Stamford Bridge, London

28 August, 2010, 7:25 PM IST


Few clubs have started any season as disappointingly as Stoke City have started this season. If the twin losses to Wolverhampton and Tottenham haven’t given Tony Pulis a splitting migraine, the troubles courtesy a roster of injuries, a mutinous goalkeeper and a certain critical Frenchman will not be making things any easier for him. Things couldn’t have been better for his Italian counterpart who manages a Chelsea side currently on a roll.

The champions of last season, and favorites this time around too, are yet to drop a point this season – a feat unmatched by any of their opponents. While two games are too few to base the outcome of an entire season on, it is the manner in which Chelsea has swept past lesser sides that has the rest of the league sitting up and taking notice. The World Cup woes and fatigue have well and truly been brushed aside, and the Blues look like extending their impressive winning streak at home against a woefully unprepared Stoke City side.

Britannia Stadium Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur (1-2) Premier League 21/08/2010 Tony Pulis (Stoke) Manager Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

No love affair with that Frenchman

Arsene Wenger has done his image in Staffordshire no favors, by lambasting Stoke City for their alleged overtly physical style of play. The Frenchman, who is the pastmaster of delicate football, is aghast at the long-ball and hard-nosed tactics employed by Pulis’ men. The highly-publicised comments could not have come at a worse time for Stoke City, as the last thing they needed now was their on-field endeavors coming under the microscope. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that Stoke won’t be finding themselves at the receiving end of the referee’s generosity, on Saturday. Couple that with the 7-0 whipping they received at the hands of Chelsea, last season, and things dont look too bright.

By the sidelines

Carlo Ancelotti’s side is bustling with fit and raring-to-go stars, with Jose Bosingwa the only long-term casualty in Chelsea FC’s ranks. However, the Portuguese has resumed training and should be fighting for a place in a few weeks. Ivanovic, on the other hand, may not feature this weekend due to an injury. Stoke, on the other hand, will have to do without the services of the injured Mamady Sidibe, while Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence are expected to join Portsmouth. Asmir Begovic who is on the radar of several high-profile clubs, will probably be given the cold shoulder by Pulis even if he offers to play.

Pulis might consider himself very fortunate if Kenwyne Jones shakes off a knee niggle in time for the game, as he could do with a boost in offense. Jones’ presence, along with that of fellow newcomer Jon Walters, may not exactly bring a smile to Tony Pulis’ face, who can be expected to go in with a defensive setup to counter a rampaging Chelsea.

Possible Starting Line-Ups

Chelsea FC – Cech, Terry, Cole, Ferreira, Alex, Lampard, Ramires, Essien, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba.

Football Fans Know Better

Stoke City FC – Sorensen, Collins, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Wheland, Etherington, Delap, Whitehead, Walters, Jones.


Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League 14/08/2010  Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates his hat-trick Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Didier Drogba (Chelsea FC)
Having scored 3, and set up 4, of Chelsea’s last 12 goals, it would be foolish to bet against the powerful Ivorian making a huge impact. Stoke’s defense will have to bring their A-game if they are to withstand what will inevitably be a blistering assault from Chelsea’s spearhead.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION
Chelsea 4-1 Stoke City


  • B

    What makes

  • BLueFan

    What makes the author think that Chelsea will concede?

  • Well, 6-0 does not happen every other day, does it? :)

    Moreover, Ivanovic is not playing this game. It may make the defense a tad bit unsetttled.

  • A Blaugrana

    Who knows… I removed Shawcross and Sorensen from my fantasy XI only because of the blues… if the concede more than 3… my team’s screwed 😐

  • Not a Devil

    hahahaha…Lampard missed a penalty…
    ass….loving it.. 😉

  • BLueFan

    JT- Captain Leader Legend…
    wat a passs…..
    Mikel has been fabulous so far….Stoke ‘parking’ the bus

  • Howard Roark

    @ Not A Devil

    Frank Lampard has converted 27 out of 30 penalties that he has taken for CFC. Enough said.


  • Howard Roark

    Mikel was under pressure after the signing of Ramires; however, he decided to let his performances on the field do all the talking for him.

    Three good games in a row. Moreover, I feel we’ve a limited squad now so all three – No 5, 7 and 12 – will get regular game time.


  • Prithwish

    ‘Rugby Team’ were pretty good in the MF….negected the effect of Lamps & Essien. Mikel was just awesome. JT`s injury is a worry…its good that there is no PL football nxt week, Lamps also undergoing Hernia op this week…hope both of dem will back for West Ham game.

    Up The CHELS!!!!!