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Stoke vs. Chelsea

Britannia Stadium



Stoke v Chelsea Preview

After the carnage of our 2-0 home defeat, to Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday evening, it`s back to the grind that is the Premier League. This Saturday Chelsea face a difficult trip to the Britannia Stadium to face a Stoke City team, managed by Tony Pulis, that are extremely difficult to score against, let alone beat, on their own patch. With our Premier League title ambitions becoming just a distant dream, Rafa Benitez will be perfectly aware that three points are desperately needed to bolster our Champions League qualification hopes for next season.

Vital Quotes:

In a way it`s probably better that we are on the road this weekend, the sudden drop off in our home form, with the increasing pressure on Rafa Benitez, from the home crowd, isn`t reflected on the road with Chelsea picking up 6 wins out of the last 7 fixtures.

Speaking about the problem that playing at home has become, our central defender Gary Cahill has remarked, to the media,

"Normally we are unbelievably hard to beat at Stamford Bridge and we have been getting results."

"We just have to be consistent in what we are doing. Sometimes we are playing fantastic stuff like against Southampton and Everton - but then we chuck it away against QPR and now Swansea."

Three points, up in the Potteries, will be very welcome.

Stoke Team News:

Tony Pulis, continuing to over-achieve with Stoke, has no fresh injury worries going into this intriguing clash.

With regards to his starting eleven, Manchester United target, Asmir Begovic will return to the keepers role whilst there may also be room in the starting eleven for the dangerous Kenwynne Jones.

Player to watch: Peter Crouch

Ideally suited to the Stoke way of playing, all elbows, arms and legs, Crouch will be a handful for the Chelsea defence. Let`s hope the former international won`t upset his Chelsea supporting dad by getting on the score-sheet.

Chelsea Team News:

Rafa Benitez takes his squad to Stoke with some concerns. John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are away on international duty, with Nigeria, at the African Cup of Nations whilst, on the injury front, Chelsea are still likely to be without the injured Petr Cech.

John Terry, who made his long awaited comeback in an U21 fixture, against Fulham, on Thursday evening, has declared that he is ready to return to the fray but it may be a game too soon for our captain.

Up front, the Chelsea support will be praying that Rafa opts to start with Demba Ba rather than the lethargic Fernando Torres.

Here at Vital Chelsea we half expect Rafa to go with the following starting eleven:-

Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Ba.

Player to watch: Branislav Ivanovic

Two horrendous horrors, in midweek, against Swansea have put the pressure firmly on the Serbian centre-back to produce a match winning defensive performance. We`re hoping that the tough centre-back rallies to the cause and is able to hold at bay a Stoke City side that will pose an aerial threat like no other side can.

Match Facts & Stats

Although Stoke haven`t been beaten at the Britannia Stadium since February 2012, Chelsea do have a more than decent record against them.

In the last 8 fixtures we`ve won 5 and drawn 3. In fact if you want to know when Stoke last beat Chelsea on home soil, it was at the Victoria Ground on 5th April 1975. It was a bad season for Chelsea as we ended up being relegated.

Stoke`s recent form is good though with the Potteries side having only lost 1 in the last 11 that being against Manchester City. In the other 10 fixtures they`ve won 5 and drawn 5.

Ref Watch:

Our officials for this encounter are:- Referee - Andre Marriner Assistant - R. West Assistant - S. Massey Fourth Official - G. Eltringham

Match Prediction:

There`s no doubting that the Britannia Stadium is a tricky place to visit, Stoke haven`t los ton home soil since February 2012. The match will see a contrast of two styles, Chelsea will try to move the ball around sweetly whilst a robust Stoke side will go route one, getting the ball into the penalty area as often as possible. One concern we do have is whether our 'small` players will be able to cope with the physicality of their Stoke counterparts. Let`s hope they do otherwise Saturday could be one of those days we`re slowly becoming accustomed to. But, I`m keeping the faith and going for a narrow Chelsea victory, by the odd goal in three.

Next Fixtures:

Next up is a Premier League fixture, on Wednesday, against Southampton at Stamford Bridge followed by a visit from Arsenal the following Sunday.

