Kurt Zouma

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Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 17 of its last 23 Premier League games
  • Alvaro Morata has 3 goals and 2 assists, all with his head
  • Stoke has lost just 1 of its past 7 home games vs defending champions

Eden Hazard is back and at full strength as Chelsea travels to the Britannia to take on Stoke City Saturday (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

With Hazard back and Diego Costa finally shed to Atletico Madrid, the Blues have positioned themselves to make a run at the Premier League’s top spot. Chelsea has not lost since their Opening Day misstep against Burnley, and despite firing a blank in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with the Gunners, Chelsea is still just three points off the top spot, and will look to put pressure on the Manchester clubs.

In addition to Hazard, the Blues also get Temoue Bakayoko and Pedro back in the lineup as well, although David Luiz is suspended after his late red card last weekend.

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League games

This season has been a roller coaster ride for Stoke City, having picked up four points against Arsenal and Manchester United, but also losing to Newcastle and Everton, plus a very disappointing defeat midweek to Bristol City in the Cup. The Potters are missing a host of defenders, with Geoff Cameron and Ryan Shawcross both injured, plus Kurt Zouma ineligible to face his parent club. Kevin Wimmer is also touch and go with a hamstring injury, not expected to be available.

What they’re saying

Mark Hughes on Chelsea’s discipline issues: “Chelsea at the moment look like they are getting yellow and red cards more frequently, but that might be just an anomaly, something happening in the moment. I don’t think it is prevalent in their team. They are just strong when they need to be. It is not going to be tactic we are going to irritate them with, to step over the line, because if I’m honest I don’t think I’ll have the players to do that.”

Antonio Conte on Stoke: “The most important thing for us is to go game by game. Tomorrow it will be a really tough game. We must prepare very well this game in all the situations, tactically, physically, to be disciplined. Stoke won against Arsenal and then drew against Manchester United. It means Stoke is a really good team.”

Prediction

Stoke City has given tough teams trouble, and could again if Maxim Chupo-Moting shows up at his best again, but it’s much more likely that Chelsea will ease by in this game. The Potters have fallen off slightly this season, and while their draw against Manchester United shows they pack some punch, it won’t be enough to see off a Chelsea side buoyed by the return of Eden Hazard. Chelsea could win their opening three Premier League away matches for the first time since 2009…their third away fixture of that campaign was a 2-1 victory at Stoke, so we’ll go for the same scoreline here.

League Cup: Foxes oust LFC; Stoke, Burnley upset (video)

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Leicester City turned to its favorite tactics to send Liverpool out of the League Cup, while Bristol City stunned struggling Stoke City as 11 matches dotted the English tournament landscape on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic up for major award ]


Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool

Both sides were decidedly second-string, and the Reds had plenty of control over the proceedings despite a lack of goals.

But substitute Shinji Okazaki scored in traffic after Vicente Iborra headed a corner kick his way, and the Foxes took a late lead.

And Okazaki cued up Islam Slimani for a wonderful 78th minute marker (see above) to ensure the result.

Bristol City 2-0 Stoke City

The Robins were flying at Ashton Gate, getting an opener in the 50th minute through Famara Diedhiou and a 60th minute insurance tally from Matt Taylor.

Stoke left some starters on the bench in Erik Pieters, Joe Allen, Jack Butland, and Jese, but had plenty of their best in the XI (Kurt Zouma, Eric Choupo-Moting, Darren Fletcher).

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Barnsley

Spurs had a hefty edge in shots and possession, but the visitors held firm against a decent side including Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele.

Fernando Llorente made his first Spurs start, but it was Dele who broke the Londoners through on the side’s 17th shot of the night.

Burnley 2-2 (3-5 PKs) Leeds United

Sean Dyche‘s Premier Leaguers were dismissed from the tournament by Thomas Christiansen’s high-flying Championship side.

It took penalty kicks, where Leeds GK Andy Lonergan stopped James Tarkowski to send the Clarets out of the Cup.

Hadi Sacko had an eye for the winner, assisted by Pablo Hernandez, but Chris Wood converted an 89th minute penalty to, seemingly, send the match to extra time.

Hernandez then scored a penalty of his own in stoppage time, only for Robbie Brady‘s free kick to equalize and again put the match on pace for extra time.

Elsewhere
Crystal Palace 1-0 Huddersfield Town
Aston Villa 0-2 Middlesbrough
Brentford 1-3 Norwich City
Bournemouth 1-0 (ET) Brighton
West Ham 3-0 Bolton
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 (ET) Bristol Rovers
Reading 0-2 Swansea City
Arsenal vs. Doncaster Rovers — Wednesday
Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest — Wednesday
Everton vs. Sunderland — Wednesday
Manchester United vs. Burton Albion — Wednesday
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City — Wednesday

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City: Three-straight for Magpies

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  • Atsu gives NUFC lead
  • Shaqiri equalizes
  • Lascelles nabs winner

Jamaal Lascelles scored late and Christian Atsu nabbed his first Premier League goal as Newcastle United held off Stoke City to win its third-straight with a 2-1 decision at St. James Park on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored for Stoke, and was the center of attention for much of the match.

