Chelsea is set to take on Stoke City this weekend on Sunday, January 26th (7:30 AM Pacific, 15:30 GMT) in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has a mindset that every competition is of equal importance, and the FA Cup is no exception. Another advancement in the cup would keep hopes alive for winning both the cup and the league.
Chelsea is coming off of an important win against rivals Manchester United. The three points continued to keep the blues in title contention with only Arsenal and Manchester City ahead in the race. Against the red devils, Mourinho put out a strong starting eleven and will look to switch the lineup for the game against Stoke City to rest his star players.
The key player in this game will either Demba Ba or Samuel Eto’o, whichever one starts. The beginning of the season was accompanied by criticism attacking the little production of the strikers. Recently however, the tides seem to be turning.
The key battle to watch in this game is between Stoke front man Peter Crouch and Chelsea’s rock at the back, John Terry. Peter Crouch is looking to get back into form with only six goals this season, meanwhile, Terry and his inconsistent defense will be looking to hold a clean sheet. Crouch’s aerial skills and height will test his former England teammate’s strength and positioning and will provide for an epic battle in front of Cech’s goal.
Ashley Cole will surely get back into the lineup with fellow fullback Branislav Ivanovic out due to a knee injury. The England veteran has shown a lack of pace and drive up the wing in recent games, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to take back his left-back position.
Chelsea is in great form, winning their last six games in all competitions. I would not be surprised if it went to seven straight wins, especially with Stoke’s recent form of four losses in their last six.
Stoke City have had a poor run in front of goal, with only 22 goals in the Premier League, and their shaky defense giving away a total of 36 goals, making them one of the easiest teams to score against.
Center backs John Terry and Gary Cahill have made an excellent pairing in front of goal, while David Luiz has been placed into the holding midfielders role that was experimented with former boss Rafael Benitez last term.
A win against Stoke would move Mourinho’s incredible undefeated home record up to 71 games.
Whichever striker starts this game, it will be critical that they be given possession and distributed chances from Chelsea’s world class midfielders, including the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar.
Despite the success the team has encountered, both fans and Jose Mourinho have pointed out that there is still room for improvement. Owner Roman Abramovich views the team not only as a winning team, but it should also be an entertaining team.
Chelsea vs Stoke City Prediction
Chelsea has been on a strong run and will want to continue their side’s success. Stoke will attempt to get out of their bad form and will look to hold their opponents to a low scoring game. I predict that Stoke will immediately try to put as much pressure on the Chelsea half, but will concede and open the floodgates for Chelsea. I predict a final score of 3-0 to Chelsea.
Chelsea vs Stoke City TV Info
The match will be televised on Fox Sports 2 USA, and ITV 1 (UK).