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Stoke City vs. Chelsea, Premier League: Time, TV schedule, live stream, preview

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Chelsea look for a third successive away victory

Chelsea’s last visit to Stoke was one of the emotional highs of last season as Gary Cahill scored a near-last minute winner after giving away the penalty for a first-half equalizer to one-time Chelsea legend Jonny Walters. Walters has probably balanced out his cosmic karma from that two-own goal (and a missed penalty)-game with Burnley’s 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.

But back to Stoke, who have yet to win in four tries away from the Britannia (or whatever betting company it’s sponsored by at the minute) but have yet to lose in three tries at home, including a win over Arsenal and a draw with Manchester United. Their attack can look potent, certainly on paper at least, and their defence, while no longer Pulisian, especially in its current depleted state, will be backed by one of the better home field advantages in the league (though the cold and the rain might stay away).

Chelsea have had a few memorable games at Stoke in recent years — be that the aformentioned shenanigans of Walters (2012-13) or Cahill (2016-17), or Hazard’s thunderbolt (2012-13), or shock defeats in 2013 (Assaidi goal) and twice in 2015 (in the league and the League Cup) — but a nice, straightforward three points would be even lovelier.

Date / Time: Saturday, September 23, 15:00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST

Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England

Referee: Mike Dean — A familiar name with no less than 63 Chelsea matches under his belt, Dean was the man in charge of the last game I’ve got to witness in person, the 2-1 home win over Manchester City in early April — the only reason for that framing device is thanks to our friends at London is Blue Podcast, who are putting together another trip and that’s got me hankering for some London feels as well.

Forecast: Light winds and maybe even a bit of warm sunshine.

On TV: none (UK); CNBC (USA); Star Sports Select 2; elsewhere

Streaming online: NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo En Vivo Extra (USA); Hotstar (India)

Stoke City team news: This is Stoke’s tenth consecutive season in the top flight and they’ve finished between 9th and 14th in each of them. Last season’s 13th was a bit of a disappointment after three consecutive 9th places (top half!), though the response to that in the summer’s transfer market wasn’t overwhelming emphatic.

They jettisoned oldies like Walters, Phil Bardsley, and Glen Whelan, loaned out Bojan, Imbula, and Muniesa, and also cashed in on Marko Arnatutović, who, as ever, had been equal measures of frustrating and brilliant. In came Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma (who’s thus ineligible today) and PSG loanee Jesé (who’s lost his way a bit since impressing for Real Madrid a few years ago as a 20-year-old). Premier League veteran Darren Fletcher arrived on a free transfer, as did FM 2007 legend Eric Choupo-Moting. Defenders Kevin Wimmer and Bruno Martins Indi (who was already there on loan) cost a combined £25m, if you can believe that.

Stoke still have Charlie Adam, but he’s only played in the League Cup so far. Fellow Stoke RFC standout Ryan Shawcross is injured.

Chelsea team news: Everyone except Danny Drinkwater is fit. Everyone except Danny Drinkwater and David Luiz is available. That includes Tiemoué Bakayoko, who was involved in a minor automobile accident earlier this week, Pedro, who picked up an ankle knock last weekend, and Eden Hazard, who completed 90 minutes on Wednesday in his first start of the season for Chelsea.

Chelsea are unbeaten since the first 45 minutes of the season — we’ve conceded as many goals in the six games since as in that one shocking half to Burnley — and will be looking for a third consecutive away win here in the early going. The Blues head into the weekend in third position, three points behind the two Manchester teams who are neck-to-neck at the top.

Projected lineup (3-4-3):
Courtois | Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Fàbregas, Moses | Pedro, Morata, Willian

Though Conte has a multitude of options in how he can play this one, with Hazard and Bakayoko and Rüdiger all in with a chance to start in either a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation.

Previously: We don’t see the classic Eden Hazard left-footed piledriver much these days, so let’s re-live the best example of it one more time, with him still in the no.17 shirt.