The Journalist

Writer: Merlin Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 11 2013

Time: 4:22PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Well we won't be getting any favours from the ref as usual, as marriner,clattenburg,kevin friend,lee mason,howard webb and chris foy just hate chelsea, I don't like this lot as they won't make It easy for us, I believe we can beat this stoke team with cunning and not with brute, play our two wide players in marin and hazard on both wings, cesar should be benched and iva used as a), center halves can be cahill and luiz, with rammy and oscar in the damn pivot, ba as the point man offcourse... Read that cech would be travelling too, don't know if its true
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11/01/2013 16:35:00

Torres was sick, Ba was injured. How long did it take them to come up with this bull. If this was the case why did it take us 48 hours to hear all this? Talk about covering up for ineptitude.
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11/01/2013 16:42:00

Suddenly ba was injured against swansea? Oh yea that true, I saw him wobbling and limping as soon as he was brought on! Bloody scheming liar
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11/01/2013 17:02:00

Our away form (6 win from 7 games) is far better than the home form. I expect a tough game but we will at end. I see a draw as a worst scenario.
jollyheart Torres
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11/01/2013 17:04:00

shakhtar has signed taison on a 5year deal
kakuta in Ghana
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11/01/2013 17:07:00

CobhamBlue Benni and Torres have a mutual need of each other, Benny will say whatever for Torres benefit and vice versa even if it means transparent lies to the supporters.
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11/01/2013 17:08:00

@Desmond,@Pantisocrates, guys cracking me up real hard...Tubby is a a disgrace really...that lie waws pretty cheap!!...lets see what the lies will be the next time torres plays like freaking pregnant sisi...
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11/01/2013 17:29:00

@layor, my friend, seriously didn't u notice demba ba, limping and wobbling for all the 10 minutes he played? He was actually playing thru pain and all even to touch the ball with his leg was difficult and required a superhuman effort, torres stomach was filled with bug so much that he is running away from the swans defenders so he won't affect them with it, infact that bug have been in his stomach since the time he left liverpool, hopefully he'll be treated!! *eyes rolling*
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11/01/2013 17:38:00 you want to kill me??....m laffing toooooo hard....
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11/01/2013 18:20:00

Are you people for real.We played very good against Swansea,pressed them high up the pitch and stopped there passing game.We had twenty three attempts and missed several very good chances,including having a goal disallowed.Ivanovic made two mistakes and lost us the game and you all want to blame Rafa, just because you don't like him.Get behind the team and stop thinking your all bloody experts.
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11/01/2013 18:26:00

You guys are freaking hilarious..i am laughing my head of here in my office and crying tears reading this stuff..Obviously Rafa is fibbing on this nonsense regarding El Ninos bug and Bas niggle but this took ~48hrs to surface..come on guys..smell the coffee..Rafa did not come up with this on his own..he was put up to this...Roman and his amigos know the guy is already hated...they dont want the fans turning on the golden boy so what do they do..use the hated rafa to be the errand boy to deliver this joke of a lie....this is what it means when your contract says "performing other duties as arise and are required for the good of the club." My goodness i have not had such a good laugh in a long time..thanks guys!!!
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11/01/2013 18:32:00

The breeze, blaming rafa? Yea we are, not for his press conference, but for his choice of striker on that day, this press conference is riddiculous, how come a fit ba, who scored 2 good goals against southampton become a limping ba overnite? We have to be objective when taking sides and see this sham, obviously demba ba is nusrsing an ankle injury for scoring two goals, now If he manage to score in his next full game, rafa would bench him again in the next game after that and start torres as a lone striker and if we lose again, he'll probably come out to tell us in his next press conference that demba ba have been shot by cole with his air rifle and he won't be out indefinitely, oh please gimme a break
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11/01/2013 18:46:00

The breeze, blaming rafa? Yea we are, not only for his press conference, but for his choice of striker on that day, this press conference is riddiculous, how come a fit ba, who scored 2 good goals against southampton become a limping ba overnite? We have to be objective when taking sides and see this sham, obviously demba ba is nusrsing an ankle injury for scoring two goals, now If he manage to score in his next full game, rafa would bench him again in the next game after that and start torres as a lone striker and if we lose again, he'll probably come out to tell us in his next press conference that demba ba have been shot by cole with his air rifle and he won't be out indefinitely, oh please gimme a break
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11/01/2013 18:47:00

He won't be available and will be out indefinitely from the first team*
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11/01/2013 18:48:00

Guys, sorry to digress a bit....this weekend is Watford vs. Middlesbrough...that is Josh against Chalobah!!!....fantastic mouth watering stuff..anybody has a stream where I could see the match??......
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11/01/2013 18:49:00

Desmond..please have mercy!!! you have cruel intentions with this...this is just too funny.. Shot by Coles air rifle..this is just getting better and better. CFC is now one of the most riveting soap operas and reality shows out there..i am still laughing so hard!!!
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11/01/2013 18:56:00

