Chelsea have been one of the major disappointments this season in the English Premier League after their disastrous campaign so far. They have three wins from 10 games and with such results, even their manager Jose Mourinho's job is on the line.
However, the Blues have a chance to progress in the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup -- also known as League Cup -- as they prepare to face Stoke City in the fourth round at the Britannia stadium on Tuesday. Chelsea, who defeated Walsall in the third round, face an in-form Stoke City and the match is not going to be any easy encounter for either side.
Both the teams are expected to come up with their best 11 in the important Capital One Cup fourth round fixture. Mark Hughes, Stoke manager, feels that it is the best time for Stoke to face the defending champions owing to Blues' poor form of late.
"Maybe it is a good time to be playing them â€“ we will have to wait and see, but we are looking forward to the game now. When this team has endured a difficult performance and result then more often than not they bounce back positively, which gives me a lot of confidence," Stoke City's official website quoted Hughes as saying.
Out of the two teams, Stoke, comparatively, should be a confident unit on Tuesday as they have shown some great form of late. Stoke have won four out of their last five matches in all competition, while Chelsea have only won a single match in their last five matches, which is embarrassing for a team, which won the Capital One Cup and the EPL last season.
Despite the form Chelsea have shown of late, they are a top side with an array of stars such as Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa among others.
These players, if they get their act together, can defeat any top side in the world. However, their players also seem to have hit a new low as they have not been able to come up with the performance, which helped them win the title last season.
Hughes is aware of Chelsea, who are a top side, and is hence not going to make many changes in the squad. Had they been playing some weaker opposition, some of the starters could have been handed some rest.
"Given the quality of opposition we are coming up against we aren't looking to make too many changes," said Hughes.
"We are coming up against the reigning Premier League and League Cup champions and we are mindful of that.
"Had we been playing against a side in the Championship or lower then that may have altered my thinking, but we have to be strong because Chelsea, for all of their difficulties at the moment, are a top side."
This match between the two sides could be a huge one for Mourinho's Chelsea career (second tenure) as he could face the sack if things do not go according to plan in the next few matches.
Where to watch live
Stoke City vs Chelsea Carling Cup fourth round match kicks off at 8:45 pm local time (1.15 am IST, 3.45 pm ET). Unfortunately, there is no live TV coverage of Stoke City vs Chelsea in India.
Even viewers in the UK have no live TV coverage, but the live radio commentary will be available on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Viewers in the US can watch the Stoke City vs Chelsea Carling Cup fourth round match live on Bein Sports with live streaming option on Bein Sports Connect.
Viewers in Africa can watch the Stoke City vs Chelsea live on Supersport 3 Africa.