Wed 09 Jan 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 40,172)
Another game, another competition, and it's an all-Premier League contest for a place at Wembley. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton focus on the first 90 minutes…
Tonight Chelsea start our 11th League Cup semi-final tie as we strive to lift the trophy for the fifth time in our history. Only Liverpool (10 wins) and fellow last-four side Aston Villa (five) have lifted the tri-handled trophy on more occasions.
The weekend FA Cup win at Southampton was the sixth game in which the Blues have registered five or more goals this season, and matched the 5-1 scoreline recorded at Leeds in the previous round of the Capital One Cup.
Chelsea's other action in this competition to date has resulted in a 5-4 victory over Manchester United and a 6-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers, producing a remarkable total of 16 goals scored.
It was widely reported that Frank Lampard equalled 1980/90s icon Kerry Dixon's tally of 193 goals in all competitions at the weekend to go level second on the club's all-time list.
Less prevalent was mention that at the same time he also drew level with top scorer Bobby Tambling with 25 FA Cup strikes. (A fact of which even our history-making no.8 himself was unaware.)
Lampard has never played against Swansea for Chelsea but was on loan with them while at West Ham in 1995/96, making nine appearances and scoring once.
He was injured in early November when we drew 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium and an unused substitute in the 4-1 plucking of Brendan Rodgers' Swans in September 2011.
January signatory Demba Ba is the only member of the Blues' squad to taste defeat against the Welshmen recently - he scored in a 1-2 loss for Newcastle United at St James' in mid-December.
Ba's scoring debut at St Mary's made him only the 12th player in Chelsea history to net two or more on an official debut, and it is a list featuring many of the club's elite (see below). Just two men have bettered that opening brace: the legendary 'Gatling Gun' George Hilsdon hit five against Glossop in 1906 and amateur forward Seamus O'Connell scored a hat-trick in our title-winning season, 1954/55, but, uniquely, still ended up on the losing side.
|Players to score two goals or more on debut|
|Jan 2013||Demba Ba||Southampton (FA Cup a)||W 5-1|
|Aug 1983||Kerry Dixon||Derby (Div 2 h)||W 5-0|
|Sep 1982||David Speedie||Oldham (Div 2 h)||W 2-0|
|Dec 1964||Peter Osgood||Workington (League Cup h)||W 2-0|
|Oct 1954||Seamus O'Connell (3)||Man Utd (Div 1 h)||L 5-6|
|Oct 1947||Bobby Campbell||Aston Villa (Div 1 h)||W 4-2|
|Sep 1947||Jimmy Bowie||Sunderland (Div 1 a)||W 3-2|
|Dec 1937||Sidney Bidewell||Huddersfield (Div 1 h)||W 3-1|
|Feb 1920||Buchanan Sharp||Blackburn (Div 1 h)||W 2-1|
|Nov 1919||Jack Cock||Bradford Park Ave (Div 1 h)||W 4-0|
|Sep 1906||George Hilsdon (5)||Glossop (Div 2 h)||W 9-2|
|Oct 1905||Frank Pearson||Lincoln (Div 2 a)||W 4-1|
Ba became the first overseas Blue to hit two on debut and the first player to do so in the FA Cup. He is only the third to manage a brace in an opening bow away from home.
Saturday was not the first match in which the Senegal international scored on his full club debut. He struck twice for West Ham in a 3-3 draw at West Brom in February 2011.
Rafael Benitez has already acknowledged his pleasure at now having two strikers hitting goals, allowing him to select one, the other or both.
He is also delighted with the reaction of his team to the shock and disappointment of losing to QPR the last time we played at the Bridge. The team is learning, he believes, that at the highest level of football focus is required all the time.
This is a lesson for several new players drafted in during the summer and still adapting to the Premier League. It is not just that that matches come around every three days - and with Southampton's visit scheduled by the Premier League for next Wednesday there can be no let-up on that until early February.
For some arrivals from abroad it is the first season without a winter break. Others - David Luiz for instance - may be playing in a more energy-sapping role than before.
Impressive Swansea manager Michael Laudrup bemoaned the fact his side drew with Arsenal in the FA Cup on Sunday, requiring a replay on Wednesday 16 January - in the middle of these two semi-final legs against the Blues.
