Stoke must focus on attack not defence ahead of Chelsea visit

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Ahead of their clash with Chelsea at the weekend, Stoke’s Charlie Adam has been speaking out on how his team-mates are not scared of the attacking threats the league leaders possess, but is he barking up the wrong tree?

The Scot has refused to single out 19-goal striker Diego Costa, although he is adamant his skipper has a plan for the former Atletico Madrid man, should he overcome a knock at the weekend.

“It’s not just Costa we have to watch. There’s also Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and a lot of other good players”, he told the Stoke Sentinel.

“But Ryan [Shawcross] knows how to play against him [Costa] and did well the last time he played against him”, he continued.

While Adam’s thoughts on containing the Blues frontline could be a smart move – they’ve scored on average two goals a game at home in the league this season – it’s the Potters own forwards that should be upping their game.

To put it bluntly, Stoke have a shocking record at Stamford Bridge.

Their aggregate scoreline from their last seven matches in west London reads 17-0 to the Pensioners.

And with that record, it’s hard to put anybody off backing the league leaders to record a victory without conceding a goal at 3/4.

If ever the old adage “you can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket” was more relevant it is when describing Stoke’s visits to Chelsea.

Those seven goalless visits came after the Potters racked up a measly 2.7 shots on target per game.

Of the three teams that Jose Mourinho’s side have dropped points against at home this season, all had at least four shots on target.

It seems you simply cannot rely on catching the Blues on the break and sitting on a lead, and Mark Hughes will need to install more attacking instinct on his side, compared to their previous visits.

There are signs that Stoke’s away record has picked up this season – they have accrued more points on the road already this season than they did during the whole 2013-14 campaign.

But getting something out of Chelsea will not be about simply sitting back and absorbing their advances, it could be a case of Stoke having to go potty in the capital to out-gun the champions-elect.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.