Chelsea will travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City for the second time in a month. The Potters will look to best the Blues again, while Mourinho’s men will look to build off of their midweek victory against Dynamo Kiev. However, they will have to do so without their manager, as he is serving a one-match stadium ban for his conduct of speaking out against match officials repeatedly throughout the campaign.
The Blues are without Falcao, Courtois and the Portuguese manager, while everyone else is available. Stoke recently beat the Blues in penalty kicks, during the Capital One Cup Round of 16 match. The Potters held out while being down a man, and Eden Hazard’s penalty miss gave Stoke a narrow victory.
Chelsea will do well to continue their winning ways on the road, and continue to focus on one match at a time. In order for this to occur, they will need certain players to step up.
Eden Hazard was dropped midweek in favor of Oscar, Willian and Fabregas. The Belgian was impactful off the bench, but will most likely regain his starting spot against the Potters on the road. Oscar should keep his place as the Brazilian has been great since being restored to the lineup, but will most likely come off the bench. Willian is currently immovable in the Chelsea squad as he is the Blues standout performer of the season.
Diego Costa needs to get his fierce mentality back and continue to bully defenses across the Premier League. Ever since serving his ban following his Arsenal showing, it seems as though the Spaniard has lost his teeth. His combative style coupled with his skill has allowed him to get under the skin of the best defenders and that’s exactly the mentality Chelsea need in order to turn around their season.
Overall, Chelsea need another strong performance in order to give them anything close to momentum. It’s the only thing that will help to turn around their season. Hopefully, whether or not they face adversity at the Britannia, the Blues will fight back as they did midweek. For once, Mourinho’s men failed to crumble when things went against them. That fighting spirit is what will revive their campaign. The only option for the West Londoners is to replicate their attitude and win their second match in a row.
Predicted Lineup: Begovic, Zouma, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Diego Costa.