Picking the Best Potential Stoke City Lineup to Face Chelsea on Saturday

​Stoke City face a tough test on Saturday afternoon when they travel to third-placed Chelsea with a defensive line stretched by injuries.


Having won only two of their last ten matches, the Potters head into the fixture at Stamford Bridge without much confidence. Though Mark Hughes' men beat ​West Brom before drawing with Huddersfield on Boxing Day, they come up against a strong Chelsea side looking to overtake ​Manchester United at second in the table.


With that in mind, here's the best potential ​Stoke lineup to face Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

Goalkeeper

  • Butland
    Butland1

​The first name on the team-sheet. 


Jack Butland is one of England's most promising men between the sticks - expected to be his country's first choice at Russia 2018. The 24-year-old has become a hugely integral part of this Stoke side, and will need to turn in a top quality performance if the Potters are to overcome Antonio Conte's men.

Defence

  • Edwards
    Edwards42
  • Cameron
    Cameron20
  • Wimmer
    Wimmer 5
  • Pieters
    Pieters3

​Hughes' defence has been ripped apart in recent weeks. With Bruno Martins Indi sidelined until mid-January, Stoke's draw Boxing Day encounter with ​Huddersfield saw Ryan Shawcross pulled off with a calf complaint.


With Zouma unable to play against his parent club, Geoff Cameron will likely be pulled into centre-back and partner Kevin Wimmer, provided Erik Pieters can recover in time to fill in at left-back.

Midfield

  • Shaqiri
    Shaqiri22
  • Fletcher
    Fletcher24
  • Allen
    Allen4
  • Choupo-Moting
    Choupo-Moting10

​With Cameron dropping out of midfield into defence, it looks likely that Stoke will revert to a 4-4-2 formation rather than their usual 4-2-3-1.


Dropping Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting into deeper left and right midfield roles will also hand the team a bit more structure defensively, and make Stoke harder to break down for the Blues.


Meanwhile, defensively sound central duo Darren Fletcher and Joe Allen should occupy the midfield; with Allen pushing forward into the final third on occasion. 

Forwards

  • Crouch
    Crouch25
  • Diouf
    Diouf18

​It's expected that the Potters won't get too much in the way of attacking opportunities against the reigning champions, and the hold up play of Peter Crouch will be relied on to relieve any pressure on the defence.


Meanwhile the pace of Mame Biram Diouf could see the striker running on to knock downs from his strike partner - the aim to catch ​Chelsea on a quick counter attack and punish them for it.

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