PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V CARDIFF CITY - PART ONE
With the squad reassembled following trips across the globe, there is thankfully no journey needed this weekend. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton welcome home comforts…
This game is our first Saturday 3pm kick-off at home not just this season, but since 2 March when West Bromwich Albion were the visitors for a 1-0 Chelsea win. It is also our only game at Stamford Bridge since Fulham on 21 September. Just four of the 13 matches from Swindon Town on 24 September to Basel on 26 November will have taken place on the Fulham Road.
These games sandwiched between internationals and Champions League involvement can be testing. Chelsea's only domestic defeat this season came at Goodison after the last round of internationals and was followed in midweek by the shock home loss to Basel. The first FIFA break of the season was followed by a 2-0 home win over Hull City.
Congratulations are in order for many members of the squad who helped their national team qualify for next summer's soccer, samba and sunshine in Brazil.
Many of them contributed a goal or two, including Kevin De Bruyne for Belgium, Juan Mata (Spain) and on-loan summer recruit Christian Atsu (Ghana). Germany's Andre Schurrle hit a hat-trick to make it 10 in 11 for his national side.
Schurrle joined an elite group of Chelsea internationals to have netted three or more times in one match for their country. Fernando Torres scored four for Spain against Tahiti in the summer and the other members are Yossi Benayoun (Israel), Roy Bentley, Jimmy Greaves [twice], George Hilsdon, Tommy Lawton [twice], George Mills (all England) and Phil Younghusband (Philippines).
Chelsea's leading scorer Oscar, whose Brazil side (recently skippered by David Luiz) are already qualified as hosts, hit a goal in both games, taking his impressive sequence for club and country to five in seven games.
The Brazilian has been influential all season, and is already just one goal short of his total in the league last season.
Jose Mourinho's bold tactics at Carrow Road helped bring about our first Premier League victory on the road under the Portuguese since the similar 2-1 comeback at Reading in late August 2007. All three substitutes were involved in the two goals inside two minutes that sank Chris Hughton's side.
Whereas Reading was the last hurrah of the first Mourinho era, Norwich felt like the dawning of a new one. Hazard's high leap to win a headed duel that transformed a Canaries corner into a Blues counter-attack was indicative, as were Samuel Eto'o's industry and Willian's brilliantly struck first goal for the Blues. (Didn't the away supporters enjoy that, singing the freshly-penned song for the no.22 till the end of the game.)
Equally importantly, when the Portuguese takes off a full-back to change the game he knows he can trust Schurrle as a temporary wing-back.
Since the 1920s the Chelsea-Cardiff fixture had always required a change of strip. Some (including a young Wayne Rooney) might still believe 'once Blue, always Blue', even after City's recent conversion to the red side.
Some Chelsea fans might scoff that we would never wear such a switch, but it is worth remembering the royal blue we call 'traditional' would have been a shock to supporters who followed us for the first few season in the light-greenish Eton blue hue.
New Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, who has reportedly invested £140m in the Welsh club, has made further changes recently, relieving no.2 and head of recruitment Iain Moody of his responsibilities. Manager Malky Mackay, who was hired by Tan's predecessors, had worked alongside Moody since his Watford days. It will be interesting to see how the Bluebirds respond to what has been a turbulent few weeks.
Statistics show 70% of newly promoted sides return from whence they came the following May. So far Mackay's men have fared better against top-half sides than their fellow top-flights arrivals. They earned a spirited 3-2 victory over Manchester City and a 0-0 with Everton; Spurs only beat them with the last kick of the game.
On their travels they have proved equally hard to break down and have already won in west London this season at Fulham. However, just the one clean sheet in seven games must be a concern and they are yet to score in the first 45 minutes of a top-flight match.
Mourinho's men have scored first in four of the opening seven fixtures and won all of them. Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 matches at the Bridge and having tasted victory in 10 of those, are in no mood to let up. The hosts have hit two goals in all of the last eight games on the Fulham Road.
Chelsea Football Club was saddened to learn of the recent passing of former defender Harry Hughes, who enjoyed a brief spell at Stamford Bridge as a young professional before joining Bournemouth.
He played just one game for the first team and in difficult circumstances, stepping in for the great John Harris who was then in dispute with the club. The Pensioners lost 1-3 at home to Liverpool but the result was 'no reflection on 20-year-old Harold Hughes, stand-in centre-half. How can a new boy shine when the old boys wander in crazy circles?' according to the Daily Express.
