Without their first goalkeeper, Chelsea will have a hard time keeping a clean sheet away at Stoke, the only team in the Premier League who is yet to lose a home. The visitors have an excellent record but most of their victories were narrow margin ones, and it was their defense that kept them afloat. Turnbull is Cech’s replacement but so far he failed to meet the high expectations, and is only a pale shadow of the veteran goalkeeper. Despite the fact that Stoke is not a serious contender for a European Cup spot, they are relentless when playing in front of their fans and will not defend for 90 minutes.
On the other hand, Chelsea can’t afford to play a defensive minded football, because they need all three points if they are to overtake Tottenham. Their opponents are a stringy team that can cope with pressure, but their Achille’s heel is the fact that they play with a 4-3-2 formation against any team. Peter Crouch and Walter are their designated strikers, but despite the fact that they are 29 and 31 years old they are quite dangerous upfront. Chelsea has conceded many goals this season from corners and free kicks, and both Crouch and Walter can take advantage of these opportunities.
A scoreless draw is very unlikely especially now when Chelsea has to cope with Cech’s absence, so punters can afford to take their chances with the over 2.5 goals bet. The bookmakers are expecting the exact opposite and base their assumptions on past performance, but the circumstances suggest a high scoring match. Chelsea is still favorite to win, but the odds should be much higher to warrant a bet on the visiting team.