Chelsea will make a second trip north of London in a week on Saturday; with the Blues heading to Stoke for the afternoon kick-off at The Britannia Stadium.
Chelsea triumphed 4-3 in the midweek match against Sunderland at the Stadium of light, but were made to work for it by Gus Poyet’s side. The Blues had to fight back from a goal down so as to preserve Mourinho’s superb record of never having lost a Premier League game in December.
Now they come up against a struggling Stoke side, who are currently deep in the early scrap to stay out of the relegation zone. The Potters played out a dour draw with Cardiff City in a game that served to highlight both sides’ form issues.
Chelsea Team News:
Defence: Jose Mourinho confirmed that Ashley Cole would play in one of the three early December games; and with Cesar Azpilicueta retaining the starting berth for the last two fixtures, Cole is in line to start this against Stoke.
The rest of the back-line should be unchanged, although David Luiz may be in line for a rare start, as Christmas rotation slowly comes into effect at the Bridge.
Midfield: With no new injury worries, Mourinho must decide on whether to reshuffle his attacking midfielders, or stick with the impressive triumvirate of the Sunderland game. My bet is that he makes just the one change, with Andre Schurrle coming in for Willian.
Lampard should play, but Mikel could replace Ramires, with the Brazilian in need of a rest.
Forward: Despite a second promising outing in a week for Demba Ba, I expect Fernando Torres to start up top once more.
Chelsea’s last 6 matches: WLDWWW
Prediction: 1-3 – Another win for the Blues is the most likely outcome here; but with a currently shaky defence, I expect Stoke to scrape at least one goal.
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