County Ground (SWI)
Tue 24 Sep 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 14,924)
The season's campaign opens up on a third front today with Chelsea entering the Capital One Cup at the third-round stage. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at tie with a few stories to tell…
Half a century ago, when Tommy Docherty sent a much-changed Chelsea team to Swindon Town comprising four teenagers, three of them debutants, the Football League responded with the warning, 'We are not going to allow the cup to be turned into a second-team tournament.'
It's a measure of how the game and the competition has adapted to bigger squads that the starters Jose Mourinho has already announced for tonight included several names that will add only to the the buzz of expectation around the County Ground.
In keeping with tradition, Mourinho asked his assistant Steve Holland to conduct the pre-match media conference, and the former Crewe manager suggested there may be room yet in the side for an untested, promising youngster.
Who knows where that opportunity may lead? In the 4-0 League Cup win over Notts County of October 1964 John Hollins became Chelsea's youngest ever skipper at 18 years and three months. He went on to played almost 600 times for Chelsea.
Tonight's televised match is sold out, with locals remembering the Robins' exploits in last season's competition in which they saw off Stoke en route to the fourth round and a last-minute defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
Following decades of ignominy Chelsea's record against lower league sides has been excellent in recent years. Scarborough were a Fourth Division side when they beat the Blues 4-3 on aggregate 24 years ago in this competition. Bobby Campbell had fielded a near full-strength side for the trip to Yorkshire in one of the last damp hurrahs for the age-old inconsistent Pensioners. Swindon Town are in League one, the old Division Three.
Chelsea's top scorer this season with three, Oscar, is one of those unlikely to start tonight but a new goal machine emerged from Saturday's west London derby win.
John Mikel Obi's volley from John Terry's head-down brought the Nigerian his first ever league goal and his third for the Blues. His previous two were registered in the 2006/07 FA Cup during Mourinho's last full season in charge, the last being against Nottingham Forest on 28 January 2007. He had played 260 matches in all competitions since then - but only 32 under the Special One. John now requires just 202 goals to become Chelsea's all-time top scorer.
Five of the 19 remaining top-flight sides will definitely exit this tournament at the third-round stage as 10 are involved in all-Premier League clashes.
Chelsea made it to the semi-finals of last season's competition before losing out to eventual winners Swansea over two legs.
Wolves (6-0) (pictured below), Manchester United (5-4) and Leeds away (5-1) made for a wonderfully entertaining campaign. Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Victor Moses and Fernando Torres were join top-scorers with two apiece.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes tonight, 30 minutes extra time will be played. Should no winner emerge the tie will be decided on penalties.
The draw for the fourth round is tomorrow (Wednesday) night.
|League One top half|
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The Portuguese also revealed Michael Essien and Juan Mata will play, while Mark Schwarzer is likely to step in to give Petr Cech a rest. Steve Holland has said that one youngster may have their chance to be involved too.
This was the competition in 2004/05 the Chelsea boss used to turn his new team into winners. While silverware is a familiar friend to the majority of the present squad, the manager will want to progress tonight to provide playing time for most of the less-regular performers.
As ever his staff will have conducted a first-rate appraisal of the opposition, though they lie 11th on football's third tier, and he will select a side to exploit the weaknesses exposed by scouting.
Swindon beat local rivals Bristol City 3-2 on Saturday, maintaining their unbeaten record at the County Ground this season. Former Newcastle striker Nile Ranger netted the winner in what was a victory for endeavour over style - the hosts had to come from behind twice over the 90 minutes.
Manager Mark Cooper will have been disconcerted by his team's defending, but not the work-rate of his midfield and efficiency of his forward players.
The right side of Town's defence is inexperienced but promising, with teenager Louis Thompson full of energy and Grant Hall, 21, on a season-long loan from Spurs.
In contrast centre-half Darren Ward, 35, and left-back Jay McEveley have been around for years. McEveley was in Paul Jewell's Derby County side thrashed 6-1 at Chelsea in March 2008. Set-plays have sometimes proved fruitful for the Blues this season and Swindon have looked vulnerable in that department.
Whoever plays for the Blues alongside Mata in the three behind the striker, defensive midfielder Massimo Luongo (one of several White Hart Lane hirelings), will have his work cut out.
Goalie Wes Foderingham is athletic and brave but very one-footed and will go out of his way to clear with his left. Cooper asks his players to play the ball out from the back and fulfilling that might cause the hosts problems.
As ever Mourinho will also want his side to press with intensity, win the ball high up the field and use the width of the field against the Robins, who will miss the presence of offensive midfielders Ryan Mason and Ryan Harley, both injured.
Set-play-taking attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard, also borrowed from Spurs, returns from suspension but Nathan Byrne is unavailable having been sent off against MK Dons earlier this month. Byrne is usually a central defender but has converted into a tricky, lively winger with some success.
While at Newcastle United the fast, muscular Nile Ranger (pictured below) tended to face goal and play as a wide forward, seeking space behind full-backs. In Cooper's 4-1-4-1 system he plays alone upfront, asked to hold the ball and bring attacking midfielders into play.
