Stoke City are the giant killers as they have shown every season. But the Blues defended the odds and claimed an away win here last season en route to the title despite the absence of Eden Hazard on that occasion.
At that time, Gary Cahill gave Chelsea the winner from a resultant corner-kick after impressive Brazilian midfield player William Borges bossed the game alongside midfield player Nemanja Matic and N’golo Kante. The Brazilian gave Chelsea the lead from a decent free-kick before the host equalized from the spot which was tucked away by Jonathan Walters.
This time, it promises to be an intriguing one as we take a look at the significant features ahead of the Stoke City vs Chelsea match.
The Stoke City side is known for their aerial duel football philosophy and tactic as instituted by former Stoke Manager Tony Pulis. The manager did a fine job as he tried to maximize the quality of players in his disposal from a strategic point of view.
The current Stoke City side might have added some quality to their squad in recent times which is due to the level of progress made by the club in recent times. This saw the acquisition of Barcelona and Real Madrid product in the person of Bojan Krkic and Jese Rodriguez respectively. Nevertheless, the Stoke platform never changed rather it was modernized to suit the influx of the attacking talent mention above in tandem with Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Blues must be ready for aerial battles from Stoke City as that is where the game may be lost or won in the tie as seen last season from a lot of set pieces situation between both teams in the Premier League.
Some Form of Physical Challenges:
The two sides harbour some form of sheer strength and physicality in their game as seen during the time of midfielder Sheyi Olofinjana and Steven Nzonzi (for Stoke City) and Didier Drogba and Michael Essien for Chelsea.
The aforementioned names may have departed both sides but there are still element of physicality in the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, N’golo Kante (for Chelsea) and Mame Biram Diouf (for Stoke City).
This will likely provoke a couple of fouls and physical side of the game as both sides will battle it out physically on 50.50 situations.
Quick Counter Attack:
The Blues are known for their strong coherent composition at the back and this makes the visitors comfortable on defending and hitting their opponent on the break.
With the talent in the Chelsea squad going forward with young lads like Kennedy and Charly Musonda, and thankfully due to the return of star man Eden Hazard, the visitors are good to go in transition.
This may inspire the Blues to defend extensive and hit Stoke City on the break as they attempt to curtail Stoke City’s long balls into the vital area.
Another Premier League Upset:
This is not going to be much of a surprise as we know that Stoke City’s home ground (Britannia Stadium) is a tough rennet visit in the Premier League.
If the Blues are beaten by the host Stoke City, then the host will have carved a niche for themselves at home, thus severing their territorial dominance or authority in front of their home fans.
This season, they have already beaten Arsenal 1-0 and have drawn 2-2 against the Red Devils at home. This goes to show how good and compact they can be at home as Chelsea visit this week.