Sun 20 Jan 2013 13:30 (Attendance: 41,784)
It is a derby Sunday at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea aiming to repeat our win in north London back in September. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at the prospects for a league double…
First the good news: London's first European champions are eight points clear of Arsenal in the race for Champions League places as we go into this match, and our goal difference is notches superior to the Gunners.
The bad news is that our last-minute request to move this fixture to the Emirates was turned down. (That is a joke by the way.)
Jesting aside the disparity between recent results on the road and on the Fulham Road is remarkable. Away from home the five successive victories in all competitions is close to setting a new high.
Yet you have to look back to April 1995 to find a worst sequence over seven league games at the Bridge. Encouragingly, a few weeks later, in the last match of the '94/'95 season, Chelsea inflicted on Arsenal their 11th away defeat of the season to finish one place above them.
Earlier this season we won at the Emirates for the first time since 2009 (pictured below), and in far more convincing fashion than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
The Blues would be in second place on an away-only Premier League table behind Manchester United, but seventh were only home matches taken into account. Stoke, Everton, Spurs, West Bromwich Albion and the two Manchester clubs have better records on their own ground.
Over the last five home games Chelsea have the 15th best record (won one, drawn three, lost one), but no one has a superior track record over the past five away matches: won four, lost one.
Were fatigue a major factor in these dropped points it would be reasonable to expect it would have equal effect on home and away performances.
Not only have the Blues played at least five more games in all competitions than any other Premier League team this season, we have scored more goals and also have the best average of goals per game.
|Total competitive games in 2012/13|
Chelsea remained in third place after Wednesday's draw, easing a further point away from fourth-placed Tottenham, who host leaders Manchester United straight after our match on Sunday. It is 12 years since Spurs beat the Red Devils at White Hart Lane in the league.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Liverpool v Norwich 3pm
Manchester City v Fulham 3pm
Newcastle v Reading 3pm
Swansea v Stoke 3pm
West Ham v QPR 3pm
Wigan v Sunderland 3pm
West Brom v Aston Villa 5.30pm - ESPN
Chelsea v Arsenal 1.30pm Sky Sports
Tottenham v Manchester United 4pm - Sky Sports
Southampton v Everton 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 17
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (13 for Newcastle) 14
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 10
Edin Džeko (Manchester City) 10
Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 10
Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Petr Cech 9
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 9
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 8
Arsenal beat Swansea City 1-0 on Wednesday night in the FA Cup. Our Capital One Cup semi-final opponents, who will protect a 2-0 lead next week in the second leg at the Liberty Stadium, were much-changed, resting several key performers.
Chelsea are seeking a first derby win at the Bridge this season, having drawn with Fulham and lost to QPR so far. The Blues have beaten Arsenal (2-1) and Spurs (4-2) away, losing to West Ham and drawing with Rangers. This is only the Gunners' second trip across London of the league campaign; Chelsea delivered their only capital punishment at the Emirates.
|Premier London League|
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Former Chelsea winger Clive Walker weighs up how Chelsea might bring derby spoils to the Bridge for the first time in the league this season.
'Everyone is discussing the disparity between away performances, which have been terrific, and the home ones which, recently, haven't. As a former pro I can say one thing. I've heard some people say players are unaffected by atmosphere at games. If that's the case, why would people bother to travel the distances they do and cheer the team on?
'I know from experience that as a player when you have a group of fans backing you it gives you an enormous boost - you run that extra few yards and jump that extra few inches higher. You all feel part of the same thing. When you're on the pitch you want to feel the fans are enjoying the display - there's no better feeling.
'The team haven't been able to produce a home win for a few weeks. Maybe the Bridge has been a fortress for so long that the players sometimes take their foot off the gas.
'If they do that for more than a moment against Arsenal it could be fatal, as we saw last season when Robin van Persie was with them.
'We have to play well to beat teams at the moment, we cannot drift in games. This is a young side and perhaps we don't have the on-pitch leadership we had in recent seasons.
'John Terry is being considered to start a game once more. You get the drive from that type of player which infects teammates with the winning mentality to finish the job. However well or not JT plays, that mentality is always there.
'I detect a lack of leadership in Arsenal, not like the days of Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit. Jack Wilshere has a little of that power, too, though he can lose his rag occasionally. And we all saw Laurent Koscielny arguably throw the game away against Man City last weekend by doing a rugby tackle and being sent off.
'Abou Diaby (pictured below) can be a big player for Arsenal, giving them more strength and power in central midfield with his rangy stride. Is he fit enough to play 90 minutes after the long injury? That would be my query.
