Premier League: Chelsea vs Stoke City preview


Premier League leaders Chelsea will be looking to extend their 12-match winning streak when they face Stoke City on New Year's Eve at Stamford Bridge. It won't be an easy task for the Blues if we look at what happened last season, when they were unable to beat the Potters in three meetings. Stoke prevailed in the League Cup, then won 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium and eventually clinched a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in March. Before last season Chelsea had a four-match winning streak against Stoke.

Chelsea are rolling at full speed, they have won their last twelve league matches and have not conceded any goals in their last four games. On Boxing Day they secured a comfortable 3-0 victory at home over Bournemouth, keeping a six-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table. Diego Costa and N'Golo Kante will return from suspension, but Pedro will miss out after having collected five yellow cards so far this season. John Terry is still injured, while Jon Obi Mikel has a chance of playing if he recovers from a knock.

Stoke had a tough set of away matches lately, at Arsenal and Liverpool, and they lost both games, even though their standard of play was pretty good, at least in some portions of those games. Between those two defeats they had two home draws, so they have not won a match since the start of December. Marko Arnautovic is still suspended, while Stephen Ireland, Phil Bardsley, Jack Butland and Geoff Cameron remain on the injured list. Ibrahim Afellay made his return from injury on Boxing Day, so he will probably feature again.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: Courtois - Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill - Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso - Willian, Costa, Hazard

Stoke: Grant - Shawcross, Indi, Johnson - Diouf, Imbula, Whelan, Pieters - Allen, Shaqiri - Walters

My prediction: Chelsea to win 1-0.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Chelsea win - 1.25
Draw - 6.50
Stoke win - 14.00

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