PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED - PART ONE
Sunday's home game brings a reverse of the first away game of the season. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton weigh up the prospects as the league champions come calling…
Chelsea have taken 31 points from the last 33 available at Stamford Bridge. A victory on Sunday against Manchester United would be the Blues' 100th from 142 Premier League matches under Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach's unbeaten home record in the top flight currently stands at an equally remarkable 70.
The Old Trafford outfit recently suffered three successive defeats for the first time since 2001. The Red Devils' goal difference against their rivals for a European finish suggests they are currently punching above their weight in the league, and perhaps that is because they are fairing notably better against inferior opposition.
|Top seven mini-league *|
All the top seven Barclays Premier League sides won last weekend, suggesting that the tournament is not quite as balanced as it might be. Chelsea will now aim to extend the five-point gap to the side in fifth as the second half of the season progresses, in order to secure a Champions League place.
When neutrals and opponents start muttering about 'grinding' and the 'Chelsea machine' you can start believing we have our Mourinho era back. Fernando Torres's outstanding effort in the 2-0 win at the KC Stadium means he now has three goals in his last six league games. Our third successive shutout on the road meant Petr Cech duly eased ahead of fellow Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti to register his 209th clean sheet.
By coincidence 209 is the same total the club's all-time top scorer Frank Lampard has registered so far. What a rare privilege to be a fan of Chelsea during such a period.
There is also a new face to welcome back to the fold: Portugal's 2012/13 player of the year, Nemanja Matic. The Serbia international is the 10th prodigal son to return to Stamford Bridge.
The full list is: Alec Cheyne, who left in 1932 and returned in 1934; Allan Harris 1964, 1966; Charlie Cooke 1972, 1974; Alan Hudson 1974, 1983; Peter Osgood 1974, 1978; John Hollins 1975, 1983; Steve Wicks 1979, 1986; Nigel Spackman 1987, 1992; Graeme Le Saux 1993, 1997; and Matic 2011, 2014.
Any media commentator rushing to judgment on the money the Blues received and paid out for the 25-year-old might ponder that, for example, Arsenal sold Martin Keown in 1986 for £200,000 and bought him back in 1993 for 10 times that amount. And how Sunday's opponents, United, could do with the £30m-plus rated centre-back Gerard Pique, who they sold back to Camp Nou for virtually the same fee they paid Barcelona.
Meantime, while the Special One has been able to add Matic to his tactical preparations for Sunday this week, Man United's Chosen One and his assistant Phil Neville appear to have been on an 'If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium' scouting mission around European football grounds.
When Sir Alex Ferguson went to watch a player it was an indication the end game in a transfer was close. His successor does things differently. New scouts were among the staff David Moyes sensibly brought with him, and he has replaced most of Ferguson's backroom staff. He now clearly feels the need to refresh his playing personnel.
It is a busy few days ahead for Man United with a crucial Capital One Cup semi-final second leg next week to factor in. They returned to winning ways last weekend, making it an impressive five victories from six matches in the league.
Three consecutive 1-2 defeats in all competitions at the start of the year had given the impression the 'bus that waits for no one' was forcing its passengers to get out and walk. West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Newcastle and Swansea have won at Old Trafford for the first time in decades or, in the Swans' case, ever.
Moyes, who has pitted his wits against Chelsea more than any other team, has never beaten a Mourinho side, nor won in the league at the Bridge, Arsenal or Anfield.
The Scot has achieved virtually the same record he had with Everton at last season's mid-point: 34 from 19 with the Red Devils, compared to 33 from 19 in 2012/13. Man United had amassed 46 in the last campaign; Everton under Roberto Martinez had 37 after 19 games this season.
Chelsea's 46 points after 21 matches is five better than last season's campaign.
Arsenal and Manchester City are hot favourites to take all three points again from their matches this weekend, yet Fulham have managed consecutive score draws at Emirates and City were stunned by a 2-3 defeat at Cardiff earlier this season. In the next batch of league games both the top two plays away (at Southampton and Spurs respectively), while Chelsea host West Ham.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Sunderland v Southampton 12.45pm - BT Sport
Arsenal v Fulham 3pm
Crystal Palace v Stoke 3pm
Manchester City v Cardiff 3pm
Norwich v Hull 3pm
West Ham v Newcastle 3pm
Liverpool v Aston Villa 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Swansea v Tottenham 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Chelsea v Manchester United 4pm - Sky Sports
West Brom v Everton 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top 10|
The Blues have scored 12 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches this season, more than any other Barclays Premier League club.
