Kevin De Bruyne is well aware of Stoke City’s reputation as being one of the most difficult away days in the Premier League calendar.
The Belgian was a sub for Chelsea almost exactly two years ago as Stoke rallied from behind to beat Jose Mourinho’s men 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium.
Though he wasn’t called upon that day, De Bruyne recalls the hostile atmosphere the home fans created and how that helped the Potters steal a late winner.
“I know going to Stoke can be difficult,” he said. “A lot of big teams have lost points there in recent years so we’re under no illusions that this will be a big test for us.
“They’ve changed their style over the last couple of years so I’m not sure if they will approach this game in the way they may have done previously, but I went there with Chelsea in 2013 and we lost that day so yeah, it will be a hard game again, I’m sure.
“I’ve got to admit, I’ve not watched Stoke play much since I returned to England – I don’t watch much football if I’m honest! But they’ve got some good, attacking players so it should be a good game.”
The Blues are also looking to improve a relatively poor scoring record on the road this season with just seven Premier League goals scored in six games so far.
Last season saw City end a run of seven visits to the Potteries without a win as Manuel Pellegrini’s side recorded a handsome 4-1 win – five of the previous six games at the Britannia had ended in hard-fought 1-1 draws.
De Bruyne scored the Blues’ last away goal in the defeat at Spurs in September and since then, 245 minutes have passed without City scoring for following goalless draws against Manchester United and Aston Villa.
The Belgium playmaker – with nine goals and nine assists already this campaign – believes the goals will come and points to missed chances rather than problems creating openings.
“I don’t think there’s a major issue with scoring goals away from home,” said De Bruyne. “The fact is we’ve created plenty of chances but we just haven’t converted enough of them.
“I’m not too worried as long as we’re making chances because that’s the important thing. Some days those opportunities will go in and some days they won’t. They’ll come, though.”