Our condolences to the family and friends of this proud Blue.
Going into the weekend fixtures the current top three all have the same goal difference. A win for Chelsea and anything less than that for the other two would likely see the Blues go top. Two seasons ago Norwich managed a 3-3 draw at Emirates. Newcastle have scooped the points in two of the last three home meetings with Liverpool, though last season they slumped to a 0-6 defeat.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Newcastle v Liverpool 12.45pm - BT Sport
Arsenal v Norwich 3pm
Chelsea v Cardiff 3pm
Everton v Hull 3pm
Manchester United v Southampton 3pm
Stoke v West Brom 3pm
Swansea v Sunderland 3pm
West Ham v Manchester City 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Tottenham 4pm - Sky Sports
Crystal Palace v Fulham 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
Only Southampton (two) have conceded fewer than Chelsea's four goals in seven league outings.
In the Barclays Premier League, we have won 31 points at Stamford Bridge out of the last 33 available.
Chelsea's defeat at Everton is our only reverse in 15 Premier League matches.
Chelsea have won all four league games when we have scored the opening goal.
Chelsea have lost just three in the last 74 games against newly promoted teams, in 12 ½ years. We have won 58 of those matches.
John Terry has now scored 33 Premier League goals. David Unsworth is the only defender to have scored more - 38 (of which 22 were penalties).
|Last six results|
|Sep 18||Basel (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
|Sep 21||Fulham (h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 24||Swindon (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Sat 28||Tottenham (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 1||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League a)||W 4-0|
|Oct 6||Norwich (a)||W 3-1|
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 4
A home defeat: 12
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Tue 22 Oct||Schalke (Champions League) away||7.45pm|
|Sun 27 Oct||Manchester City home||4pm|
|Tue 29 Oct||Arsenal (Capital One Cup) away||7.45pm|
Petr Cech will make his 300th Premier League appearance.
If fit and selected, Fernando Torres will make his 100th start in a Blue shirt.
Jose Mourinho is looking for his 50th home win in the Premier League in his 64th game in charge there. He is undefeated in his previous 63 home league matches.
Cardiff City are appearing in the top flight for the first time in 51 years. In their last season (1961/62) they were relegated to the Second Division together with Chelsea.
City's last two top-flight away wins both came at Craven Cottage against Fulham, in November 1961 and last month.
Championship - Champions
FA Cup - Third round
Capital One Cup - First round
Cardiff have managed only 17 shots on target in seven Premier League games - the lowest in the top flight.
Six of Cardiff's seven goals have come in the second half.
Last season Cardiff's away record was 10 wins, six draws and seven defeats.
Last season's Championship stats
Most starts David Marshall 46, Andrew Taylor 43, Peter Whittingham 37
Most goals Aron Gunnarsson 8, Heidar Helguson 8, Peter Whittingham 8
Manager Malky Mackay
Days in charge: 854
|Cardiff's last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Aug 31||Everton (h)||D 0-0|
|Sep 14||Hull (a)||D 1-1|
|Sep 22||Tottenham (h)||L 0-1|
|Sep 24||West Ham (Capital One Cup a)||L 2-3|
|Sep 28||Fulham (a)||W 2-1|
|Oct 5||Newcastle (h)||L 1-2|
Premier League scorers (7)
Campbell 2, Caulker 1, Gunnarsson 1, Mutch 1, Odemwingie 1, Whittingham 1
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 2
CARDIFF'S MAJOR SUMMER MOVES AND AUTUMN LOANS
Ins Andreas Cornelius (FC Copenhagen, £7.5m), John Brayford (Derby, &1.5m), Simon Moore (Brentford, undisclosed), Steven Caulker (Tottenham, £8m), Gary Medel (Sevilla, £11m), Kevin Theophile-Catherine (Rennes, undisclosed), Maximiliano Amondarain (CA Progreso, free), Peter Odemwingie (West Brom, £2.25m)
Outs Heidar Helguson (released), Stephen McPhail (released), Kevin McNaughton (Bolton, loan), Ben Nugent (Brentford, loan), Joe Ralls (Yeovil, loan), Simon Lappin (Sheffield United, loan), Robert Earnshaw (released), Craig Conroy (Brighton, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Anthony Taylor was last at Stamford Bridge on the final day of last season against Everton. His most recent Cardiff game was in the Bluebirds' goalless draw, also with the Toffees, earlier this season.
There are no suspensions.
Visit again tomorrow for Part Two of the Briefing.