Sorry gabeu, I removed its shine with the typos, but seriously, to what extent will this man and everyother individual defend torres, I am even of the mind that we should try another approach to get something (footballing wise) out of him, but with this obvious lie from rafa, I shake my head in dismay at the length we'll go to save torres's pride, really! A bug? An ankle injury to BA? Its just too lame, that was why I came up with the air rifle stuff
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11/01/2013 19:05:00

@layorh, I would really want to follow this game up too, but I'll have to be contented with match reports, but it will be fantastic if we have an article for this two chelsea future stars (chalobah vs josh) mouthwatering!! Really mouthwatering
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11/01/2013 19:08:00

The success of other club's scouts namely swansea and newcastle's and some others makes me want to shoot most of our scouts with ashley's rifle, what in heaven's name are they doing with roman's money? They keep mugging the poor man, I understand that most if not all of u are aware of the story in this link, but castle signing ba on a free, ben arfa, yohan cabaye, swansea sigurdsson (last year), pablo hernandez, michu? Westbrom, shane long, yacob, mulumbu? Morris? Aston villa benteke weimann? Must we always go for big names and expensive players?
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11/01/2013 19:21:00

Well rafa for shelling out 50m I am expecting the relationship between money and goals to have worthy offsprings which are shiny trophies!!!!
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11/01/2013 19:25:00 really have to stop now...please...Ba shot by Cole's rifle??...looooooooooooooooooooool
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11/01/2013 19:29:00

@Desmond...i can see Ashley Cole's rifle has now become soo usefuly both to you and Tubby!!!......'ll try to stop laffing
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11/01/2013 19:31:00

@Desmondadonis, LOOOOOOOL, dats was hilarious bt expect this story from Rafa next week. Journalist: What is wrong with your strikers? Ur strikers failed to score again at home again what went wrong? RAFA: Well Torres was having diarrhea all day but he did well, his positioning was great, you could see him drifting wide on counter attacks just to create spaces for Mata and Hazard to score, i am satisfied with his performance. Journalist:What about Ba he came on with 2mins to go and scored a goal and was wrongly called offside. RAFA: Well after scoring a brace at stoke, he had problems with his jaw but was a little slow when the ball was crossed i, dats y the ref said it was offside. hahahahahahahahahahahaha, RAFA the rotater
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11/01/2013 20:08:00

but on a serious note 2morrows match is a must win, gonna be difficult but we can do it.
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11/01/2013 20:11:00

@layorh it really has, I am sure he won't use the bug line again, so I brought up the rifle case, so he can have another lame excuse to use
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11/01/2013 20:15:00

@darlingblue, guffawing loudly!! His jaw? (Niggling jaw infection, perhaps from eating too much) Looool!!! His jaw made him slow? Rotflmaooooooo!!!
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11/01/2013 20:19:00

All this shameful circumstances notwithstanding,lets go break some pots at the Britania tomorrow..we should not be weighed down for greatness comes at a cost. I pray for consistency that will lift our season. Let the blue nation arise!!
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11/01/2013 20:28:00

we may lose if FL starts tomorrow. the same team that started against Swansea, except Ba taking Torres' place, is the best selection for now.
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11/01/2013 20:51:00

rafa i hate ur gaffer becoz u pu too much benny in ur cheez just to savour a torr mented flu instead of adding BA Soap to ur collection anyway F*NK Ur ass cos ur days are numbered
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11/01/2013 21:02:00

luiz cut his hair :'( yayyyksss
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11/01/2013 21:35:00

So their is plans about a boycott from chelsea supporters!
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11/01/2013 22:01:00

Saw van persie's clinical finish against west ham last saturday that rescued man utd's fa cup dreams and i almost wept. Torres has got plenty of those kind of chances, mata and co had certainly played their part with regards to finding him with excellent goal scoring chances so much so that these days he doesnt even make the efforts to create space for himself again. He is the reason why cfc is in a mess today. If we had started the season with a striker half as clinical as van persie, we would be leading the epl today by some distance. The man utd goalkeeping, defence and midfield have not done better than ours this season. If our striker had been scoring goals, we wont be seeing all these faults we complain about in pivot and the whole team would be brimming with confidence. The best decision to take right now is to play Ba in all our remaining epl matches to ensure a top 4 finish cos that is our most important trophy left to compete for. Torres should make due with europa since Ba is ineligible. But reading through rafa's press conference report and the excuses he made for torres's dismal performance, its obvious rafa would persist with him much later.... If that happens and it ends up costing us top 4, then those 2 soucers would have fecked us like no one has ever done before.
Chelz Akamz
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12/01/2013 01:08:00

Hi guys ɑ̤̥̈̊​ new here
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12/01/2013 01:41:00

