Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Antonio Conte says Chelsea finishing in top four would be a success

Pedro double Chelsea's lead just nine minutes Pedro double Chelsea's lead just nine minutes
Eugene Bates | 31 December, 2017, 06:54

Chelsea kicked off their Premier League clash against Stoke at 3pm and by 3:07 the contest is all but over following a rampant start from the home side. This would have no doubt eased the pressure surrounding manager Mark Hughes but he'll know how hard it will be to snatch anything away at Chelsea on Saturday. The Potters are 13th in the table, with 20 in their first 20 games. Blues wing-back Marcos Alonso starred in that game, and explained the mood in the Chelsea camp.

The stats geeks over at Football Web Pages have designed a super computer that uses an algorithm based on previous goals and results to predict the most likely results of future games - as well as every club's percentage chance of winning. Defensively, Antonio Conte's team are second behind City, allowing only 14 goals in the first 20 games. "On that basis it would be a good return, so Monday becomes a big game for us".

After an alarming run of form which saw Stoke suffer five defeats in six games, it is fair to say they have steadied the ship somewhat after a 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion was followed by a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town. The points have temporarily moved Stoke out of the relegation picture but the team's flaws could have them battling for survival over the second half of the season.

Young England hopefuls Calum Chambers and Rob Holding have hardly been trusted at all in the Premier League this season, while Shkodran Mustafi was on the verge of joining Inter in the summer after just one season in north London. While Stoke have been terrible defensively, they have scored the ninth most goals. If you compare with last season, we have conceded less goals.

Chelsea will all but certainly leapfrog Manchester United in the Premier League standings, at least until United's game against Southampton later. Live streaming is available on NBC Sports Gold, which you can access with a subscription. Chelsea have won twice away since, including earlier this season when Morata's hat-trick powered an easy 4-0.

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