The Blues closed the gap to United to just one point as Jose Mourinho’s men dropped two points at home to this season’s surprise package Burnley. And Antonio Conte’s Blues will hope to make further ground when they welcome a struggling Stoke side on Saturday.
Chelsea will remain without David Luiz and Charly Musonda on Saturday when they host Stoke. Luiz is struggling with a knee problem while Musonda has a groin injury. Both are nevertheless expected to be fit for the FA Cup trip to Norwich next weekend.
Provisional squad: Courtois, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Kante, Hazard, Morata, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Kenedy, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Clarke-Salter, Sterling, Eduardo, Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes has a defensive crisis to solve with Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and Kurt Zouma all out for the trip to Chelsea.
Shawcross (calf) was forced off in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield and is out for at least two weeks, while Martins Indi (groin) is sidelined for a similar period.
Zouma is ineligible against his parent club, while Glen Johnson (knee) is also unavailable but full-back Erik Pieters could feature.
Provisional Squad: Butland, Cameron, Pieters, Wimmer, Tymon, Edwards, Shaqiri, Fletcher, Allen, Sobhi, Crouch, Diouf, Grant, Berahino, Afellay, Choupo-Moting, Ngoy, Adam.
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Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard; Morata
Stoke starting XI: Butland, Edwards, Wimmer, Cameron, Pieters, Fletcher, Allen, Shaqiri, Diouf, Choupo Moting, Crouch.
Chelsea are undefeated in their last 12 matches but they’re still only competing for a top four spot, with Manchester City recording such a strong lead at the top of the Premier League table.
City’s record-breaking run of 18 league wins means that Antonio Conte’s side can likely only hope for a second-place finish and lag just one point behind Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Mark Hughes has been under pressure after Stoke City slid into a relegation battle, but the recent win over West Bromwich Albion seems to have bought him some time.
Chelsea have recently had Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso suspended for an accumulation of five yellow cards but they are back to face Stoke.
However, Premier League rules state that players will be no longer be banned for accumulating five yellow cards after the 19th game, which happened to be Everton on December 23. It will now take players 10 cards to get a suspension.