Chelsea plunged to a new low last weekend as despite taking an early lead they ended up well beaten in another embarrassing home display. Nine times this season the Blues defence has conceded at least twice and to put that into context, they conceded more than once just 11 times in their previous two seasons combined.
Stoke’s form has been very ordinary as well, though, and they’ve won only one of their five home games so far. They do at least have Ryan Shawcross back after he returned and completed a full 90 minutes at Newcastle last weekend. That resulted in a clean sheet and they have clearly lacked his leadership at the back in the opening quarter of the season. Chelsea’s problems are not restricted to the defence however, as only half their goals have come from open play with the rest from set pieces and own goals, and a couple of those from open play have been low percentage strikes from distance. So with Shawcross back and three clean sheets in their last four games Stoke will certainly be confident of keeping the Champions relatively quiet.
Defensively Chelsea have looked vulnerable to teams that can transition quickly and attack down the wings and in the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan and Marko Arnautovic, Stoke can do exactly that. Even allowing for Chelsea playing at a level closer to what we’d expect from them Stoke have won five of 12 home games against top-six finishers in the past two seasons with just four defeats. Chelsea remain unbackable at the moment and we wouldn’t put anyone off backing Stoke at 3/1, though the Draw No Bet at 7/4 offers greater security at a decent price. Both teams have scored in 16 of Chelsea’s last 24 away matches, with the same number having at least three goals including each of the last seven. Furthermore, six of their last seven trips to bottom-half teams have had at least three goals as have four of the last five meetings between these teams. With seven of Stoke’s nine home games against top half teams last season having at least three goals, as they failed to score only once and also kept just one clean sheet, Over 2.5 Goals looks great value at 9/8.
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