PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V STOKE CITY - PART ONE
The second of a trilogy of home games is nearly upon us as Italian opposition is replaced by the team from the Potteries. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton watch the wheel turn…
From defending champions to unbeaten league leaders as we seamlessly switch competitions. This weekend's opponents have had a blank week in which to prepare while Chelsea suffered the disappointment of surrendering a two-goal lead against a very good Juventus side.
That result means Roberto Di Matteo's team have not won in three matches, though Chelsea are six points better off compared to the corresponding Barclays Premier League games in 2011/12, with three clean sheets where last season there were none.
The manager will be concerned that lapses in concentration are hurting the Blues at present, and Stoke are fully licensed members of the awkward squad. However, Chelsea have won all four Premier League meetings with them at the Bridge, notching up 12 goals to the Potters' one.
Running over from last season, Chelsea have won five of the last six league matches at the Bridge, and avenged the only loss, against Newcastle, in the most recent of those.
Oscars night is usually at the end of February. Understandably, though, spectators and reporters went wild about his display on Wednesday night: his clam job on Pirlo almost as creditable as that sensational second goal. Surely the debutant's strike ranks among the best goals witnessed in our 107-year-old stadium.
As one supporter put it: the young Brazilian has nothing to declare but his genius. Shame his night ended after a callous stamp by Leonardi Bonucci that went unpunished. UEFA may choose to re-examine the incident and act accordingly.
Only Arsenal have conceded fewer league goals than Chelsea's two.
This weekend's match against Stoke is the second 'traditional' 3pm Saturday league kick-off in a row. The last time that happened was, by coincidence, when the same club visited the Bridge in March.
Chelsea's fixtures list remains congested with weekend league and midweek cup games until the international break in early October.
When the home clash with Norwich on 6 October is over the Blues will already have played 12 matches, one more than Manchester City, two more than the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, and four more than Stoke.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City have not yet faced a team from the top half of the table. The latter two play each other this weekend.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Swansea v Everton 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Chelsea v Stoke 3pm
Southampton v Aston Villa 3pm
West Brom v Reading 3pm
West Ham v Sunderland 3pm
Wigan v Fulham 3pm
Liverpool v Manchester United 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Newcastle v Norwich 3pm
Manchester City v Arsenal 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table top 12|
WE HAVE HISTORY
This weekend Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten league run against Stoke to 13 games.
Three seasons ago they were the visitors a week after a disappointing defeat at White Hart Lane had threatened to derail our title charge. John Terry was suspended as a result of a red card against Spurs, and the unfamiliar centre-back pairing of Branislav Ivanovic and Alex, would have to cope with Stoke's expected aerial assault.
Instead a dogged but lack-lustre City side lost their skipper Abdoulaye Faye early on and Salomon Kalou headed in the first of a hat-trick midway through the first half. Soon after the Ivorian had added a second he collided with goalie Thomas Sorensen, who had to be replaced by Asmir Begovic.
The Bosnian had been a rumoured target of Chelsea, but his 'audition' did not go well. He was sent the wrong way by Frank Lampard from spot just before half-time, then only parried Kalou's shot, allowing the striker to make it 4-0. Lampard again, Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda completed the seven-goal rout. The Blues went on to win the Double.
This fixture was first played in Division One 90 years ago this month. That season most matches were played as 'pairs' back-to-back, and the Pensioners had won at the Victoria Ground a week earlier.
A tight return at the Bridge exploded into life when first Harry Wilding's long-range shot eluded Potters goalie Leslie Scott, and two minutes later top scorer Jimmy Broad equalised with a low shot.
Jack Cock turned in a Chelsea corner early in the second half and almost added to the lead shortly after, hitting a post and injuring an ankle in the process. While he was off the field receiving treatment Buchanan Sharp converted a pass from winger Harry Ford.
Late on, Ben Baker (more famous for scoring a penalty for Chelsea) was beaten from the spot by Broad to make the final score 3-2.
Back to modern times and Stoke's last victory against the Blues was at Stamford Bridge in 1995 in the League Cup second round when Paul Peschisolido scored the only goal.
The Potters' last league victory against us was 37 years ago on April 5th 1975 in the old First Division. City won 3-0 at the Victoria Ground with goals from Terry Conroy (2) and Jimmy Greenhoff.
Ray Wilkins was in the Chelsea team when the Potters last won a league game at Stamford Bridge in April 1974. Alan Hudson scored the only goal against his old club.
The last time Stoke came away from the Bridge with a point was in December 1984. Kerry Dixon and Paul Dyson scored the goals in a 1-1 draw.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1971/72 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Division One
1972/73 - Stoke won 3-1 - Division One
1973/74 - Stoke won 1-0 - Division One
1974/75 - Drew 3-3 - Division One
1984/85 - Drew 1-1 - Division One
1988/89 - Chelsea won 2-1 - Division Two
2008/09 - Chelsea won 2-1 - Premier League
2009/10 - Chelsea won 7-0 - Premier League
2010/11 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Premier League
2011/12 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Premier League
Other match last season
14 August 2011 Premier League
Chelsea v Stoke in all competitions
Games played 87
Chelsea wins 39
Stoke wins 27
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 38
Chelsea wins 21
Stoke wins 7
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City - 25/04/2010
Chelsea 2-5 Stoke City - 12/10/1946
Visit tomorrow for more briefing.