Sat 12 Jan 2013 15:00 (Attendance: 27,348)
After two cup competitions it is back to the bread and butter fixtures. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton lay out a feast of facts and figures…
Well, it really is feast or famine at the moment. Having hit 16 goals in the three previous Capital One Cup matches, a blank and two conceded was unpredictable. Then again, Chelsea have won only two of our last seven home games and have now not hit the net in four of the last six matches at the Bridge.
The disappointing home defeat matched that in the last season's fifth round against Liverpool, which was conclusive as it was an earlier round. At least the Blues have the chance - admittedly slimmer than anticipated - of reaching the final with a reparatory performance at the Liberty Stadium a week on Wednesday.
If home comforts are hard to find at present, away days have been booming. A win at Stoke will equal our record sequence of six successive top-flight away wins in league and cup, previously achieved in 2004/05 (twice), 2005/06 and 2006/07 (twice).
Punters will most likely not be going heavy on the goals aggregate for this match, though, which pits the joint meanest (Chelsea) and third tightest (Stoke) defences in the top flight against each other.
The Potters have played 12 fewer games than Chelsea and although they have a very good defensive record have only won six in all competitions. They have lost five and drawn 12.
Five of their nine clean sheets have been in 0-0 draws, just like the corresponding fixture to this last season. Chelsea won our last two meetings at the Bridge by one goal to nil.
Unbeaten throughout December, the Potters began the new year with a 0-3 defeat by champions Manchester City. A rotated side then drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend.
Demba Ba has managed four goals and two assists in four games against Stoke for West Ham and Newcastle, including a hat-trick last season at the Britannia Stadium.
Both teams have midweek fixtures looming: Stoke host an FA Cup replay against Palace on Tuesday, while Chelsea entertain the side we recently beat 5-1 in the same competition, Southampton, on Wednesday. That is the league game postponed from December when we were in Japan.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
QPR v Tottenham 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Southampton 3pm
Everton v Swansea 3pm
Fulham v Wigan 3pm
Norwich v Newcastle 3pm
Reading v West Brom 3pm
Stoke v Chelsea 3pm
Sunderland v West Ham 3pm
Manchester United v Liverpool 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Manchester City 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table top half|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 16
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (all for Newcastle) 13
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottemham) 10
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Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by former Blue Clive Walker to provide the second instalment of their information collection regarding this afternoon's fixture….
Chelsea need to return to winning ways. Former Blues winger Clive Walker considers where the game against Stoke will be won or lost.
'It's not a great surprise to me that we have had two upsets - QPR and Swansea - at home rather than away. Teams think they have worked out a way of nullifying us and it's easier to execute the plan when they're not in front of their own fans.
'Chelsea need to rediscover the means to break down teams that sling everyone behind the ball. What's perhaps disappointing is those two sides got what they wanted from the game without really pressing us very much. We had time on the ball but are not using it quite as well at home.
'Swansea set themselves up to say to us "break us down." Previously we've had such a great record at home that opponents were looking at it and were daunted. But a draw is always a great result away to Chelsea.
'It's different for opposing teams playing at home - they are expected by their fans to create and score and win. The players we have now are excellent at that counter attacking when sides come on to us, and that's why we are faring so well on our travels.
'Stoke have a lot of big, powerful men who are not so comfortable handling swift interplay. If we can reinstigate the one-touch football we will undo any team.
'Stoke's fans are very loud and helpful to their team but they demand the players get stuck into the opposition's faces - if we can keep our nerve that will help us as they are not the fastest at recovering their defensive positions from an attack. You can imagine Eden Hazard really testing them in that respect. It's a shame Victor Moses isn't around too.
'People talk about Tony Pulis's side playing more football but they still like to get the ball wide and fire it into the mixer - that's where they score all their goals, close range. Jonathan Walters is their top scorer, he has had the most shots for them and is their most fouled player.
'If they play Walters one side, Matthew Etherington the other with Kenwyne Jones or Peter Crouch upfront you know what their plan is. They are going to knock balls into the box and against Stoke you always have to win that battle to earn a result. Ross Turnbull will be under a lot of pressure and he will have to prove himself.
