Chelsea v Stoke City Betting Tips, Prediction & Preview
Premier League leaders Chelsea welcome a struggling Stoke City side to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, in a game that could go the same way the last 12 games have gone for the Blues. Chelsea haven’t dropped a point in the Premier League since September and face a Stoke City outfit enduring a winless run in recent weeks who have also been heavily beaten away to two elite clubs. Victory for the hosts could see them go nine points clear at the summit while Stoke are hoping to move into the top-half of the table if they can get a result at Stamford Bridge – a ground they’ve never won at in the Premier League. Chelsea find themselves top of the table with 46 points from 18 games, boasting a 12-game winning streak in the league. Antonio Conte’s side have gone from 8th in September to 1st in December and are now being backed for the title. The Londoners have unsurprisingly been formidable on home soil too, winning eight of their nine games at Stamford Bridge, which could make this weekend’s clash a foregone conclusion – especially given Stoke City’s dip in form. As for the away side, Stoke are struggling of late. The Potters are 13th in the league with 21 points, coming off the back of a four-game winless run ahead of their trip to the Bridge. City have managed just one win in their last four away games, suffering heavy defeats in their previous two outings on the road – Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City, Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City – and are likely to fall short to Chelsea as a result. Mark Hughes’ side do pose a threat with their physicality and versatility in playing styles but Chelsea have proven to be such a hard side to break down that a Stoke outfit short of goals of late are likely to struggle. Stoke City have scored one or fewer goals in six of their last eight Premier League games ahead of the Chelsea meeting which doesn’t bode well for their chances to breach the division’s best defence. The Potters haven’t been winning many of late either, securing just two victories in the league since October, and their record at Stamford Bridge is very one-sided. City did draw at Stamford Bridge in last season’s clash in London but have suffered defeat in the other seven head-to-heads since Stoke’s promotion in 2008. Mark Hughes’ men haven’t fared well against elite opposition in the Premier League this season either, suffering defeats to the likes of Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool. They have, in fact, picked up just two points to sides in the top seven of the table in 2016/17 so it’s hard to see them ending Chelsea’s 12-game winning run as a result. The Blues could run away with the title if they get a win over the Potters and their direct title rivals drop points. Stoke are only three points adrift of eighth-place so their situation is far from precarious. They might have to wait another week to get points on the board, however.