Of course the two legged nature of this semi-final may have some bearing on who prevails. Chelsea will aim to take an advantage to South Wales and hopefully a clean sheet.
The Blues' squad has more experience of what is required to reach cup finals, although in this competition they have not managed that for five seasons.
Laudrup has been lavished with praise this season, though his side have won just a third of the 21 Premier League matches he has been in charge, scoring 31 but conceding 26.
This first leg will come too soon for John Terry, who has been training fully and may see some action for the U21s team on Thursday. Depending on his reaction he could join the squad travelling to Stoke at the weekend.
The second leg of this tie is at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday 23 January. Away goals scored in either game will only count double on the completion of any extra time that may be required.
The winners will play Aston Villa or Bradford City in the final at Wembley on Sunday 24 February. The League Two club defend a 3-1 lead in the second leg at Villa Park on Tuesday 22 January.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton conclude their prelude to tonight's cup encounter…
Chelsea aim to take an advantage to south Wales in two weeks' time. We look at how they might make that happen tonight.
Demba Ba impressed in the game at Southampton and not just when hitting the net himself - he was in frame when each goal was scored, an indication of the hunger and bravery Chelsea have acquired with him.
The aerial threat of the 6ft 2in striker allows Chelsea to consider crossing the ball more than has been the case this season, and interim boss Rafael Benitez must hope the new striker's instant impact will inspire Fernando Torres to greater heights too.
The Spaniard scored a fine opening goal against Swansea in the 4-1 league win here at the Bridge last season, but was dismissed 10 minutes later for a dangerous tackle.
Michael Laudrup's side tend not to pass the ball out from the back as dogmatically as under predecessor Brendan Rodgers but the rearguard remains the weak link in their team.
Chico is a wily and intelligent defender but he likes to rove forward creating gaps in their centre. Angel Rangel is a combative right-back who could cause problems down Chelsea's left, though he is not the most disciplined - and is the Swans' most cautioned player this season.
Neither side is likely to field their first-choice keeper. Petr Cech remains sidelined and Gerhard Tremmel, 34, has been preferred to Michel Vorm in every round of the Capital One Cup so far.
Fatigue might be an issue in this tie after a gruelling festive period. Arsenal almost turned the FA Cup game at the Liberty Stadium around after a spell when Swansea began defending deeper, lost battles for the second ball and made basic technical errors.
However, Chelsea's recent schedule has been even more testing and Benitez rested one or two players at Southampton.
Laudrup drafted in Dwight Tiendalli, Kyle Bartley, Nathan Dyer, Sung-Yong Ki on Sunday. Star striker Michu (pictured below) began the afternoon on the bench. Their top scorer duly opened the scoring two minutes after coming on, from a Danny Graham lay-off. Graham had all the time in the world to fire Swansea's later equaliser.
The arrival of Michu has facilitated the biggest changes under Laudrup from the previous regime. They can play more directly than before and the Danish manager does not ask his wide men to hug the flanks as rigidly. Their style relies on incisive through-balls to the frontmen and Chelsea's central midfield pair will have to work hard to stifle that supply line.
Swansea have won three of their last five away league matches; Chelsea's distinctly mixed recent performances on the Fulham Road include an 8-0 victory and a 0-1 defeat.
QPR achieved the latter through 10-man defending and a wonderful strike by ex-Blue Shaun Wright-Phillips. Equal responsibility for the setback could be laid at the feet of the Chelsea team, who started with a lack of intensity and energy, rallied too late but could not hit the net with any of 23 shots.
Of concern to Benitez will be that his side has conceded first the last three matches. However, he knows that Swansea have yet to encounter the full force of the Blues' attacking threat from midfield this season - David Luiz and in-form Juan Mata both missed our 1-1 draw in November. Both may have a crucial role to play tonight.
Squad fitness news
Petr Cech (thigh) and John Terry (knee), plus long-term absentee Oriol Romeu, are the players unavailable through injury for Chelsea.
There are no reported injury concerns for Swansea.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Swansea have met only once before in cup competitions.
It was the fourth round of the League Cup in the 1964/65 season. Chelsea were second in Division One, one point behind leaders Manchester United.
Swansea Town, as they were called then, were 19th out of 22 in the old Second Division but equal bottom on points. They finished last that season and were relegated.