'Ryan Shotton is their new long throw expert - that is another battle you have to fight in order to win the war.
'John Terry played 45 minutes for the Under-21s and may play some part at the Britannia. It's the sort of game in which a fully fit JT is priceless - he relishes the scrap.
'An advantage smaller players often have over bigger ones is speed of foot. The nimbleness of the likes of Hazard and Oscar is something Stoke's backline will not be so comfortable dealing with.
'When I was older and playing in non-league football I would come up against some hulking players who might not be as swift of thought but I knew if they caught me I would be kicked up in the air and it would hurt.
'It's about being mentally sharp, knowing what you're going to do with the ball before it comes and whisking it away before they can take you out: don't hang around, keep moving!
'Chelsea have to be brave, strong and sharp. Everything they do: first touches, passes, shots - brisk and accurate.
'Demba Ba could make his league debut. He impressed at Southampton and in the cameo at the end of Swansea he fashioned four chances in 10 minutes.
'He's hit four goals in four games against Stoke. When you have that sign over a side you go into the game head high. Your preparation leading up to it is fabulous. You can't wait to get to the game and onto the pitch. You're a few inches taller than you usually are knowing this is a team that finds you a difficult customer.
'Stoke's defenders will know his record and in any case he is a handful, he's unorthodox and gives us very different options. He will fancy his chances against them even though they're unbeaten at home this season.
Stoke have no new injury concerns. Defender Marc Wilson (broken leg) and midfielder Rory Delap (hernia) are long-term casualties.
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea have been travelling to Stoke since the first away match of the 1922/23 season, when two goals from inside-left Buchanan Sharp provided the Pensioners with a 2-1 win.
The Blues' margins of victory on the Potters' home soil have rarely been comfortable. Our record win there came in 1988/89 during a storming promotion run out of Division Two, and it was only Stoke's second loss at home to date.
The 3-0 victory was all the more impressive for the fact that for 52 minutes Bobby Campbell's side played with 10 men, midfielder Peter Nicholas having been shown a red card for allegedly head-butting the Potters' Simon Stainrod after just three minutes.
Unperturbed, the Blues attacked the hosts and were soon rewarded with a penalty that skipper and centre-back Graham Roberts converted (as ever). With Clive Wilson (more usually a left-back) a constant threat down the left flank, it was a surprise it took until the 52nd minute to double the lead, Wilson (pictured below) being justly rewarded for his performance with his first notch of the season.
Five minutes later Stainrod was dismissed for a second bookable offence, a late tackle on Chelsea's other Wilson, striker Kevin, and the emphatic win was completed by Scots winger Kevin McAllister.
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten league run against Stoke to 14 games. We have won two and drawn two of our league games at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke's last league win against us was 38 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.
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.
|Our last 10 league games at Stoke|
|1971/72||Stoke won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1972/73||Drew 1-1||Old Division 1|
|1973/74||Stoke won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1974/75||Stoke won 3-0||Old Division 1|
|1984/85||Chelsea won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1988/89||Chelsea won 3-0||Old Division 2|
|2008/09||Chelsea won 2-0||Premier League|
|2009/10||Chelsea won 2-1||Premier League|
|2010/11||Drew 1-1||Premier League|
|2011/12||Drew 0-0||Premier League|
The reverse match this season
22 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea v Stoke in all competitions
Games played 88
Chelsea wins 40
Stoke wins 27
Head to head in the league at Victoria Ground and Britannia Stadium
Games played 38
Chelsea wins 15
Stoke wins 15
Biggest league win at Stoke for each team
Stoke 6-1 Chelsea - 04/02/1939, 15/02/1947
Stoke 0-3 Chelsea - 03/12/1988
Chelsea lost a league game against Stoke: 13,797
Stoke lost at home in the Premier League: 343
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,793
Liverpool won the league: 8,288
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.
West Ham away was the only occasion this season (of 12) Chelsea have opened the scoring in the Premier League and gone on to lose the game.
Only Stoke, with nine, have kept more Barclays Premier League clean sheets than Chelsea's eight.
