Jose Mourinho will be looking to use the full depth of his squad over the Christmas period as the games come thick and fast, but he knows that he'll need to put out a strong team in order to take on an in-form Stoke side.
The Blues have responded well to losing their unbeaten start to the season against Newcastle, and have beaten Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League, Hull in the Premier League and Derby in the Capital One Cup.
In those games Mourinho has made plenty of changes in order to keep things fresh for their fixture at the Britannia Stadium on Monday. Kurt Zouma, who stepped in for the mid-week victory against Derby but took a bang to the head for his troubles is fit to feature at the weekend.
Thibaut Courtois is another one has been struggling to shake off a minor knock but is expected to be fit to feature against Stoke, and it's also good news when it comes to Didier Drogba as he should recover in time for the game too.
After the Stoke game Chelsea face a run of key fixtures that will test their credentials, before they go up against in-form trio West Ham, Southampton and Tottenham. All in they face the respect of four games in eleven days, and Mourinho believes this will be stern test of Chelsea's title credentials.
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‘Everybody has to play these four matches in this short space of time so everybody is in the same circumstances,’ he said. ‘Obviously some are lucky to have easier fixtures in this period but that’s a draw and you can’t do anything about that. For us it’s difficult: three matches away and only one at home.
‘Even the one we have at home will be a London derby against one of the best teams in the competition and the three matches away are Tottenham, Southampton and Stoke so it’s difficult for us but we are ready.’
The Blues currently sit atop the Premier League table but have seen their lead cut to three points as Manchester City mount a charge.
Courtois, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta. Cahill, Terry, Ramires, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, Willian, Costa
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