Chelsea’s four-game winning streak ground to a halt after a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal but they will continue their title defence with a tough away trip to Stoke City on Saturday.
The Premier League champions got back to winning ways as they beat Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup midweek, while Stoke were knocked out by Bristol City.
The Potters also lost to Newcastle in the league last time out, but Mark Hughes’ side will hope to bounce back from their recent disappointments.
Antonio Conte will welcome back Pedro after resting him against Forest, with the Spaniard having picked up a knock against Arsenal. Pedro sat out training for most of the week but will be part of the squad to face Stoke.
Danny Drinkwater is a longer term injury worry and will once again miss out. The former Leicester man has a calf injury and could be out until after the October international break, having still not made his Chelsea debut.
Eden Hazard has completed the final steps in his recovery and on Wednesday played his first 90 minutes of football since the FA Cup final. He has been carefully eased back into the first team picture after breaking his ankle on international duty during the summer.
Baba Rahman remains at Chelsea but isn’t part of the club’s Premier League or European squad due to a knee injury. He is expecting to return in late October or early November.
The Blues have no other absentees but Diego Costa will not feature as he nears a transfer to Atletico Madrid. However, he has been included in the squad list for the Premier League this season, so he is technically available for selection.
David Luiz is banned for the trip to Stoke City and will also miss out against Manchester City next week. However, the centre-back will be available to play in the Champions League next week as suspensions only count for domestic competitions.
He also suffered a fractured wrist during the match against Arsenal but has continued full training and can play through the injury for his side’s upcoming matches.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE UP
Andreas Christensen will deputise for David Luiz in the centre of a three man defence. The young defender has impressed Conte with his start to life at Stamford Bridge and he looks assured enough on the ball to take over in the middle of the back line.
Conte has a choice to make on whether to pick Hazard or Pedro for the left attacking midfield role, but Willian will likely start on the right as he is the fittest of the three forwards.
Chelsea rested many players against Forest and Thibaut Courtois, Alvaro Morata and Cesar Azpilicueta are just some of the big names that will return after a midweek break.
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 remains the club’s primary formation after Conte won the title with the system last season. However, they have also lined up in the 3-5-2 formation on a few occasions this term.
STOKE CITY TEAM NEWS
Kurt Zouma will be unavailable to face his parent club due to the terms in his loan deal, which causes defensive issues for Stoke with several other players out.
Geoff Cameron is suffering from a hamstring injury so he also misses out in defence, while Ryan Shawcross is also a doubt with a back injury.
Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland remain out with long term injuries, but the Potters have a clean bill of health for the rest of their first team.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Stoke City have suffered 13 Premier League defeats against Chelsea in the Premier League; more than they have against any other opponent.
Chelsea need a point in this game to reach 1800 Premier League points (currently 1799) – only Arsenal (1829) and Manchester United (2034) have more in the competition.
Chelsea have been given as many red cards in their last five Premier League games (3) as they had in their previous 73.
Willian has scored four Premier League goals against Stoke City; more than he has against any other opponent in the competition.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have combined to create nine goalscoring chances for one another in the Premier League this season – only Spurs’ Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen (10) have combined more often.
TV CHANNEL & KICK OFF TIME
The match isn’t being televised in the UK and it will kick off at 15:00 BST on Saturday.