The Blues are 10 points better off compared to the corresponding 20 fixtures last season.
We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term.
|Last six results|
|Dec 23||Aston Villa (h)||W 8-0|
|Dec 26||Norwich (a)||W 1-0|
|Dec 30||Everton (a)||W 2-1|
|Jan 2||QPR (h)||L 0-1|
|Jan 5||Southampton (FA Cup 3rd round a)||W 5-1|
|Jan 9||Swansea (League Cup semi-final 1st leg h)||L 0-2|
Premier League scorers
Mata 7, Torres 7, Lampard 6 (2 pens), E Hazard 4 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1. Total 39
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 5
An away defeat: 3
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 12 Jan||Stoke away||3pm|
|Wed 16 Jan||Southampton home||7.45pm|
|Wed 23 Jan||Swansea (League Cup SF 2nd leg) away||7.45pm|
1 League Cup in 1972
Stoke have the longest home unbeaten run in the Premier League - 17 games stretching back to February last year when Sunderland were the victors by the only goal.
Stoke have the tightest home defence record conceding only seven goals in 10 matches. Three of those came in their last outing at the Britannia against Southampton.
The Potters are only top-flight club to remain undefeated at home this season. They have beaten Swansea, QPR, Fulham, Newcastle and Liverpool and drawn with Arsenal, Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton and Southampton.
Only Aston Villa and QPR have scored fewer Premier League goals than Stoke's 21. They have failed to score in eight of their 21 matches including three of their last six.
Stoke have suffered only one defeat in their last 12 in all competitions - to Manchester City on New Years Day.
Tony Pulis is the fourth longest serving manager in the Premier League.
Manager Tony Pulis
Days in charge: 2,403
|Potters' last 10 year league history|
|2002/03||50||21st||League Division One||2|
|2003/04||66||11th||League Division One||2|
Stoke's best seasons in the top flight were in 1935/36 and 1946/47 when they finished fourth. The Potters last and only major trophy was the League Cup in 1972 when as underdogs; they defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley.
|Last six results|
|Dec 15||Everton (h)||D 1-1|
|Dec 22||Tottenham (a)||D 0-0|
|Dec 26||Liverpool (h)||W 3-1|
|Dec 29||Southampton (h)||D 3-3|
|Jan 1||Manchester City (a)||L 0-3|
|Jan 5||Crystal Palace (FA Cup 3rd round a)||D 0-0|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
Walters 5 (1 pen), Crouch 4, Jones 3, Adam 2, Jerome 2, Kightly 2, Upson 1, Whitehead 1, own goals 1. Total 21.
League games since
A home win: 1
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 17
Completed January transfers
Ins Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan)
Outs Danny Higginbotham (Sheffield United, free), Michael Tonge (Leeds, undisclosed).
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Andre Marriner is refereeing his third Blues match this season having previously been the official at Leeds in the League Cup and the Premier League game at Loftus Road.
There are no suspensions.
Chelsea moved up into third place of the Barclays Premier League with a comfortable away win, which saw a combination of good fortune and a strong team performance.
Stoke were unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium since February and they started confidently, but it was the visitors who went in front just before the break thanks to an own goal from Jonathan Walters.
Stoke almost had a penalty, only ruled out due to a late offside call, before Walters repeated his earlier trick and put us two in front just after the hour.
Within three minutes we were three up, Frank Lampard smashing in a penalty after Juan Mata was fouled, and the game was won, only for Eden Hazard to grab some headlines for himself with a fine drive 20 minutes from time.
Further good news came with the introduction of John Terry as a substitute late on, two months and one day after he sustained a knee injury against Liverpool.
It was the captain whose slip provided Stoke, and Walters, with the chance of a late consolation when he tripped the Ireland international, who dusted himself down to take the penalty, only to blaze it high over the crossbar and round off what was probably the worst day of his professional career.
Three points, goal difference boosted and a climb above Spurs in the league table makes for a very successful Saturday afternoon.