A bug that lasts for 2 years!
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12/01/2013 01:58:00

in other words Torres the Gaffer
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12/01/2013 03:16:00

Pray we win this match because my confidence in the team has hit an all time low, don't even know what to expect again any match day not with Tubby and Torres around.
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12/01/2013 03:19:00

@Chelz Akamz,thats just the truth...Torres doesnt make much movement in and around the 18 yard box to create chances for those dangerous passes. Maybe he is afraid of losing scoring opportunities. In the process he has succeeded in making our creative trio appear below average because he doesnt open up well for them. Imagine the sitter he squandered at the CWC finals. I blame those that brought him into the season as our major and only striker, cos i remember i was very vocal against that. He has single handedly wrecked our season and the earlier Rafa realizes that El Nino is finished as a CF the better for our CL qualification chances. Ba has shown that he can do the job far better,why insist on hanging on to that failure of a player? Not just you,bro,i sob whenever i see RvP do all those things he does and i ask why Torres cant be like that. Btw,Welcome on board @Herkeen!
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12/01/2013 04:33:00

@ cobham blue, it is not the covering up for ineptitude that got me annoyed, but the ineptitude of the cover up. This idiot has not justify a 5 million fee since we got him while the whole club has been changed for him. We should try and get benteke to support BA. I doubt he will cost us more than 10m since its obvious our wise. Board have refused to bring back lukaku who has since scored more goals per minute than the fraud. Wise thinking once again
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12/01/2013 05:32:00

@herkeen, welcome bro, I hope u enjoy ur stay with the cfc family, we are one big family here, though we bicker and banter atimes but by God we love chelsea so much that tubby's lies won't make us take to our heels!!! I hope u brought back our elusive luck at the tail end of last year, by the way, find a way of setting ur bb language to UK english, or else we won't be able to see ur contributions, when we were being linked BA,...... I and some others raised our doubts about rafa playing a new striker ahead of torres, but some people were confident that it won't be the case, now its already costing us another cup already, I really hope demba BA stay healthy for real, I won't want a scenario where rafa would say he is having a bout of diarrhea on an important match day.... If we are moving for any other striker we should go for a cut price andre schurlle, demba Ba, schurlle and lukaku as strikers and we are sorted next season, with torres playing as a LW perhaps (he knows how to cross)
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12/01/2013 06:16:00

@Desmond...torres left leg is useless...please watch that leg carefully...he will be a disaster at LW...RW? for him to be shipped though..but we definitely wont get a taker...prety messed up stuff...
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12/01/2013 06:35:00

@layorh, well he knows how to make good crosses, if we change this formation we are persisting on then we can use him as a supporting striker, we cant ship nando out of the club, he is as stuck with us as malouda was and I don't think there is anything we can do about it (sadly) so we should find a way of making him earn his cut throat 175k per week
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12/01/2013 07:02:00

@layorh Both legs are useless!
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12/01/2013 07:05:00

@desmond, bro u no go kill person with your banter o lol. but truth is benny shouldn't have given any excuses at all and allow us to take the defeat in good faith. one mistake rafa makes alot together with our previous managers is that i don't understand why they persist with mata continually when its obvious he's not in the game at all? any time mata has been like this he has never come good. plus luiz is only an option in midfield i don't see why he should be deputising game in game out expecially when our backline has hardly change in like 5games now. oscar who is hardly getting a chance or perhaps wasted on the RW can actually be in that pivot. and someone pls tell benny to start using 13 premier league goals BA and not 6 or 7goals torres in permier league games o. i cant afford to see chelsea crumble esp when spurs seems to be gettin their feet.
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12/01/2013 08:36:00

@layorh and @true2blue,torres as a whole is useless
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12/01/2013 09:18:00

@bluesinme, brother na so e be oo, when mata is not in form we tend to be playing without spark, why we can't sub him and draft one of hazard or oscar in the no.10 is beyond me, but there is one thing that is to mata's credit, if he has an off game, there are about 10-15minutes of individual brilliance that is enough to win us games. Spurs are in form now, and if we don't fix our wobbling premier league form we'll be in trouble, so my take is that we should give it our all.
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12/01/2013 10:31:00

@desmond, i feel you jare. we had better give it our all that's the more reason i dont understand why the board want to let go lamps when its clear our new recruits haven't found their feet yet. Benny shouldn't start torres unless together with Ba before we will hear he has termites eating up his stomach excuse again
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12/01/2013 12:53:00

Three very important points
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14/01/2013 08:51:00

Now that we are 3rd, can we look ahead of us and see to it that we can finish in the best poition we can which is not below this.
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14/01/2013 08:52:00


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