Scouting Report: Stoke City

The festive fixtures continue to come thick and fast, as we prepare to welcome the Potters to Stamford Bridge this weekend, looking to build on the Boxing Day victory over Brighton.

Here, we take a closer look at our opponents...

MANAGER

Mark Hughes. Our former striker is the man in charge at the Bet 365 Stadium, having been in the managerial hotseat there since 2013. The former Wales international has previously managed Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR as well as spending five years in charge of the national side. Hughes is currently the fourth-longest serving manager in the Premier League, behind Arsene Wenger [Arsenal], Eddie Howe [Bournemouth] and Sean Dyche [Burnley]. 

KEY PLAYER

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The Cameroon international joined the Potters in the summer from German side, Schalke, and has impressed so far this season for Mark Hughes’s side. He mas scored four and assisted four so far this term and netted both goals in the entertaining draw with Manchester United at the Bet 365 Stadium earlier this season. Choupo-Moting can operate either centrally or wide of a front three and possesses both pace and power in his locker. 

Recent form

The Potters come into this fixture on the back of an away draw at Huddersfield and a home victory over West Brom during the festive period. That ended a run of three straight defeats this month and they will be hoping to end 2017 with three points at the Bridge. Stoke have found it tough away from home and are seeking their first win on the road since 28 October, when they defeated Watford in their only away victory this season.

ONE TO WATCH

Xherdan Shaquiri. The diminutive midfielder joined Stoke back in 2015 for a fee of around £12m from Inter Milan and has proven an astute addition by the Potters, making well over 50 appearances and contributing goals and assists from midfield. As well as Inter Milan, Shaquiri has also turned out for Bayern Munich and FC Basel. He is a full international for Switzerland and has over 60 caps to his name. A dead-ball specialist, he will need to be watched carefully with his deliveries into the box.

WORN BOTH BADGES

Steve Sidwell. A combative midfielder who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Reading in 2007 but spent just the one season with us before departing for Aston Villa. After three years at Villa he returned to west London to join Fulham, before eventually moving onto Stoke in 2014. The former England U21 international was a useful part of the squad at Stoke under Mark Hughes, before moving to Brighton and helping the Seagulls earn promotion to the Premier League and winning the Football League ‘Goal of the Year’ along the way.