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Chelsea vs Stoke Preview: Dealing with Physicality

After three consecutive matches without a victory, it is about time Chelsea started winning once again. Of course, Roberto di Matteo’s men could have certainly taken a victory in either of the two matches against QPR and Juventus. Penalties and luck had deserted us in the last two matches.

Our opponents today, Stoke City, will be coming into the match still looking for the first win of the season. Yet, it should not hide the fact that matches against them have always been tough. Even with the addition of technical players like Michael Owen and Charlie Adam, it should not change a lot.

All the other title contenders like Manchester United and Manchester City will be playing only on Sunday, which gives Chelsea a great opportunity to go four points clear at the top of the table.

Roberto di Matteo is unlikely to use the midweek hero Oscar in this match after he was only recently taken off with what appeared to be a serious injury against Juventus. He has also confirmed in the pre-match press conference that Sturridge could also miss the match.

I would love to see Oscar used in the role behind Torres with Hazard and Mata supporting from the wide areas. It remains to be seen if Oscar will start his first Premier league match.

Here are some of the highlights from Roberto di Matteo’s pre-match press conference:

“Daniel Sturridge is better but not quite ready for tomorrow. Oscar has recovered. It was a spectacular debut and we hope to see it more often.

“Stoke haven’t been involved in a game this week, which we need to take into consideration. It’s always a difficult game against them and we have found it hard to break them down.

“We need to be more consistent throughout the whole game and completely focused. For long parts we did well, but we got punished for a couple of mistakes.”

Possible team line-ups:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Mata, Hazard, Ramires, Torres

Stoke City (4-5-1): Begović, Huth, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Adam, Kightly, Whelan, Wilson, N’Zonzi, Walters, Crouch

Prediction: Chelsea to win 3-0

Kick-off: Stamford Bridge, 15:00 (BST)