Rafael Benitez made significant changes to his side, with Petr Cech available once more in goal and Lampard selected to captain the side from the middle of midfield. That meant David Luiz dropping into defence to replace Gary Cahill, who left the squad's hotel to be at his partner's side as she went into labour. A baby boy was born shortly before kick-off.
On a bitterly cold Staffordshire afternoon it was the home side who first threatened to raise the termperature when a long-range volley was deflected into Kenwyne Jones's path after just seven minutes. With only Cech to beat, the striker dragged his shot wide of the far post.
At the other end Hazard, whose performance against Swansea in midweek was one of few pluses for Chelsea, tricked his way inside the area but could not pick out Ba with his pass. That was followed by Cesar Azpilicueta trying similar from the right, but achieving the same result.
They were our only attacks in an opening where the home side forced a series of corners, always dangerous against such a physically imposing side, though but for a Steven Nzonzi header well claimed by Cech, there was little threat on the Chelsea goal.
We finally broke forward again on 24 minutes, and after some excellent possession football it looked for all the world as though Lampard would fire us in front when from 15 yards he drove hard and low to Asmir Begovic's right. The goalkeeper reacted quickly though, and stuck out just enough leg to make the save.
Ba forced another save from Begovic 10 minutes later, the keeper going with his legs again, and Ramires was denied by a flying tackle following up, but the stopper could do nothing on the stroke of half-time as Azpilicueta floated a cross into the danger area, and with Juan Mata poised to convert, Walters dived in to block, only to send an unstoppable header into the corner of the net.
It was a huge slice of luck for Chelsea, and provided us with a half-time lead it was hard to argue we deserved. The job now was to preserve it for the second 45 minutes.
Five minutes into the second period we had the chance to double our advantage when Ba broke down the right and pulled back into the area for Ashley Cole, who shot hard first-time but once more Begovic blocked with his foot, this time at the near post.
Cech's first action came shortly later when Nzonzi thundered a drive towards his top corner, bringing an acrobatic tip over the crossbar. From the corner, Huth headed narrowly wide.
This prompted a short-lived spell of pressure from Stoke, which brought a penalty claim from Etherington. Ref Andre Marriner pointed to the spot following Azpilicueta's tackle, but we received a reprieve courtesy of Sian Massey's offside flag.
The fortune kept coming. First, Walters headed Mata's corner into his own net to double our lead and his own tally of own goals, and then Mata was brought down inside the area to gift Lampard a penalty, which he converted powerfully straight down the middle to go clear as the second highest goalscorer in Chelsea history.
From one up and facing a penalty, inside five minutes we were three goals to the good and well out of sight. They do say football is a funny old game.
Well in control, Chelsea now could press for more goals. Lampard should have had a second when Ba headed down Mata's cross, but he fired straight at Begovic from six yards.
Hazard's stock continues to rise, and he added to his burgeoning reputation with a stunning individual effort just inside the final 20 minutes, cutting inside on to his left foot and arrowing a left-footed drive into the far top corner from around 30 yards. Begovic never saw it, and it will surely feature when Chelsea's Goal of the Season contenders are announced.
Terry's introduction came with 12 minutes to go, and he was joined by Paulo Ferreira not long after, the Portuguese still a crowd favourite with the travelling support, who made their appreciation for both heard.
A Terry slip inside his own box saw him trip Walters two minutes from time. Given the afternoon he had endured, it was brave of the Stoke man to volunteer himself for the resultant spot kick, yet when he blazed it high into the Boothen End, it seemed of very little surprise. He will want to forget the afternoon quickly, but for Chelsea, it was one to savour.
Stoke (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilkinson; Whelan, Nzonzi; Walters, Adam (Whitehead 78), Etherington (Kightly 86); Jones (Jerome 78).
Unused subs Sorensen, Upson, Crouch, Shotton.
Booked Wilkinson 38
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta (Ferreira 82), Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cole; Lampard (c), Ramires; Hazard, Mata (Terry 79), Bertrand; Ba (Torres 71).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ake, Oscar, Marin.
Goals Walters og 45+2, og 62, Lampard (pen) 65, Hazard 72
Referee Andre Marriner