Ranger opened the scoring in the Geordies' third round 4-3 win in this competition over a very young Chelsea team at the Bridge back in 2010.
Chelsea would represent an enormous scalp for former journeyman Cooper, who stepped up from being assistant to Kevin McDonald last summer and whose highest profile coaching wins to date were over QPR and Watford. McDonald had succeeded Paulo Di Canio as boss at the County Ground in February this year.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the 0-3 League Cup defeat at the County Ground on 25 September 1963. Four teenagers started for Chelsea in a team of six reserves: Ron Harris (18), alongside debutants John Hollins (17), Dennis Brown (19) and John O'Rourke (19). The £35,000 buy Marvin Hinton, 23, also made his bow for the Blues.
The hosts had also been in fine form coming into the midweek cup fixture and were top of the then Second Division having conceded just four goals in nine matches. Their team included several who would later find fame in football.
Still, Tommy Docherty's newly-promoted Chelsea completely dominated the first half in front of a raucous, confident crowd, with worryingly little to show for it. Experienced left-winger Frank Blunstone had a cross-shot saved by keeper Mike Turner and from the opposite flank Brown sent a low shot scudding past the goalmouth.
Centre-forward O'Rourke went closest for the visitors when, with Turner stranded, hoiked the ball goalbound. Swindon's centre-back Ken McPherson was on hand to clear off the line.
Just inside the hour the game was turned on its head when Robins forward Roger Smart fired a 30-yarder that gave Peter Bonetti no chance. The youthful Blues were rattled by the breakthrough and the fluid passing and tight organisation that would typify Docherty's Chelsea deserted them.
Swindon increased their lead 10 minutes later after a scramble in the goalmouth, and completed the 3-0 scoreline with five minutes to go from a Jack Smith strike.
A year later winger Brown (pictured below) switched permanently to the County Ground at the same time as another former Chelsea Junior, Jack Howarth. He would form a fine partnership with Howarth for the Robins and, in the 1970s, at Aldershot where the latter became all-time highest goalscorer with 196.
The 17-year-old winger in Bert Head's team half a century ago was Don Rogers, who would make his mark in the same competition when he hit the two goals that saw off Arsenal in the 1969 final at Wembley.
His fellow Robins against Chelsea included Mike Summerbee, who found fame at Manchester City, and Ernie Hunt - renowned for volleying in the legendary free-kick flicked up by Coventry teammate Willie Carr in October 1970.
The teams on 25 September 1963 were:
Swindon Turner, Dawson, Trollope, Morgan, McPherson, Woodruff, Summerbee, Hunt, Smith, Smart, Rogers. Scorers: Smart 59, Smith 71, 74. Manager Bert Head
Chelsea: Bonetti, A Harris, McCreadie, Hollins, Hinton, R Harris, Brown, Tambling, O'Rourke, Harmer, Blunstone. Manager Tommy Docherty
Our paths last crossed 19 years ago when Swindon were in the Premier League. Chelsea hired manager Glenn Hoddle and he became one of the most influential managers in our history during his three-year stay.
Our five previous visits to Swindon have seen two wins each and one draw. We were drawn away in the FA Cup first round in 1914/15 but the game was switched to Stamford Bridge.
|Other cup meetings|
|1910/11||(4)||Chelsea 3 Swindon 1|
|1914/15||(1)||Swindon 1 Chelsea 1 (at Stamford Bridge)|
|(Rep)||Chelsea 5 Swindon 2|
|1919/20||(2)||Chelsea 4 Swindon 0|
|1920/21||(2)||Swindon 0 Chelsea 2|
|Full Members Cup|
|1987/88||(3)||Swindon 4 Chelsea 0|
|1990/91||(2)||Chelsea 1 Swindon 0|
|1991/92||(2)||Chelsea 1 Swindon 0|
Chelsea v Swindon in all competitions
Games played 13
Chelsea wins 9
Swindon wins 2
Biggest win at the County Ground for each team
Swindon 1-3 Chelsea - 01/01/1994
Swindon 4-0 Chelsea - 19/01/1988
Chelsea last played a competitive match at the County Ground: 7,206
Swindon lost at home: 210
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,048
Liverpool won the league: 8,543
Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007
Runners-up: 1972, 2008
Semi-finalists: 1973, 1985, 1991, 2002, 2013
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
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
2012/13 - Semi-final
Last season the Blues went out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage to Swansea, 0-2 on aggregate.
Chelsea have won three of our last six penalty shoot-outs. Our last two have been against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and this season's Super Cup.
|Last six results|
|Aug 21||Aston Villa (h)||W 2-1|
|Aug 26||Manchester United (a)||D 0-0|
|Aug 30||Bayern Munich (Super Cup) lost 4-5 on pens||D 2-2|
|Sep 14||Everton (a)||L 0-1|
|Sep 18||Basel (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
|Sep 21||Fulham (h)||W 2-0|
|Chelsea's next three games|