Premier League action this weekend again, and Chelsea travel to Stoke on Saturday afternoon, hoping to get back to winning ways after a goalless draw last Sunday against Arsenal.
After a 0-0 draw last weekend, Chelsea won in midweek in the Carabao Cup against Nottingham Forest. A rotated side easily beat the Championship side 5-1, with goals coming from Kenedy, Charly Musonda, and a hat-trick from Michy Batshuayi. Ethan Ampadu and Dujon Sterling, who are both 17 years of age, came off the bench in the fixture to make their debuts for the Blues.
Stoke were also in midweek action in the cup, but did not progress into the next round. The Potters were on the end of a 2-0 defeat to Championship side Bristol City. League-wise, Stoke currently sit in 13th place, and held Manchester United to a 2-2 draw in their last Premier League game.
For Antonio Conte’s side, there should be a full squad to pick from, with the exception of summer signing Danny Drinkwater who is still out for another couple of weeks with a calf injury. Eden Hazard, who made his first start in midweek, could make his first league start of the season on Saturday. Andreas Christensen will keep his place in the heart of the back three, with David Luiz still out suspended. Tiemoue Bakayoko is expected to be fit for the game, despite being involved in a car crash just outside Chelsea’s training ground on Thursday.
Stoke’s side will be weakened in this fixture, with Kurt Zouma ineligible to play against his parent club in the Premier League. Bruno Martins Indi is likely to make a start in the Stoke defence, replacing the Frenchman. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is in fine form for the home side, and scored twice against Manchester United last weekend, as Mark Hughes’ side ended Manchester United’s 100% start to the season.
Last season, Chelsea were winners away to Stoke in a tough fought fixture. A late Gary Cahill winner gave Chelsea all three points in the fixture from March. The Blues will have to play at their best to get a win at a tough place to win, and against a team that has beaten Arsenal and drawn with Manchester United already this season.