Chelsea will take on Stoke City for the 91st time in the club's history on Sunday, hosting the Potters with a trip to the 5th round of the competition on the line. They'll also be looking to avenge a 3-2 loss from earlier this season, as some awful set piece defending led to three dropped points when the Blues visited The Britannia.
Chelsea have a winning record against Stoke all-time, with 40 wins, 28 losses, and 21 draws in all competitions, They've been even better in recent years, having won ten, lost one, and drawn twice since the turn of the century.
Mourinho will likely name a strong squad for this one, as it has been a week since the club last played. A draw would also force the Blues to take part in a replay, and any extra contests when the fixture list is already crowded is something to avoid if at all possible. How Stoke approach the game will be interesting, as they aren't far clear of relegation at the moment and have a huge tie against Sunderland mid-week.
Stoke have been trying to play a bit differently since replacing Tony Pulis with Mark Hughes, but for the most part, they are still the same squad that we've seen for the past few seasons. They're a dangerous from set pieces and defend reasonably well, but other than that they're mostly terrible.
As is normal with Stoke, they'll likely defend deep and narrow, while attacking from wide. High crosses into the box will be the preferred method of attack, making John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, and Gary Cahill easy choices in defense. Nemanja Matic would also seem likely to be in the eleven, as he'd provide additional aerial ability in a deeper role.
Opponent: Stoke City, 14th, 22 pts, 22 GF, 36 GA, -14 GD
Date/Time: Sunday, January 25, 2014 at 15:30 GMT (10:30 am EST, 7:30 am PST, 21:00 IST)
Venue/Location: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Forecast: Rain. Wind. Somewhat mild January temperatures. Fun.
Chelsea FC Squad News: Jose Mourinho will have a somewhat smaller squad to choose from for this game, as he's got a few injuries and departures to deal with. Marco van Ginkel and Fernando Torres are out with injury, while Juan Mata and Michael Essien are no longer with the club. No deal has been finalized for Mohamed Salah of yet, though he may well be watching in the stadium.
Stoke City Squad News: Mark Hughes will have a decision to make in goal, as Asmir Begovic has returned from a broken finger. Andy Wilkinson, Matthew Etherington, and Robert Huth are all expected to miss the game due to injury.
Television/Streaming: In the UK, this one can be found on ITV1 and ITV HD. US fans can see it on FS2, FOX Deportes, and FS2Go. In India, Star Sports 2 HD and Star Sports 4 have you covered. Chelsea TV will have live audio, along with pre and post-match coverage. For all other listings, please check this link.
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