predictions-and-tips

Stoke vs Chelsea Match Preview and Betting Tips

March 14, 2017

- Grant Whittington

Monday’s FA Cup semi-final victory over a Manchester United side parking the proverbial bus will have prepared Antonio Conte’s side well for the weekend’s meeting with one of the Premier League’s least adventurous sides.

Saturday 18 March – bet365 Stadium – Premier League

Monday’s FA Cup semi-final victory over a Manchester United side parking the proverbial bus will have prepared Antonio Conte’s side well for the weekend’s meeting with one of the Premier League’s least adventurous sides.

Past Meetings

As of late Stoke City will be proud of their record against Chelsea, losing only one of their past four meetings with the Blues, although that loss came in the first instalment of the fixture this season.

However, Chelsea’s all-time record against the Potters is completely dominant, with 12 wins, three draws and two losses coming from the 17 fixtures, scoring 36 goals to 11.

Team News

With no injuries or suspensions, Antonio Conte has a full squad to choose from, which despite being thin and shallow has its benefits. Willian’s strong showing in the FA Cup semi-final will have given the former Juventus coach the good kind of selection headache, but it is likely Pedro Rodriguez will be preferred as Diego Costa suffered without his usual partner.

Although Conte’s team selections are as predictable as an Adam Sandler movie, they bring results and should take all three points on Saturday.

Stoke meanwhile look to welcome back Xherdan Shaqiri after the Swiss international recovered from a calf injury while Jack Butland recently returned to training after an ankle break. Marko Arnautovic could sit out with the flu.

Gianelli Imbula could start amid pressure from the Stoke fans dreading the sale of another star midfielder following Bojan’s transfer to Bundesliga, and the former Porto man is the home side’s best chance to ‘out-Kante’ N’Golo Kante. Whether Mark Hughes keeps his usual 4-2-3-1 system or not, expect a defensive game plan.

Stoke vs Chelsea Preview and Predictions

It is meetings like these that defy the belief that the Premier League is unpredictable, as no matter which way you look at it, a Chelsea win is inevitable. Manchester United couldn’t even force extra time with an ultra-defensive showing, Liverpool couldn’t throw them off with an all-out attack display and the Potters don’t have the quality of Tottenham Hotspur to put on an industrial masterclass.

Cesc Fabregas and Willian have both proven to have starting quality and Michy Batshuayi has yet to be afforded a real chance despite costing over £30 million, but why fix what isn’t broken? With no rotation needed and as Conte has never been one to show any mercy, expect an easy win for the away side.

The Blues are a best price of 8/13 despite being the away team, reflecting their superb season so far. Stoke are out to 11/2 even though they’re at home, and the draw is 31/10.

Recommended Bets

Diego Costa first goalscorer at 3/1

The Spain international endured a poor performance against Manchester United on Monday as he was a couple of yards late to every ball, but with the more direct Pedro likely to start on Saturday, expect the former Atletico man to be out to silence critics and reclaim his spot on top of the Premier League golden boot rankings.

Chelsea to win by three or more goals at 9/2

As if Chelsea’s end of season victory parade wasn’t already inevitable, Harry Kane’s possible season ending injury will have closest rivals’ Tottenham at an all-time low. If losing your star striker isn’t a knockout blow, watching the leaders ease their way past another match day will be, and that is exactly what is on Conte’s mind.

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