The Swans had not won outside Wales in eight months and arrived with stiffly defensive tactics and an unsubtle offside trap. The lack of endeavour looked flawed when 20-year-old Dennis Brown (in his last appearance for the club) fired the Blues ahead after 13 minutes, but the Welshmen rallied to equalise through Keith Todd while Chelsea were down to 10 men through Allan Harris's injury.
George Graham (pictured below) restored Chelsea's lead by swivelling on the edge of the box and sweeping past Ronnie Briggs from the edge of the box to ensure a 2-1 half-time lead.
Again the dogged visitors replied, this time through Herbie Williams and as the last 10 minutes approached and a replay looked increasingly likely Peter Bonetti was the busier goalie.
Then Graham rose to meet a cross and planted the ball past Briggs to break Welsh hearts.
The win would prove historic. In the next round against Workington, a young Peter Osgood would make his debut. The good run continued and the Blues went on to become London's first winners of this trophy, beating Leicester 3-2 in the two-leg final.
League Cup 4th round, 11 November 1964 Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 3 - 2 Swansea Town
Referee Dennis Smith
Peter Bonetti, Ian Watson, Allan Harris, John Hollins, John Mortimore, Ron Harris, Bert Murray, Dennis Brown, George Graham, Terry Venables (c), Bobby Tambling.
Manager Tommy Docherty
Scorers Graham 2, Brown
Ron Briggs, Brian Hughes, David Ward, Eddie Thomas, Michael Johnson, Herbert Williams, Brian Evans, Albert Harley, George Kirby, Keith Todd, James McLaughlin
Manager Trevor Morris
Scorers Williams, Todd
Chelsea have scored 10 goals in our last two home games against Swansea.
We have only hosted Swansea 11 times (10 league, one League Cup), won seven, drawn three and lost one.
The Swans only win at Stamford Bridge came in our first ever meeting in November 1925. Billy Hole, Jack Fowler and Len Thompson were the visitors' scorers in their 3-1 win. Harry Wilding scored for the Blues.
Chelsea v Swansea in all competitions
Games played 22
Chelsea wins 9
Swans wins 5
Biggest win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-1 Swansea- 06/12/1983
Chelsea 1-3 Swansea - 21/11/1925
Chelsea lost at home to a top-flight club in the League Cup: 407
Swansea won away to a top-flight club in the League Cup: 70
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,790
Liverpool won the league: 8,285
Visit again at lunchtime for part two of the Briefing.
Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1964/65, 1997/98, 2004/05, 2006/07
Runners-up: 1971/72, 2007/08
Semi-finalists: 1972/73, 1984/85, 1990/91, 2001/02, 2012/13
By beating Leeds we reached our 11th League Cup semi-final. We have won our last three against Everton in 2007/08, Wycombe Wanderers in 2006/07 and Manchester United in 2004/05.
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2001/02 - Semi-final
2002/03 - Quarter-final
2003/04 - Quarter-final
2004/05 - Winners
2005/06 - 3rd round
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Runners-up
2008/09 - 4th round
2009/10 - Quarter-final
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - Quarter-final
Kerry Dixon is our leading scorer in the League Cup with 25 goals followed by Frank Lampard 11, Peter Osgood and Bobby Tambling 10 and Didier Drogba nine.
Chelsea have won five out of the last six matches, scoring 21 goals and conceding four.
|Last six results|
|Dec 19||Leeds (League Cup QF a)||W 5-1|
|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|
Torres 14 (1 pen), Mata 13, Lampard 3 (3 pens), Cahill 6, E Hazard 6 (2 pens), Ivanovic 6, Oscar 6 (1 pen), Moses 5, Ramires 5, D Luiz 4 (2 pens), Ba 2, Bertrand 2, Sturridge 2, Cole 1, Romeu 1 (pen), Terry 1, own goals 1. Total 82.
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 12 Jan||Stoke away||3pm|
|Wed 16 Jan||Southampton home||7.45pm|
|Sun 20 Jan||Arsenal home||1.30pm|
If selected, Fernando Torres will make his 100th appearance for Chelsea
Swans in the League Cup
Fourth round: 1964/65, 1976/77, 2008/09, 2010/11
|This season's Capital One Cup campaign|