Chelsea host Stoke City on New Year’s Eve as the Blues look the end 2016 by setting a new club record of 13 consecutive Premier League wins.
Whatever happens, Chelsea will start 2017 top of the table, but they will be keen to maintain their healthy lead, after watching their five closest rivals all record victories since Christmas Day.
Three points will be the goal, but just one will ensure that Antonio Conte reaches the halfway point of his first league season as the Chelsea boss who made the best start to a managerial reign in the club’s history.
Stoke should not be underestimated, having taken four points off Chelsea last season. The Potters won 1-0 at the Bet365 Stadium, before earning a 1-1 draw in London.
Chelsea actually failed to beat Stoke three times last term, with the Potters also knocking them out of the League Cup, on penalties after another 1-1 tie.
All-time Premier League head-to-head
11 Chelsea wins
2 Stoke wins
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This will be referee Robert Madley’s third Chelsea game of the season. His first was September’s 4-2 win at Leicester, during which Foxes defender Marcin Wasilewski was sent off.
Madley’s latest Chelsea fixture was their 5-0 win over Everton last month.
His only other Chelsea match this calendar year was last season’s 2-2 draw with West Ham in March, when he awarded a controversial late penalty for the Blues.
Mr Madley has taken charge of Stoke twice this season, sending off Miguel Britos as Mark Hughes’s men won 1-0 at Watford, after reffing the Potters’ 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante return from their respective one-game bans, but Pedro must now serves his.
John Terry is back in training after a recent bum injury, but the Blues skipper is not expected to start and may not feature at all.
Stoke defender Phil Bardsley may be involved, having not played since November with a knee complaint.
However, Marc Muniesa, Geoff Cameron and Jack Butland remain sidelined, while Marko Arnautovic continues to serve his suspension.
Likely Chelsea starting XI
Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill
Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso
Willian, Costa, Hazard
Likely Stoke starting XI
Johnson, Martins Indi, Shawcross
Diouf, Imbula, Whelan, Pieters