Back Chelsea on the road over Stoke City

Steven Suarez

Friday, December 6, 2013 8:23 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 8:23 PM GMT

Chelsea remains in second place in the Premier League and needs three points this weekend to keep pace with Arsenal. Will they beat Stoke City away from home? Can they prove the oddsmakers right and earn our soccer pick?

Odds Overview

The soccer odds show the Blues at roughly -165 to win outright at Britannia Stadium. They will come up against a Stoke side that's in the +500 to +550 range to delight the home crowd. A draw can be found at +300.

Stoke City

Not much has changed since Mark Hughes took over the job. The Potters are still having immense troubles scoring goals, which was evident in a drab 0-0 draw with Cardiff on Wednesday.

It was not the way Hughes would have liked his side to respond after getting tormented in a 4-0 loss sat Everton last weekend.

Now the Potters find themselves in 14th place in the Premier League, while scoring a grand total of 12 goals in the campaign so far.

That being said, being at home has brought some good results. Stoke has only given up three goals in seven home matches this season, the second-best defensive record in the Premier League. Only  Manchester City has fared better in that regard.

But can the Potters score? That's the real question here, as they've only found the back of the net five times at home, putting them in a tie for last with Crystal Palace in futility.

Chelsea

It wasn't easy, but the Blues escaped with a dramatic 4-3 win over Sunderland during the week, a crucial win which keeps them firmly in the top four.

Down 1-0 after 14 minutes, Frank Lampard scored an equalizer only three minutes later, with Eden Hazard getting in on the action close to 20 minutes later to put Chelsea up 2-1 at the break. The Black Cats responded with a tying goal of their own, but Hazard bagged his second and then an own goal from Phillip Bardsley put the match out of reach.

It was critical for the Blues to get three points, considering each of the other three teams in the top four all won as well.

Chelsea has now gone unbeaten in four Premier League matches while winning three in a row over the Black Cats and then Southampton (3-1 at home) and West Ham (3-0 away). Is that undefeated streak in jeopardy at all this weekend?

Not if Hazard has anything to say about it. The Belgian has been instrumental to Chelsea's success this term, scoring six league goals to go along with three assists. Oscar meanwhile has scored five goals and Lampard has totaled four Premier League goals and three assists.

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Premier League Pick

The only advantage for Stoke here is being at home. Other than that, the Potters have really struggled and it's hard to have much confidence in them at all given the way they’ve been under-performing.

Sure, Britannia Stadium has an intense atmosphere that makes it tough for opponents, especially when it comes to scoring goals. But, if there's any side out there that unlock a good back-line, it's Chelsea, with the creativity of Hazard and Oscar likely to play a big role.

In this corresponding fixture last year, the Blues had little trouble scooting past Stoke, winning 4-0. Jonathan Walters had two own goals and Hazard and Lampard both scored as well.

We don't imagine a rout like that this time around, but we do believe Chelsea is the best value play with our soccer picks.

Pick: Stoke City 0 Chelsea 2

[gameodds]2/251745/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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