable due to his hamstring injury sustained against Arsenal. Chelsea are hoping to get back into solid defensive form again following a poor showing against Champions League opponent Paris St-Germain at the midweek. Despite the poor match overall, I feel the lineup will be almost the same as it was for PSG, with the exception of Torres starting up front after a statement from manager Jose Mourinho that the Spaniard does have a future at Chelsea.

We will also see Matic returning to the central midfield, most likely as a partner to David Luiz. Matic is cup-tied for the Champions League due to his earlier involvement in the competition with Benefica prior to his transfer.

Chelsea currently sit 2nd in the Premier League table, 2 points behind Liverpool and Manchester City with 6 matches left in the season. City have 2 matches in hand over the Blues and seem to be the team to beat for the title this season.

Predicted Starting XI

————————Cech———————–
Azpilicueta—-Cahill—-Terry——Ivanovic
————-Matic———-Luiz———-
Hazard———-Oscar———–Willian——–
———————-Torres————————

Match Prediction:
2-0, with Chelsea winning a much needed game and tightening the defense up to continue Jose Mourinho’s undefeated streak at Stamford Bridge.

UTC!

Tags: Barclay's Premier League Chelsea FC Match Preview