Apr 4, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT
- Stoke City have not won four in a row since December 2011
- Chelsea have never lost at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League
- Lee Probert has issued by far the least yellow cards of any regular Premier League referee this year, with 21 in 15 matches
Looking strictly at form tables, you’d think Stoke City were the ones coming off the Champions League match and Chelsea are struggling to maintain their top-ten status.
The Potters enter Stamford Bridge winners of their last three and four of their last five, while Chelsea limp home from a 3-1 midweek Champions Loss to PSG with memories of their last league match as well, an embarassing loss to Crystal Palace.
Jose Mourinho has already ruled his Chelsea side out of the title race, and while it may be a bit early for that, the Blues will certainly need all three points at home Saturday at 12:30pm ET on NBC in order to maintain any lingering hopes in that regard.
With Mourinho leaving Fernando Torres out of the midweek starting lineup in favor of Andre Schurrle up front, it will be interesting to see if the Portuguese manager decides to renege on his Torres frustrations and play the Spaniard.
The man who scored Stoke’s late winner in the reverse fixture, Oussama Assaidi, is close to a return from a knee injury but will not be fit in time to get a chance at another wonder goal against the Blues.
What they’re saying:
Jose Mourinho on inconsistent Chelsea play – “I don’t know if tomorrow we are going to have a fantastic performance or not. Part of the stability of the top teams, of the teams full of people with experience, is exactly that stability. We are the team that during the season we have ups and downs. We have players that were not capable to keep a platform of stability in their performances. We had a few players with these ups and downs.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes – “If ever there was a right time to go to a club such as Chelsea, it is when you are going there as a team in form,” he said. “Our current form is arguably better than Chelsea’s. From our point of view it is certainly the best time to be going, but what you find with top clubs is they bounce back very quickly.”
While the form is clear for both sides, a club such as Chelsea rarely has prolonged stretches of difficulty, and this is still a side that thrashed Arsenal 6-0 not long ago. Stoke City will be a tough opponent, but the home side, backed by their fans, will edge it out with a late goal by a 2-1 scoreline as Oscar slices up the Stoke back line.
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