Paul Ince states ‘tough’ prediction for Stoke v Chelsea

The Man United legend is backing Chelsea to edge a "tough" clash against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Ince is backing Chelsea to edge a closely fought victory against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Antonio Conte’s side can ill-afford to drop more points in the title race despite being in the early stages of the 2017-18 campaign.

Premier League leaders Manchester City and Manchester United have already secured a three-point advantage over the defending champions.

Chelsea lost 3-2 to Burnley in their opening Premier League fixture of the 2017-18 season before a goalless draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

However, the west London side haven’t put a foot wrong on the road in the Premier League so far following 2-1 victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

Stoke are the only team to take a point of free-scoring Manchester United so far after Jose Mourinho’s side were forced to settle for a 2-2 at the bet365 Stadium.

Mark Hughes’ men were impressive 1-0 winners against Chelsea’s title rivals Arsenal in the second round of fixtures in the Premier League back in August.

However, former Manchester United captain Ince doesn’t expect Chelsea to suffer the same fate as their title rivals on Saturday.

“I know everyone says it, Stoke is a tough place to visit, but really it is,” Ince told the Daily Express.

“You saw Manchester United’s visit there the other week wasn’t as straightforward as we all anticipated. Though I’d hope a full strength Chelsea side will just edge them.”

Chelsea won the Premier League title with a seven-point cushion over their closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur in Conte’s first season in charge last term.

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