With ten points in the bag, Chelsea are sitting on the top of the table but it can all come crumbling down , as was seen last season. Despite a 2-2 draw against Juventus, Chelsea will be confident that they can walk away with 3 points against Stoke City, but it will not be easy.
Here’s my preferred formation
This is obviously quiet different from what RDM has fielded but this is what their movement should look like-
Our full backs will probably be Ashley Cole and Ivanovic but in my opinion Cesar has to start. This will give Ivanovic much needed rest and help us exploit the defensive vulnerabilities of Stoke City. Cahill on the other hand HAS to start as he will be needed at the back. Before Chelsea’s bus was invented , Stoke City were criticized for the way they played. Stoke’s strong point is that they score a majority of goals via headers. With Cahill and Terry at the back we can ensure a strong aerial defense, which Luiz cannot offer.
Mikel will also have to start, despite a poor game against Juventus, whereas Lampard can be rested for Ramires. Di Matteo might not do this but in my opinion Ramires and Romeu should start. Stoke might not exactly be “weak opposition” but this can be a good way to test the partnership of Ramires and Romeu. If Mikel does start, then he gives us one of the best defensive cover in the Premier League, he knows when to come back for his team-mates who make a run forward and against Stoke this can be very vital.
Upfront there is not much doubt. Our strongest midfield pairing is Mata, Oscar and Hazard. Oscar fresh of a brilliant debut might be given his first start in the Premier League but Di Matteo can consider using Ryan Bertrand on the left.
Torres and Sturridge is probably the toughest to decide. In 8 minutes against QPR, Sturridge showed us what he is capable of and against Stoke he should start. Torres has lost the spark which he started this season with and he can be rested. By resting Torres and Lampard , Di Matteo can send out a clear message to every player that no one’s spot in the squad is guaranteed .
Prediction – 3-0 to Chelsea. It should be comfortable but Stoke can be tricky hosts.
By Sherry . Follow @bluebloodSherry