- Stoke beat Chelsea 3-2 at home last season
- The Blues will lose top spot if they lose by two or more
- Stoke have won one of their last five PL homes games, vs. Arsenal
Stoke City welcome league leaders Chelsea (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) to the Britannia Stadium on Monday.
[ WATCH LIVE: Stoke City vs. Chelsea, 3 p.m. ET ]
Mark Hughes’ men have had an inconsistent season but a win at home will push them into the top 10 for Christmas Day. As for Chelsea, they lost last season at the Britannia and defeat by two or more goals on Monday will mean Jose Mourinho’s boys will be knocked off top spot and Manchester City will replace them. This will be a clash of styles, as a pre-Christmas cracker awaits.
In team news Stoke’s playmaker Bojan is fit after shaking off a hip injury, while Marc Muniesa has recovered from a hamstring issue. Thibaut Courtois is likely to return for Chelsea, while Kurt Zouma and Didier Drogba are also fit after knocks against Derby County in the League Cup last week.
What they’re saying
USMNT defender Geoff Cameron speaking to PST about Chelsea: “It is a big test for us on Monday, playing against Chelsea who are top of the league and have shown everyone just how good they are this season. With the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa up top, they have a lot of good players but you can’t just focus on one. You have to focus on them all.”
Jose Mourinho on Mikel, team players: “The first time he [Mikel] played from the start in the Premier League was Newcastle and he was our best player. How can he be our best player if he didn’t play in three months? Because he was working every day at the top level. Sad, frustrated, not happy? Maybe. But professional – that’s what I expect from the players. It’s the concept of helping the team. Everybody has to be ready to sacrifice for the team, to give everything for the team, to think about the team and not to be selfish. This is the way I want a team to be.”
I fancy the Potters to be fired up and come flying out of the traps at Chelsea. The Britannia Stadium on a cold December evening is a place to behold. Chelsea may struggle to play their expansive soccer. I’m going for a 2-2 draw.