The first game in November sees Chelsea go west, looking to stay top of the pile. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton switch their attention from cup to league…
Chelsea's unbeaten runs in the Champions League and Barclays Premier League were ended in consecutive games over the last 10 days, so a return to winning ways on Wednesday was timely.
The manner of the success over Manchester United - coming from behind three times, scoring a hatful and never giving up - is becoming a hallmark of this Chelsea side. Late goals have also served the team well. The three on Wednesday brought to eight the total notched from the 80th minute onwards this season.
The Blues' back four has also weighed in with an impressive 13 goals this season. Gary Cahill (pictured below) now has five to his name and is behind only Juan Mata (seven) and Fernando Torres (six) on the top scorers list.
However, ahead of this weekend's trip to Wales, the number of goals our leaky defence has conceded domestically has suffered upward inflation: one, two, three, and now four goals on the spin, and no clean sheet in five matches in all competitions.
Saturday's hosts Swansea, buoyed by their own triumph at Anfield on Wednesday, have likewise not prevented the opposition scoring at the Liberty since West Ham visited in August.
That 3-0 demolition of the Hammers moved Michael Laudrup's team to top slot before three straight losses deposed them to 11th, where they remain. The concerned Dane emphasised the need to start home games especially well, but they have not hit the net in the first hour of a game at the Liberty since.
Chelsea's 5-4 extra-time win over Man United avoided a run of three successive defeats for the first time since almost exactly a decade ago under Claudio Ranieri. It also added another match to the Blues' bulging pre-Christmas schedule.
Our League Cup quarter-final away to time-honoured foes Leeds United, is delayed till 19 December, just two days after the squad's return flight from the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan lands in the UK.
The total of games to be played before the end of the year now rises to 16 in eight weeks. No one is complaining - it is a signal of success - but the physical demands on playing staff is mirrored by financial ones on supporters in straitened times.
It is all the more impressive, then, that Swansea and West Brom away, Liverpool, Man City and Shakhtar at home have all sold out, with others presently available almost certain to follow suit. More than 600 tickets have already been sold to Chelsea's intrepid Club World Cup pioneers.
Everton received a Capital One Cup allocation of five thousand at Elland Road this season; Southampton were offered three thousand. Such has been the enthusiasm among Chelsea fans for the Leeds trip - the first there since December 2003 - there is certain to be huge demand for a seat.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Manchester United v Arsenal 12.45pm Sky Sports
Fulham v Everton 3pm
Norwich v Stoke 3pm
Sunderland v Aston Villa 3pm
Swansea v Chelsea 3pm
Tottenham v Wigan 3pm
West Ham v Manchester City 5.30 ESPN
QPR v Reading 1.30pm Sky Sports
Liverpool v Newcastle 4pm Sky Sports
West Brom v Southampton 8pm Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top 12|
Click on the tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
This fixture was first played in 1925/26 and early results largely went the home side's way. The Blues' first win came at Vetch Field over Christmas 1928 and sent David Calderhead's team top of Football League Division Two.
The Swans reportedly played an attacking game but were let down by their passing and a lack of understanding between the players upfront. With Jack Townrow standing out in defence, the Pensioners' play was quicker and more methodical.
Tiny winger Jackie Crawford set up the only goal of the game with a cross that Swansea keeper Ferguson mishandled. Jimmy Thompson, who would later become a brilliant talent-spotter for the Blues, discovering Jimmy Greaves and Terry Venables among others, put the ball in the net from a prone position. Despite that success, promotion would have to wait one more season.
More recently, Chelsea have scored 14 goals in our last four games against the Swans, though this will be only our second visit to Swansea in 29 years. Last season's draw was our first match at the Liberty Stadium as all our previous games were at Vetch Field.
Our last win there was in November 1983 (pictured below) during our promotion campaign under John Neal. The Blues won 3-1 with goals from Pat Nevin, John Bumstead and Kerry Dixon. Swansea's reply came from Colin Pascoe. The Swans were eventually relegated for a second successive season.
Swansea's last home win against the Blues was in April 1981 when goals from Robbie James, Neil Robinson and Dzemal Hadziabdic without reply was enough to secure the victory.
|Our previous meetings at Swansea|
|1925/26||Drew 0-0||Old Division Two|
|1926/27||Swansea won 2-1||Old Division Two|
|1927/28||Drew 0-0||Old Division Two|
|1928/29||Chelsea won 1-0||Old Division Two|
|1929/30||Swansea won 3-0||Old Division Two|
|1962/63||Swansea won 2-0||Old Division Two|
|1979/80||Drew 1-1||Old Division Two|
|1980/81||Swansea won 3-0||Old Division Two|
|1983/84||Chelsea won 3-1||Old Division Two|
|2011/12||Drew 1-1||Premier League|
Other match last season
24 September 2011 Barclays Premier League
Torres 29 Williams 85
Ramires 35, 75
Swansea City v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 21
Chelsea wins 9
Swansea wins 5
Head-to-head in the league at Swansea
Games played 10
Chelsea wins 2
Swansea wins 4
Biggest league win at Swansea for each team
Swansea 3-0 Chelsea - 12/04/1930 and 25/04/1981
Swansea 1-3 Chelsea - 22/11/1983
Chelsea won in Wales: 2,078
Swansea beat Chelsea: 11,515
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,723
Liverpool won the league: 8,218
Visit tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.