'Ramires's running will be key to tracking him when he makes his runs. One of the big issues when you play Arsenal is concentration. Keep your discipline, shape and focus, and be wary of their counterattacking because they have great players who can carve you open when you make a mistake. Cazorla looks very elusive and difficult to mark at times. We have had problems in the areas he likes to take up too.
'Obviously this is the first season for a while Arsenal haven't had to face their nemesis, Didier Drogba. He bullied and outmuscled their defence every time and convinced himself he was going to beat them every time. Demba Ba is as close as we have to him but he doesn't have the history or terror Didier did, although he has netted twice in three matches against them.
'I still think we have the resources and strength to cause them lots of problems, and the corresponding match at the Emirates proved that - we dominated them in every area of the pitch. They will miss the injured Mikel Arteta, who calmly keeps things ticking over in midfield.
'When you are playing a top-six side you look for weaknesses and I don't think Bacary Sagna has had a great season for the Gunners at right-back. It wouldn't surprise me if Chelsea targeted him through Eden Hazard, who has been excellent in recent weeks. Ashley Cole needs to back Eden up to exploit space, because I think Sagna gets caught in no man's land every now and then.
'Rafa Benitez made some selection decisions early in his time here where he moved Ramires and David Luiz both forward, but he has reverted them in the last few matches. I prefer them where they are now but the manager will know them better than we do.
'The most important thing is that we retain our focus and intensity. Do that and I think we will celebrating a double league victory over the Arsenal.'
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WE HAVE HISTORY
In October 1938 a crowd of just under 64,500 came to the Bridge to see if Leslie Knighton's talented underachievers could knock George Allison's Arsenal, champions the previous season, off their perch.
The task proved easier than expected, even though the Gunners' ranks included goalie George Swindin and prolific forwards Cliff Bastin and Ted Drake, who would later manage the Blues to our own league title in 1955.
Other than England international keeper Vic Woodley (pictured below) the Pensioners' was a less stellar line-up, although the likes of long-throw expert Sam Weaver, winger Dicky Spence and inside-left Harry Burgess had a smattering of England caps under their belts.
The media were often unkind to Chelsea in those days, and as impressed as he was John Macadam in the Express could not resist a dig, suggesting this was an unusual 'Chelsea that looked as little like the Chelsea of the jokes and the cartoons as I look like Clark Gable' (a 1930s matinee idol - ask your grandparents).
The reason for his positive slant was that the hosts were far better organised, hungrier and more dynamic than the north London visitors. Especially impressive was Liverpudlian winger Alf Hanson, a summer signing, who tormented the Arsenal rearguard with determined runs and accurate crossing.
Hanson also netted the Pensioners' first two goals, either side of Reg Cumner's equaliser. George Mills, a loyal servant and goal-getter who was frequently overlooked in favour of more glamorous buys, also caused problems with soft-shoe control, and broke clear of Bernard Joy to grab Chelsea's crucial fourth.
Again Kirchin replied for the Gunners, but Harry Burgess restored the two-goal gap to produce a memorable 4-2 victory for west London. Chelsea leapfrogged the Gunners, who were demoted to 15th place.
Back to today, and the Blues have won four of the last seven Premier League meetings at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal have won only four of the last 22 meetings in all competitions over the past nine years.
Arsenal's last piece of silverware was the 2005 FA Cup when they defeated Manchester United on penalties at the Millennium Stadium.
Since then Chelsea have won the Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and two Community Shields.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
2002/03 - Drew 1-1
2003/04 - Arsenal won 2-1
2004/05 - Drew 0-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 1-0
2006/07 - Drew 1-1
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-1
2008/09 - Arsenal won 2-1
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Chelsea won 2-0
2011/12 - Arsenal won 5-3
Reverse fixture this season
29 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
Gervinho 42 Torres 19
Chelsea v Arsenal in all competitions
Games played 178
Chelsea wins 55
Arsenal wins 71
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 75
Chelsea wins 25
Arsenal wins 25
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
27/09/1969 - Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal
29/11/1930 - Chelsea 1-5 Arsenal
Chelsea won a trophy: 246
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,801
Liverpool won the league: 8,296
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.
Chelsea have won only two of our last eight games at Stamford Bridge and failed to score in four of them.
We have won six out of the last nine matches scoring 27 goals.
West Ham away was the only occasion this season, out of 14; we have opened the scoring in the Premier League and went on to lose the game.
No team has kept more Premier League clean sheets than Chelsea's nine.
The Blues are 10 points better off compared to the corresponding 22 fixtures last season.
We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term.
|Last six results|