Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Chelsea

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  • Jose Mourinho will not be present
  • Chelsea sit one spot below Stoke
  • Stoke keeper Jack Butland leads the PL in saves

Chelsea looks to avoid a third-straight defeat in the league on Saturday when the Blues head north for a tough trip to Stoke City (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra). The last time Chelsea lost three consecutive Premier League matches was in 1999.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Jose Mourinho will not be at the Britannia on Saturday, as the Chelsea boss is serving a one-match stadium ban. With his assistants in charge, the Blues will look to earn a much needed win over Stoke City, the same team that eliminated the Blues from the League Cup ten days ago.

Stoke City will look to take advantage of Chelsea’s porous defense, as the Potters have struggled on the attack. Stoke has scored a league-low nine goals on the season, and have only tallied twice in their past four matches. In team news, United States international Geoff Cameron is fit to play after missing the past two games with a thigh injury.

[ MORE: JPW sits down with Stoke’s Geoff Cameron, Jack Butland and Bojan Krkic ]

What they’re saying

Stoke boss Mark Hughes on his focus: “What happens to Chelsea isn’t our priority – we only worry about ourselves. Whilst we’ll work to beat Chelsea, we know they’re a good side despite the fact that they’re getting a lot of criticism. I’ve said before that most top players and managers react to situations like that and at some point I’m sure their season will turn around. We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen tomorrow evening. Once the game starts that’s when our focus really narrows.”

Mourinho on not being at the match: “My assistants are completely free of that extra pressure which doesn’t belong to their jobs. I choose the team and I predict to the maximum I can the different aspects of the game and the different directions it can follow. I try to prepare the players and assistants even better than ever because it is only the way.”

Prediction

Neither team is in good form as of late, but this match means a lot more to Chelsea’s season, which is why I see them pulling through. A midweek win in the Champions League should give the Blues some added confidence, although it will be a close one. Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea.