Stoke City vs Chelsea - three key battles

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Chelsea visit the Britannia Stadium on Monday night on a run of three wins in a row and fresh from qualification for the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Stoke meanwhile will have eight days between their 1-1 draw away to Crystal Palace and Monday’s game. The Potters sit 12th in the table with 19 points from 16 games, their opponents though sit three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

Here we look at where on the pitch the game could be won or lost...


Diego Costa has enjoyed an excellent debut season in the Premier League and has managed 12 goals in 13 games.

The striker ended his four match goal drought last weekend against Hull and with Cesc Fabregas back on the pitch Costa will have a lot to work on.

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Shawcross has had another impressive season in the Stoke defence, the Potters have conceded 21 goals this season and the 27-year-old will need to be on top form to stop the temperamental striker,.Chelsea have the best attack in the league with 36 goals.


The Brazilian midfielder has been in top form again this season and wreaked havoc across Premier league defences. It will be up to the Frenchman to stop Oscar having an impact on the game.

The 23-year-old was left out of the midweek Capital One Cup clash against Derby and will be well rested. He has managed two assists in his last three games.

N’Zonzi meanwhile has struggled since scoring the equaliser against Manchester United three games ago with unconvincing performances against Arsenal and Crystal Palace.


The Belgian international continues to impress on the left wing and has been on a fantastic run of form since the end of November.

Hazard put in man of the match performances against Hull and Derby bagging two goals and an assist, however the good news for Phil Bardsley is that none of his opponent's last 11 goals have come away from Stamford Bridge.

Bardsley has enjoyed a good season under Mark Hughes since his free transfer from Sunderland in the summer but Hazard will no doubt prove to be his toughest challenge so far.

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