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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.

Must-See Goal: Gustavo Bou

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Gustavo Bou had his ‘Welcome to MLS’ moment on Wednesday, and it didn’t even take an entire half in his league debut.

The Argentine, just a week after signing with the New England Revolution, announced himself to the home fans with an incredible golazo on the volley off a corner kick. The goal put the Revolution up 1-0 over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first half.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Bou joins MLS coming off a half season where he scored 10 goals in 16 games for Club Tijuana in Liga MX. He spent the Apertura, or fall half of the season with his former club in Argentina, Racing.

Watch the goal below.

Must-See Goal: Jozy Altidore

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If Jozy Altidore keeps up his current scoring pace, U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter will have no choice but to start him in the future.

[FOLLOW LIVE, MLS Wednesday]

For the second consecutive game since returning from the Gold Cup, Jozy Altidore found the back of the net, and once again it was in tremendous fashion. Taking a cross in from the right, Altidore realized his near-post run was too close to goal. Instead of controlling the pass or letting it by him, Altidore caressed the ball with the inside of his right heel, directing the ball past New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and in for a goal.

Altidore scored a brilliant free kick last week to help secure all three points. Toronto FC inside ten minutes is already on its way to another three.

Watch the goal below.

FOLLOW LIVE, MLS Wednesday: Atlanta, TFC, Red Bulls in action

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It’s an exciting four-game slate in some Wednesday MLS action, headlined by Toronto FC hosting the New York Red Bulls. Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore always seem to relish playing their old club, but it’s also a crucial game for the playoff picture

Toronto FC is right on the red line to make it into the playoffs, and three points tonight will go a long way to helping them make it there. The Red Bulls meanwhile can jump into second place with a win and will be just two points back from the first-place Philadelphia Union.

[ FOLLOW: Wednesday’s MLS action ]

Elsewhere, Atlanta United looks to rebound from a 2-1 defeat to the Seattle Sounders with a trip across the continent back home as Atlanta hosts the Houston Dynamo. Emerson Hyndman has earned the start for his new club while Brandon Vasquez starts ahead of MLS record signing Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez.

New addition Mo Adams also makes the bench for Atlanta.

Also tonight, the New England Revolution host the Vancouver Whitecaps, and new signing Gustavo Bou makes his first start for New England. In addition, the Chicago Fire host the Columbus Crew in a match between two struggling Midwest clubs.

Follow along with us at the link above and stay right here at PST for plenty of postgame analysis.

UCL Roundup: Celtic advances to second round

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Scottish Premier League champion Celtic advanced mostly with ease to the second round of UEFA Champions League qualifying.

In the first official home game of the season at Celtic Park, Celtic defeated FK Sarajevo, 2-1, advancing with a 5-2 aggregate victory. Manager Neil Lennon was able to rest some starters, including Craig Gordon, Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths as Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor scored for the hosts.

A second half turnover led to a wide-open Benjamin Tatar in the box, who finished to tie the score at 1-1 on the night. McGregor’s 76th minute smash from 30-yards out gave Celtic the lead again, which it held on to for the rest of the game.

With the win, Celtic advances to face Nõmme Kalju of Estonia, with matches set to take place July 23/24 and July 30/31.

Here’s a roundup of other UCL first round qualifying second leg scores.


Riga FC 0-0 Dundalk (4-5 on penalty kicks)

AIK 3-1 Ararat

Qarabag 2-0 Partizani

Rosenborg 4-0 Linfield

Ludogorets 2-3 Ferencvaros

CFR Cluj 3-1 Astana

Piast Gliwice 1-2 BATE Borisov

Maribor 2-0 Valur

Sutjeska 1-1 Slovan Bratislava