PMB: Stoke City v Chelsea - talking points

TRAIN TO THE TURNSTILE: Stoke v Chelsea


After three home games in a row it is time to hit the road again. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton mull over our second Midlands game of the season…   

TALKING POINTS

Chelsea are off to flying starts in the two cup competitions at home and abroad but Antonio Conte will only be content if the champions return to winning ways in the league this weekend ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Madrid.

His team are targeting a fifth successive away victory in all competitions. Chelsea’s best ever sequence when playing in the top flight is six, achieved six times: 2004/05 (twice), 2005/06, 2006/07 (twice), and 2012/13. Our longest overall run of success on the road remains the seven set when we were in Division Two, 1988/89.

Stoke, currently 13th in the table, can be intimidating opponents on their home ground. They have beaten Arsenal there, and Manchester United had to settle for a 2-2 draw and are four points better off than at the same stage last season.

Unusually, the Blues might have a slight height advantage against a side previously like something out of 1960s sci-fi series ‘Land of the Giants.’ Mark Hughes is reconstructing the Potters’ squad, and while 5ft 10in forward Jese Rodriguez suggests a technical revamp, 6ft 3in Max Choupo-Moting maintains the old values.

Over the years Stoke dented Chelsea’s promotion plans (1962/63), trophy ambitions (1971/72), and hopes of survival (1974/75), and not all recent games have gone the Blues’ way. Three wins in five trips to their stadium is reason enough to be confident of success, even with a new, slightly bigger capacity at the ground.