Sports Betting Weekly

Chelsea v Stoke City

When: Saturday, 04 April 2015 @ 23:30 (FINISHED)
Where: Stamford Bridge
After stuttering a bit in recent weeks, Chelsea will be hoping to rediscover some of their early season form on Saturday now that the international break has passed as former Blue, Mark Hughes, takes his Stoke City side to west London.

Six wins in 13 in all competitions is hardly appalling form – and the Blues’ exit from European competition was at least counterbalanced by winning the Capital One Cup – but it’s not quite the run Chelsea would have wanted to be on with the Premier League season lasting just nine more games.

That being said, Jose Mourinho’s men can go a whopping nine points clear of Manchester City in the title race if they defeat Stoke – with a game in hand to boot – while Manuel Pellegrini’s men will have to wait until Monday before playing their scheduled fixture against Crystal Palace.

Signs of complacency have started to become evident, however, and this is something not typically associated with a Mourinho side. After going 2-0 up against Hull, for example, it seemed as though Chelsea assumed the game was over, but they were pegged back by two goals in two minutes.

Credit has to go to Chelsea for digging in after finding themselves at 2-2 and going on to get the winner, but against a better side, that may not be so easy. This was shown against Paris Saint-Germain who, having played with 10 men for 90 minutes at the fortress that is Stamford Bridge, still managed to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals thanks to Thiago Silva’s extra time goal.

Stoke, meanwhile, have performed admirably this season – and win, lose or draw, the Potters will remain firmly in 10th position as they are currently five points clear of 11th placed Crystal Palace.

Hughes has seemingly learnt from his disastrous spell at Queens Park Rangers – where he essentially crippled the club and doomed them to relegation – and has Stoke playing a brand of football that has the Staffordshire club’s fan base delighted.

Following that dismal spell at Loftus Road, many Stoke fans were angry that a club icon such as Tony Pulis had been replaced by Hughes, with many fearing it would be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ as the supporters demanded a more attacking style of football.

So far, those fears have proved largely unfounded, but it looks unlikely that the Potters will be the first side to win a league match at Stamford Bridge this season. The bookies have backed Chelsea at 3/10 for victory, while Stoke are available at 14/1.

Diego Costa is a doubt after withdrawing from national duty with Spain due to a hamstring injury, so Loic Remy may end up taking his place – the Frenchman is being viewed as 9/2 to score first and 6/5 to score anytime. For Stoke, on the other hand, Peter Crouch recently equalled the Premier League record for total number of headed goals and is 6/1 to score anytime or 17/1 to break the deadlock.