Chelsea have won 16 and drawn three of our last 19 home Premier League games, since QPR won at Stamford Bridge on 2 January last year.
Since the November international break, the Blues have won 25 points from a possible 30. Only Man City with 28 have won more in the same period.
Chelsea have gained 14 points from losing positions this season, the best record in the Premier League.
We have the equal tightest defence (with Everton and Arsenal) with 19 goals conceded in 21 games.
We have kept five clean sheets and conceded just one goal in our last six league and cup matches, and four in five in the Premier League.
The Blues are five points up compared to the corresponding 21 fixtures last season.
Jose Mourinho is unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in all 85 domestic games in open play. In the Premier League it's 70 unbeaten.
|Last six results|
|Dec 23||Arsenal (a)||D 0-0|
|Dec 26||Swansea (h)||W 1-0|
|Dec 29||Liverpool (h)||W 2-1|
|Jan 1||Southampton (a)||W 3-0|
|Jan 5||Derby (FA Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Jan 11||Hull (a)||W 2-0|
A home win: 0
League games since
A home draw: 4
A home defeat: 19
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sun 26 Jan||Stoke (FA Cup) home||3.30pm|
|Wed 29 Jan||West Ham home||7.45pm|
|Mon 3 Feb||Manchester City away||8pm*|
*Sat 1 Feb 5.30pm if either team is involved in an FA Cup replay
Jose Mourinho's next league win will be his 100th in the Premier League. His Chelsea record so far from 141 league games is 99 win, 29 draws and 13 defeats.
Frank Lampard's next converted penalty will be his 50th for the Blues.
Lampard's next goal will be the 250th in his club career (Chelsea 209, West Ham 39, Swansea 1).
MAN UTD STATS
Formed 1878 (as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway FC)
20 League championships, last in 2013
11 FA Cups, last in 2004
4 League Cups, last in 2010
20 FA Charity/Community Shields (incl 4 shared), last in 2013
3 European Cups, last in 2008
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1991
1 UEFA Super Cup in 1991
1 Intercontinental Cup in 1999
1 FIFA Club World Cup in 2008
Despite lying seventh in the Premier League and having lost four of their 11 matches at Old Trafford, Man United do have the third best away record with 20 points from a possible 30. Only Arsenal (25) and Tottenham (22) have won more.
They are unbeaten in seven away in the league since they lost the Manchester derby in September, and have won the last three on their travels.They have won six - at Swansea, Sunderland, Fulham, Aston Villa, Hull and Norwich, drawn two at Cardiff and Tottenham and lost two (both in September) at Liverpool and Man City .
Only Liverpool (24 in 11) and Arsenal (23 in 11) have scored more away goals than Man United's 21 in 10 matches.
Man United haven't lost any of the 10 games when they opened the scoring and have gained 10 points from losing positions, second only to Chelsea.
Manager David Moyes
Days in charge: 245
|Red Devils' last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Dec 26||Hull (a)||W 3-2|
|Dec 28||Norwich (a)||W 1-0|
|Jan 1||Tottenham (h)||L 1-2|
|Jan 5||Swansea (FA Cup h)||L 1-2|
|Jan 7||Sunderland (Capital One Cup a)||L 1-2|
|Jan 11||Swansea (h)||W 2-0|
Premier League scorers (35)
Rooney 9 (1 pen), Welbeck 8, Van Persie 7 (1 pen), Januzaj 3, Valencia 2, Cleverley 1, Evra 1, Hernandez 1, Smalling 1, Young 1, own goal 1.
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 3
An away defeat: 7
Completed January transfers
Ins Bertrand Traore (Bobo-Dioulasso, undisclosed), Nemanja Matic (Benfica, undisclosed)
Outs Bertrand Traore (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Patrick Bamford (Derby, loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, loan), Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Phil Dowd is making his first appearance at Stamford Bridge since 1 April last year when Man United were beaten 1-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final replay.
Fabio is suspended for Manchester United.
Visit again tomorrow for Part Two of the Briefing
- Join Ben Andrews and Jason Cundy on Chelsea TV on Sunday as they bring you exclusive build-up and live commentary of Chelsea's game against Man Utd.