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Sports

Match Preview: Stoke City v Chelsea

Saturday 18/March/2017 - 08:36 AM
Sada El Balad
Chelsea will face Saturday Stoke City in the 29th fixture of the English Premier League at Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent، Staffordshire، England، at 5pm Cairo time، BBC reported.

TEAM NEWS

Stoke defender Glen Johnson is absent with a shoulder problem but Marko Arnautovic should return after missing out in midweek because of illness.

Xherdan Shaqiri is back after a six-match absence، while Wilfried Bony، who was ineligible against Manchester City، is available.

Chelsea will assess a couple of unnamed injury doubts prior to Saturday's game.

Wing-back Victor Moses is expected to be available despite being substituted against Manchester United on Monday.

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Stoke manager Mark Hughes on the lack of job security: "We are all trying to develop clubs and players and to do that you need time - and unfortunately a lot of managers aren't getting that.

"This is my fourth season and it's the exception to the rule. It's getting more and more difficult، I would say.

"Sometimes players have a direct line to owners and that can be dangerous. Should you be asking players who are disenfranchised with the manager?

"We have got an ownership here who are very close to the players and will engage and interact with them، but that direct line isn't there and that is correct."

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte on the potential of one of his squad being named player of the season: "I hope that، at the end of the season، one of my players could be.

"It would mean we've won the league and، for me، it would be a great satisfaction to have one of my players winning this award.

"Until now it's important to be concentrated on the league and try and play game by game، to be focused. They are important but، if you don't win، they are not important."

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

Chelsea have only won two of their last seven games away to Stoke in all competitions.

However، the Potters have managed just two victories in 17 Premier League meetings (D3، L12).

Stoke City

Stoke are unbeaten in eight league home games (W4، D4). It's their best run since a 17-match streak in 2012، which ended with a 4-0 defeat by Chelsea.

They have conceded just two Premier League penalties this season، both of which came in August. Chelsea are the only side with a better record، having given away one spot-kick.

The Potters have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games.

Stoke have won just one of their 12 previous games against teams who began the match top of the Premier League (D2، L9) - that was a victory against Manchester City in December 2015.

All nine of Stoke's league wins this season have come against teams currently ranked 12th or lower.

Chelsea

The Blues have won 18 of their 20 Premier League matches this season against the teams currently outside the top five.

Chelsea's only defeat in their last 22 league and cup games came at Tottenham on 4 January (W19، D2).

The Blues have kept just two clean sheets in their last nine league games - having recorded 10 shut-outs in the previous 12 matches.

Chelsea have used the fewest players (21) and made the fewest changes to their starting line-up (24) this season in the Premier League.

Diego Costa's next Premier League goal will be his 50th in the competition.

Costa has scored in 54% of his Premier League games (43 of 79)، more than any other player to feature in at least 20 matches.

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