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Absence of Jose Mourinho may help, not hinder Chelsea players at Stoke

06 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Absence of Jose Mourinho may help, not hinder Chelsea players at Stoke

The fans' support for the Blues boss is clear, but his stadium ban could coincide with improved displays from the club's underperforming stars

The emphatic support Jose Mourinho received from the Chelsea supporters at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday should ensure that he remains as manager for a little while longer at least.

That the club also happened to record just their second win in nine games by defeating Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League Group G encounter won’t hurt, either.

And if the Blues make it three from 10 against Stoke City on Saturday night, then Mourinho’s position will be even more secure.

It turns out that the key to job security, funnily enough, is winning football matches.

The Premier League champions’ failure to do so this season – as opposed to, say, a personal vendetta against the Portuguese and his club – is the reason he is being questioned.

Such paranoia is why Mourinho will not be at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

The 52-year-old is serving a one-match stadium ban after admitting a misconduct charge over his language and behaviour following the defeat at West Ham two weeks ago.

It will be fascinating to see how the Chelsea players – many of whom are alleged to have fallen out with their boss – perform in his absence.

One player whose commitment and application is yet to be questioned is the Brazilian midfielder Willian, who has comfortably been the club’s best performer this season.

The 27-year-old scored the winner against the Ukrainian side in midweek, ensuring that he has already bettered his total in each of his first two seasons in English football.

Willian has five goals already – all from direct from free-kicks, impressively – and is 7/1 to score at any time in a Chelsea victory.

While the West London club have only taken three points in one of their five away games this campaign – losing and drawing two each – they have won in Staffordshire in two of the last three seasons.

They are 21/20 to do so again.

Stoke and Chelsea, of course, faced each other at the Britannia in the Capital One Cup last week – drawing 1-1 in normal and extra time before Mark Hughes’ side won the resulting penalty shootout.

The two sides remaining all square again at 90 minutes is 12/5, while a victory for the home side – which they achieved two seasons ago with a 3-2 win – is 11/4.

Mark Hughes’ side are also enduring a topsy-turvy season themselves, however.

After failing to win their first six league games, the Potters proceeded to win their next three.

But since the 1-0 triumph at Swansea last month, they have been beaten at home to Watford and drawn away at Newcastle – failing to score in both games.

The hosts have only scored nine times in 11 games this season, with Mame Biram Diouf (four), Jonathan Walters, Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic (all two) the only players to have registered.

Diouf has not started a Premier League game since the beginning of last month, but Walters, Bojan and Arnautovic are 11/4, 3/1 and 4/1 to score at any time respectively.

Chelsea’s display at the Britannia in that League Cup tie, meanwhile, was actually one of their better performances of the campaign.

It would be a surprise if their players, emboldened by victory in midweek – and perhaps by the absence of their divisive manager – were denied victory for the second time in 10 days.

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