Stoke City v Chelsea Betting Preview
Back Jose Mourinho’s men to continue their excellent track record against Stoke with a win
Any other season and you would’ve written off Stoke City’s chances without hesitation. But as they’re coming up against a Chelsea side in such poor form, I wouldn’t rule out their chances of stealing this one. The Potters sit one place above their opponents in the league table on 12 points after winning just three of their opening ten league games. That said, prior to losing 2-0 at home to newly-promoted Watford on Saturday, Stoke had won their last four in all competitions, and have only lost three times since August 15th.
So why are they struggling? Surprisingly, it’s their home form that’s let them down. Hughes’ men have picked up just four points at The Britannia Stadium – a fortress in years gone by – which won’t fill their supporters with much confidence heading into Tuesday’s encounter. Swiss maestro Xherdan Shaqiri has failed to live up to expectations since joining the club in the summer, whilst Bojan Krkic has only just returned from a long-term lay-off. Both will be expected to perform on Tuesday.
Geoff Cameron, who was substituted after nine minutes on Saturday, is Stoke’s only injury concern heading into the Capital One Cup tie.
Mourinho may claim his position is under no threat, but his side’s fifth defeat in ten league games at the weekend certainly hasn’t helped his case. Chelsea are now as close to the bottom of the table as they are to fifth-placed Leicester after losing 2-1 to West Ham United on Saturday, claiming just 11 points from a possible 30 in the league thus far. The West London club are in serious disarray; a defeat on Tuesday night and Chelsea can consider themselves in a state of crisis.
Very little has changed in terms of personnel at the club, however the players who sparkled in last season’s title-winning campaign, the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, have failed to reach those heights this time around. At the back, they’ve been equally shambolic. After conceding just 32 goals during the whole of last season, the Blues have let in 19 already – and we’re only two months into the campaign. No doubt Mark Hughes will be licking his lips ahead of this one.
Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic are both definite absentees with respective knee and hamstring injuries, whilst both Pedro and Loic Remy are unlikely to feature with knocks.
Form books have been little to go by this season, but it still doesn’t make good reading for Stoke. In the 16 meetings between the two sides since September 2008, Chelsea have won 13, including the last four, conceding eight goals. Stoke’s 3-2 win back in 2013 is their only triumph in the same period, and if they manage to take advantage of Chelsea’s major defensive weaknesses, there’s nothing to say they can’t put an end to their barren run on Tuesday.
But Chelsea will certainly be buoyed by their recent form against the Potters.
Correct score – 2-1 Chelsea 15/2
Although Stoke have struggled to find consistency in front of goal, you should bear in mind Chelsea’s defensive record thus far. After Saturday’s defeat at Upton Park, the Blues have now conceded two or more goals eight times in all competitions this season, so the opportunity is there for Mark Hughes’ men.
The market, as you can imagine, is difficult to call. I think the match will be close, and although I don’t expect Chelsea to keep a clean sheet, I think the quality within their ranks will prove enough to see off their opponents on Tuesday.
Odds of 15/2 should be considered.
To score at any time – Willian 9/2
The Brazilian has been the shining light in an otherwise dull and dismal Chelsea side this season. He’s found the net four times in all competitions and poses a serious threat from set pieces, especially free kicks. If there’s one player who could play a key role in sealing the victory for Mourinho’s side, it’s this man. Odds of 9/2 for Willian to score at any time are well worth taking.
Match Odds – Chelsea 8/15 (to qualify) EVENS (to win in 90 minutes)
Yes, they’re in an abysmal run of form, but this is Chelsea we’re talking about. Although they haven’t shown it as of yet, they have the ability to flick a switch and produce majestic, free-flowing football in the blink of an eye – all they need is belief (and a passionate, experienced manager on the side-line to push them to victory).
The away side are unsurprisingly favourites to qualify with odds of 8/15, however I would recommend backing them to win in normal time at Evens. Odds of 5/2 for the draw and the tie to go to extra time could also be worth considering. Taking into account Chelsea’s recent form, odds of 11/8 for Stoke to qualify are very attractive indeed and shouldn’t be discounted.
There’s always a shock on the cards when it comes to cup football, but my money is on Chelsea to win a place in the quarter-finals.
Anything else and it could well be bye-bye Mourinho.
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.