The Stoke City side welcome Antonio Conte and his boys to the Britannia Stadium this weekend as Chelsea travel after a stalemate with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
The Blues need the three points to stay close to the Manchester neighbours on top of the log just like Stoke City will be in confident mood at home after rupturing the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United in front of their home fans. However, both sides will embrace some tactical battles on the field of play as the players of both sides will aim to make it count their teams favour.
On this note we evaluate four players to watch at hostilities begins between Stoke and Chelsea.
The Belgian star will be available for selection as he returned against Qarabag SK in the UEFA champions League on Match Day 1. The Belgian was a second half substitute as he watched match proceedings just like Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez did in the clash at Stamford Bridge.
However, with Hazard handed a first start in the EFC Cup tie in midweek’s tie against Nottingham Forest, first time since his return from injury, he will surely be a candidate to spice up the match. His dynamism and close control on the ball coupled with his dribbling runs will be anticipated once again.
This will give Chelsea some sort of leverage going into the fixture against the resolute Stoke City side that is defensively compacted and organized.
The Swiss International would be an asset for his Stoke City side going into this fixture.
His ability on the ball will most likely complement the runs of Jese Rodriguez and Mame Biram Diouf in transition down the Chelsea area.
Chelsea may be missing the services of Brazilian ball playing defender David Luiz who was sent off due to a clumsy challenge against Arsenal on match Day 5 but the Chelsea defense will still be strong as ever.
The magical feet of Shaqiri will come handy in breaking down the Chelsea set up coupled with his cannon of a strike against Newcastle United last weekend.
The talented Spanish forward is likely to start against Stoke City despite Batshuayi showing brilliance with a hat-trick in Chelsea’s 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup.
However, the Spaniard seems to have won the confidence of his manager Antonio Conte following strings of good form that saw him combine superbly with other players in the side, and finding the nets on several occasions so far.
The forward might not be as physical as Batshuayi but his technicality and understanding of the game may offer him an edge to do the damage in attack against the home side Stoke City.
The Spanish talent that joined the Premier League outfit from Real Madrid, following stiff competition from top starts like Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo at the former club, will be in action barring injuries against Chelsea.
He will be a handful for the Chelsea defence that will be missing the services of the rock solid Brazilian defender David Luiz. Jese was a threat to Arsenal and he scored the only goal in their home against the Gunners last month.
The boss will expect him to do the same as Stoke entertain the visitors Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium.