Stoke vs Chelsea – Premier League preview and team news

Chelsea have the opportunity to restore their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League as they travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on mid-table Stoke City.

The home side will not be daunted by the title favourites, having raised their game against the bigger clubs this season, with Manchester City, Tottenham and most recently Arsenal all coming unstuck against the Potters, who have been magnificent on each occasion.

So Mark Hughes will be frustrated that his side lies in 13th place coming into this match, with inconsistent form preventing them from attaining a much loftier status. At least he has an array of striking options, with Peter Crouch netting the equaliser last time out at Crystal Palace.

The last two weeks have seen Chelsea return to form after their unbeaten run was ended by Newcastle United, but the pressure is now firmly on them going into the busy festive period, as Man City have now closed a gap which stood at eight points at the start of December.

And their last Premier League win over Hull City was not entirely convincing, and the match could have gone completely differently had Gary Cahill been sent off for diving. They have since gone on to reach the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup by beating Derby County, but it is the first time this season that the Blues are facing tough questions.

Stoke are boosted by the news that Bojan Krkic, Stephen Ireland and Marc Muniesa are all likely to be fit after recovering from recent injury concerns.

Thibaut Courtois is likely to be back in the Chelsea goal in place of Petr Cech, who deputised against Hull. Kurt Zouma is fit despite being stretchered off at Derby.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke v Chelsea

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