Chelsea travel to Stoke to face the club with the best home defensive record and the third-best in the Premier League so far; in fact, only Manchester City (19) and the Blues (19) have conceded fewer goals than the Potters (20).

The European champions are fourth in the league with 38 points. They are 14 points behind leaders United, although they do have a game in hand. The Potters, meanwhile, are 10th with 29 points and have UEFA Europa League football for next season in their sights.

Manchester City v Stoke City

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Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT. Live commentary is available on BBC Radio 5 live. Catch highlights on BBC One and BBC One HD at 1.25pm GMT.


Stoke are the only club still unbeaten at home in the Premier League, though half of the games have been draws.

The club has won five of 10 games played at the Britannia so far this year and conceded only seven times in those ten games. Expect Tony Pulis' side to be motivated to continue that defensive streak, particularly against a side that has scored seven times in the last two games.

Stoke's last league game was a 3-0 hammering by City at the Etihad but recent scalps for the Potters include Liverpool, who were humbled 3-1 by the host club at the Britannia. The defeat to City was the club's first since Norwich City beat them in early November; the phenomenal unbeaten run stretched to ten games before Robert Mancini ended the streak. The Potters come into this game on the back of a goalless draw away to Crystal Palace, in a midweek FA Cup third round match.

Demba Ba (L) and Fernando Torres

The European champions are in crisis, with owner Roman Abramovich reportedly fuming after back-to-back defeats in the Premier League and the Capital One Cup. The Blues were shocked 1-0 at home by relegation-threatened QPR. They recovered to hammer Southampton 5-1 in their FA Cup third round match but the midweek defeat to Swansea City, in the first leg of the Capital One Cup, means from a promising run in December, their season could be falling apart once more.

Chelsea have the joint-best defensive record in the league and have won six of ten games on the road. However, the fact they've conceded 11 goals on their travels may worry Benitez a little, particularly since conceding even once to Stoke has obvious problems.

Team Form

Stoke City

  • Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D L D W D
  • Last Match: Crystal Palace 0 - 0 Stoke City


  • Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L W L W W
  • Last Match: Chelsea 0 - 2 Swansea City
John Terry

Team News

Pulis has a near full-strength squad at his disposal, with only long-throw specialist Rory Delap (hernia) and Mark Wilson (broken leg) unavailable. Key players like Kenwyne Jones, Glenn Whelan and in-demand goalkeeper Asmir Begovic were all rested for the midweek trip to Selhurst Park and are likely to be recalled for this game.

Probable Line-Up: Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson; Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam; Kightly, Jones, Walters

Chelsea boss Benitez has some hard thinking to do after £50m Spanish striker Fernando Torres preceded new signing Demba Ba's explosive debut with what is rapidly becoming a trademark dull performance. The former Liverpool and Atletico Madrid striker is likely to be benched for the Senegalese forward for this game.

Meanwhile, captain John Terry (knee) may be in line for a first start in months after completing 45 minutes in a midweek reserves game. Midfielders John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are both unavailable as they have joined the Nigerian national squad for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech (groin) is still out injured and former Barcelona man Oriel Romeu (knee) is out for the rest of the season.

Probable Line-Up: Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; David Luiz, Lampard, Ramires; Marin, Mata, Hazard; Ba