After two cup competitions it is back to the bread and butter fixtures. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton lay out a feast of facts and figures…
Well, it really is feast or famine at the moment. Having hit 16 goals in the three previous Capital One Cup matches, a blank and two conceded was unpredictable. Then again, Chelsea have won only two of our last seven home games and have now not hit the net in four of the last six matches at the Bridge.
The disappointing home defeat matched that in the last season's fifth round against Liverpool, which was conclusive as it was an earlier round. At least the Blues have the chance - admittedly slimmer than anticipated - of reaching the final with a reparatory performance at the Liberty Stadium a week on Wednesday.
If home comforts are hard to find at present, away days have been booming. A win at Stoke will equal our record sequence of six successive top-flight away wins in league and cup, previously achieved in 2004/05 (twice), 2005/06 and 2006/07 (twice).
Punters will most likely not be going heavy on the goals aggregate for this match, though, which pits the joint meanest (Chelsea) and third tightest (Stoke) defences in the top flight against each other.
The Potters have played 12 fewer games than Chelsea and although they have a very good defensive record have only won six in all competitions. They have lost five and drawn 12.
Five of their nine clean sheets have been in 0-0 draws, just like the corresponding fixture to this last season. Chelsea won our last two meetings at the Bridge by one goal to nil.
Unbeaten throughout December, the Potters began the new year with a 0-3 defeat by champions Manchester City. A rotated side then drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend.
Demba Ba has managed four goals and two assists in four games against Stoke for West Ham and Newcastle, including a hat-trick last season at the Britannia Stadium.
Both teams have midweek fixtures looming: Stoke host an FA Cup replay against Palace on Tuesday, while Chelsea entertain the side we recently beat 5-1 in the same competition, Southampton, on Wednesday. That is the league game postponed from December when we were in Japan.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
QPR v Tottenham 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Southampton 3pm
Everton v Swansea 3pm
Fulham v Wigan 3pm
Norwich v Newcastle 3pm
Reading v West Brom 3pm
Stoke v Chelsea 3pm
Sunderland v West Ham 3pm
Manchester United v Liverpool 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Manchester City 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table top half|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 16
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (all for Newcastle) 13
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottemham) 10
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea have been travelling to Stoke since the first away match of the 1922/23 season, when two goals from inside-left Buchanan Sharp provided the Pensioners with a 2-1 win.
The Blues' margins of victory on the Potters' home soil have rarely been comfortable. Our record win there came in 1988/89 during a storming promotion run out of Division Two, and it was only Stoke's second loss at home to date.
The 3-0 victory was all the more impressive for the fact that for 52 minutes Bobby Campbell's side played with 10 men, midfielder Peter Nicholas having been shown a red card for allegedly head-butting the Potters' Simon Stainrod after just three minutes.
Unperturbed, the Blues attacked the hosts and were soon rewarded with a penalty that skipper and centre-back Graham Roberts converted (as ever). With Clive Wilson (more usually a left-back) a constant threat down the left flank, it was a surprise it took until the 52nd minute to double the lead, Wilson (pictured below) being justly rewarded for his performance with his first notch of the season.
Five minutes later Stainrod was dismissed for a second bookable offence, a late tackle on Chelsea's other Wilson, striker Kevin, and the emphatic win was completed by Scots winger Kevin McAllister.
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten league run against Stoke to 14 games. We have won two and drawn two of our league games at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke's last league win against us was 38 years ago on April 5th 1975 in the old First Division. City won 3-0 at the Victoria Ground with goals from Terry Conroy (2) and Jimmy Greenhoff.
Stoke's last victory against the Blues was at Stamford Bridge in 1995 in the League Cup second round when Paul Peschisolido scored the only goal.
|Our last 10 league games at Stoke|
|1971/72||Stoke won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1972/73||Drew 1-1||Old Division 1|
|1973/74||Stoke won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1974/75||Stoke won 3-0||Old Division 1|
|1984/85||Chelsea won 1-0||Old Division 1|
|1988/89||Chelsea won 3-0||Old Division 2|
|2008/09||Chelsea won 2-0||Premier League|
|2009/10||Chelsea won 2-1||Premier League|
|2010/11||Drew 1-1||Premier League|
|2011/12||Drew 0-0||Premier League|
The reverse match this season
22 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea v Stoke in all competitions
Games played 88
Chelsea wins 40
Stoke wins 27
Head to head in the league at Victoria Ground and Britannia Stadium
Games played 38
Chelsea wins 15
Stoke wins 15
Biggest league win at Stoke for each team
Stoke 6-1 Chelsea - 04/02/1939, 15/02/1947
Stoke 0-3 Chelsea - 03/12/1988
Chelsea lost a league game against Stoke: 13,797
Stoke lost at home in the Premier League: 343
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,793
Liverpool won the league: 8,288
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.