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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Stoke City vs. Chelsea

The Britannia Stadium

14th August 2011

13:30

On Sky

Vital Stoke Previews : Stoke V Chelsea

It's the start of the Premier League season and after a fantastic year last time around, the Potters will be chomping at the bit to get an early 3 points on the board in front of the SKY cameras as they face runners-up Chelsea in what promises to be a highly-charged encounter with 26,000 Stokies roaring their team on.

Vital Quotes:

Chelsea paid 13 million to bring Andre Villas-Boas to Stamford Bridge. As it happens, the same amount of cash saw Tony Pulis buy all of Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Matty Etherington and Jermaine Pennant.

However, the new Blues boss was very complimentary towards Stoke, labelling the Potters 'Magnificent' :

' It's Stoke away. It's one of the magnificent teams of the Premier League a team that - last year - although finishing in the bottom half of the table, managed 10 wins at home.

'It's a very emotional stadium, so it's good to have this kind of high challenge straight away on the first day of the premiership.'

Chelsea Captain,John Terry, also had some very kind words to say :

'It's an incredibly tough opening game for us,' he said. 'It is never easy going to Stoke, because they are a great team with great players and a great manager'

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis after a simply stunning season last year, can't wait to send his players out on Sunday to tackle last year's Premier League runners up, promising a baptism of fire for their new manager :

'The Premier League is where you have to prove yourself, regardless of what you have done in the past.

'It will be nice to meet Andre and he can certainly expect a lively welcome to the Premier League.'

Stoke City Team News:

The former dynamic duo of Ricardo Fuller & Mamady Sidibe both remain sidelined whilst Danny Higginbotham won't be playing for a while yet.

Matty Etherington(cracked rib) and Rory Delap (Hamstring) are nursing knocks but both are expected to be fit whilst new signing Jonathan Woodgate is in contention for a start after a brilliant performance in Split.

Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones

The 26-year-old notched 9 Premier league goals last year, but it could have been even better. A player with big potential and now seemingly reaching his peak, he'll be expecting to be in the goals this year and with Chelsea's physicality from set pieces and their no-nonsense approach at the back, the Trinidadian could prove to be a deciding factor in tomorrow's game. Not only will he need to bully Chelsea's defence as he did in last year's fixture, but he'll be integral in defending set pieces against the likes of Drogba, Terry and Ivanovic.

Chelsea Team News:

Fernando Torres has been suffering mild concussion after a collision but is expected to feature.

Defender David Luiz will probably be breathing a sigh of relief after being tormented by Jon Walters in the fixture last year - the Brazilian has been ruled out of the game with an injury and possible Stoke-target Danny Sturridge will also miss out as he is suspended.

Player to watch: Didier Drogba

A brilliant footballer who always causes us problems both on the air and on the deck, the likes of Huth and Shawcross will have to be at their imperious best to keep the 33-year-old quiet as the Ivory Coast striker seeks to impress his new boss.

Like Kenwyne Jones, he will be expected to defend plenty of set-pieces as well as forcing the issue in attack.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Mark Halsey

Match Prediction:

Chelsea are a fantastic side who have every right in believing they can to come away from Stoke with the points, but it's Villas Boas' first competitive match and the pressure and electrifying atmosphere will no doubt make it very hard for the Blues. Judging on our fixture last year - I believe the Potters will get a point. Stoke City 1-1 Chelsea

Next Fixtures:

Stoke face Swiss team FC Thun in the play-off stage of the Europa league on Thursday, but the next premier league encounter is away to Newly-promoted Norwich City on Sunday 21st August




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The Journalist

Writer: Tom Mckeon Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 13 2011

Time: 12:45PM

Your Comments

I wouldn't want us to get a draw but with the way things stand at the moment, a draw is what seems most likely. The Brittania is not the best place to start a season, i must confess! (and i hope you guys won't be playing the way you played in last year's fixture)
Africanblue
Of course we will be playing like that! ;) You'll have the 27,000 fans singing and shouting too, including me!
Rhin0
Enjoy the game lads, I can't wait!
BlueBanes
promises to be an exciting clash - I'm looking forward to it!
merlin
Predictions from you Chelsea lot?
Rhin0
I'll go with 2-0 to us. It won't be straightforward but hopefully our guys will make it through.
blu4life
I think we'll learn a lot from this game. If Chelsea win then you've got to put them amongst the favourites as, apart from the odd fluke aside, beating Stoke at the Britannia is one hell of a result and only the top teams tend to manage it. If it's a draw or a win for Stoke then you have to question Chelsea's backbone, whilst I can never see us getting any points off Man United I think it's more than possible against Chelsea at home; AVB hasn't had enough time to really stamp his authority on that squad and they're still essentially Ancelotti's players. Will be a great game, I think it largely hinges on how Stoke approach the game, we'll all be really fresh having played in Europe. As ever, the first goal is crucial but it's even more so in a fixture like this! Hope all you Chelsea fans have a pleasant afternoon in Stoke but not too pleasant ;)
Tom_Mckeon
It will be a tough fixture for both sides, but it'll be one full of competition. Chelsea will want to display the new found philosophy of Andre Villas-Boas who will be very keen to stamp a mark quickly and make a good impression. Meanwhile we'll want to hold them off and disrupt their fluidity within their passing and runs, especially when it comes to the final third. Chelsea, I would say, were the more physical side out of the top four so will be fighting against our strength too. A close game is on the cards provided we can keep our cool and don't let them dominate the game. I predict a well fought 0-0 draw
Ryan Kalisz
Tom and Ryan, I agree. I'll go for a 1-1 draw though same as Tom, sorry Ryan. Chelsea fans, prepare for the storm!!!
BigMamasHouse
 

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