Newcastle rises fourth for the time being with nine points, while Stoke sits 13th with four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rob Elliott intervened in the fifth minute as Stoke made its first dangerous charge into the Newcastle end.

While Stoke was in control, many American eyes were focused on DeAndre Yedlin as the right-sided man returned from injury. Deployed as a right back, he made a huge interception outside his 18, then fired an overlapping run alongside Matt Ritchie to find the ball in the Stoke end moments later.

And Newcastle scored on a counter, with Ritchie delivering the ball to Atsu.

Joselu didn’t realize the time he had with Chancel Mbemba‘s cross into the box, flicking a first-time effort wide of the far post against his former club.

Ritchie had a 31st minute free kick from the right, but his effort cruised into Butland’s arms.

Joselu had another crack at it in the 34th minute, but couldn’t push the effort beyond a sliding Butland. That turned into another free kick from the right, but Erik Pieters blocked the hard-hit cross.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Joselu continued his snakebitten day versus Stoke in the 46th minute when Atsu found him inside the 18 only to watch the Spaniard blaze over the bar.

Stoke leveled it up through Shaqiri, who had been remonstrating at the referee during the first half and carried that fire and the ball for a 58th minute strike that curled around Elliott.

Ayoze Perez had a goal ruled offside a minute later. And Atsu was denied a goal and the crowd a penalty when Kurt Zouma got the slightest of touches on an intervention before chopping down the attacker.

Newcastle reclaimed the lead through its captain, as Lascelles rose high for a corner to nod off Kevin Wimmer and into the net. It was 2-1 in the 70th.

Stoke City 2-2 Man United: Thriller in the Potteries

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  • Stoke unbeaten at home v United since 2013
  • Potters have 1 defeat in last 6 PL games v United
  • Choupo-Moting scores twice
  • United drop first points of season

Stoke City and Manchester United drew 2-2 in an entertaining clash at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Geoff Cameron injured ]

The Potters took the look through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting but United came roaring back with Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku scoring either side of half time to put them 2-1 up. However, Choupo-Moting nodded home to level things up once again and Stoke held on for a point against the Red Devils.

Jose Mourinho’s United remain top of the Premier League table and are unbeaten, but they only sit above Man City on goal difference. As for Stoke, they now have five points from their opening four games.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Early on United dominated possession but failed to create a decent chance as Stoke, in their solid 3-4-3 formation, looked to hit the Red Devils on the break.

The first big chance of the game arrived when Eric Bailly played a wonderful long ball forward which found Marcus Rashford who forced Jack Butland into a smart save at his near post.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke grew into the game as the first half wore on with Xherdan Shaqiri forcing David De Gea into two saves after the Potters grew in confidence.

The hosts weathered plenty of United attacks and then took the lead two minutes before half time. Mame Biram Diouf’s cross from the right was knocked home by Chopou-Moting and the Cameroon international scored his first goal for the Potters as United conceded for the first time this season. 1-0 to Stoke.

Stoke’s lead did not last for long with a corner from the left in the first minute of first half stoppage time flicked on by Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba‘s header hit Rashford on the back of the head and then went in. 1-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

USMNT star Geoff Cameron was subbed off at half time after suffering what looked like a hamstring injury and Stoke did not look comfortable at the back.

Lukaku raced clear after a fine through ball from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and after Butland saved his initial attempt brilliantly the Belgian tidied up to put United 2-1 up.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Less than six minutes later Stoke were level. First Jese forced David de Gea into a fine save but from the resulting corner Choupo-Moting rose above Phil Jones at the back post and nodded home his and Stoke’s second of the game. 2-2.

Game on.

Antonio Valencia surged forward and smashed a low effort just past the post as United pushed for a winner late on and Lukaku knocked an effort over after a fine cross from Anthony Martial.

Butland made one final superb stop in stoppage time as a corner for United caused havoc. The ball hit Kurt Zouma and bounced towards his own goal but Butland was their to claw the ball away as Stoke held on for a big point.

STREAM: Manchester United aims to stay top at Stoke (Lineups, Link)

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Manchester United brings its perfect start to Stoke City for a match-up with one of its legendary strikers in Potters boss Mark Hughes (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

[ LIVE: Stoke City-Man Utd ]

Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will look to keep up their hot play for United, while Romelu Lukaku again leads the line.

As for Stoke, USMNT man Geoff Cameron is in a back three with Kurt Zouma and Kevin Wimmer.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Cameron, Zouma, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Jese; Choupo-Moting. Subs: Grant, Berahino, Tymon, Martins Indi, Adam, Crouch, Ramadan.

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Darmian; Matic, Pogba, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Blind, Smalling, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Martial.