It is a derby Sunday at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea aiming to repeat our win in north London back in September. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at the prospects for a league double…
First the good news: London's first European champions are eight points clear of Arsenal in the race for Champions League places as we go into this match, and our goal difference is notches superior to the Gunners.
The bad news is that our last-minute request to move this fixture to the Emirates was turned down. (That is a joke by the way.)
Jesting aside the disparity between recent results on the road and on the Fulham Road is remarkable. Away from home the five successive victories in all competitions is close to setting a new high.
Yet you have to look back to April 1995 to find a worst sequence over seven league games at the Bridge. Encouragingly, a few weeks later, in the last match of the '94/'95 season, Chelsea inflicted on Arsenal their 11th away defeat of the season to finish one place above them.
Earlier this season we won at the Emirates for the first time since 2009 (pictured below), and in far more convincing fashion than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
The Blues would be in second place on an away-only Premier League table behind Manchester United, but seventh were only home matches taken into account. Stoke, Everton, Spurs, West Bromwich Albion and the two Manchester clubs have better records on their own ground.
Over the last five home games Chelsea have the 15th best record (won one, drawn three, lost one), but no one has a superior track record over the past five away matches: won four, lost one.
Were fatigue a major factor in these dropped points it would be reasonable to expect it would have equal effect on home and away performances.
Not only have the Blues played at least five more games in all competitions than any other Premier League team this season, we have scored more goals and also have the best average of goals per game.
|Total competitive games in 2012/13|
Chelsea remained in third place after Wednesday's draw, easing a further point away from fourth-placed Tottenham, who host leaders Manchester United straight after our match on Sunday. It is 12 years since Spurs beat the Red Devils at White Hart Lane in the league.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Liverpool v Norwich 3pm
Manchester City v Fulham 3pm
Newcastle v Reading 3pm
Swansea v Stoke 3pm
West Ham v QPR 3pm
Wigan v Sunderland 3pm
West Brom v Aston Villa 5.30pm - ESPN
Chelsea v Arsenal 1.30pm Sky Sports
Tottenham v Manchester United 4pm - Sky Sports
Southampton v Everton 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 17
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (13 for Newcastle) 14
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 10
Edin Džeko (Manchester City) 10
Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 10
Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Petr Cech 9
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 9
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 8
Arsenal beat Swansea City 1-0 on Wednesday night in the FA Cup. Our Capital One Cup semi-final opponents, who will protect a 2-0 lead next week in the second leg at the Liberty Stadium, were much-changed, resting several key performers.
Chelsea are seeking a first derby win at the Bridge this season, having drawn with Fulham and lost to QPR so far. The Blues have beaten Arsenal (2-1) and Spurs (4-2) away, losing to West Ham and drawing with Rangers. This is only the Gunners' second trip across London of the league campaign; Chelsea delivered their only capital punishment at the Emirates.
|Premier London League|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
In October 1938 a crowd of just under 64,500 came to the Bridge to see if Leslie Knighton's talented underachievers could knock George Allison's Arsenal, champions the previous season, off their perch.
The task proved easier than expected, even though the Gunners' ranks included goalie George Swindin and prolific forwards Cliff Bastin and Ted Drake, who would later manage the Blues to our own league title in 1955.
Other than England international keeper Vic Woodley (pictured below) the Pensioners' was a less stellar line-up, although the likes of long-throw expert Sam Weaver, winger Dicky Spence and inside-left Harry Burgess had a smattering of England caps under their belts.
The media were often unkind to Chelsea in those days, and as impressed as he was John Macadam in the Express could not resist a dig, suggesting this was an unusual 'Chelsea that looked as little like the Chelsea of the jokes and the cartoons as I look like Clark Gable' (a 1930s matinee idol - ask your grandparents).
The reason for his positive slant was that the hosts were far better organised, hungrier and more dynamic than the north London visitors. Especially impressive was Liverpudlian winger Alf Hanson, a summer signing, who tormented the Arsenal rearguard with determined runs and accurate crossing.
Hanson also netted the Pensioners' first two goals, either side of Reg Cumner's equaliser. George Mills, a loyal servant and goal-getter who was frequently overlooked in favour of more glamorous buys, also caused problems with soft-shoe control, and broke clear of Bernard Joy to grab Chelsea's crucial fourth.
Again Kirchin replied for the Gunners, but Harry Burgess restored the two-goal gap to produce a memorable 4-2 victory for west London. Chelsea leapfrogged the Gunners, who were demoted to 15th place.
Back to today, and the Blues have won four of the last seven Premier League meetings at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal have won only four of the last 22 meetings in all competitions over the past nine years.
Arsenal's last piece of silverware was the 2005 FA Cup when they defeated Manchester United on penalties at the Millennium Stadium.
Since then Chelsea have won the Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and two Community Shields.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
2002/03 - Drew 1-1
2003/04 - Arsenal won 2-1
2004/05 - Drew 0-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 1-0
2006/07 - Drew 1-1
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-1
2008/09 - Arsenal won 2-1
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Chelsea won 2-0
2011/12 - Arsenal won 5-3
Reverse fixture this season
29 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
Gervinho 42 Torres 19
Chelsea v Arsenal in all competitions
Games played 178
Chelsea wins 55
Arsenal wins 71
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 75
Chelsea wins 25
Arsenal wins 25
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
27/09/1969 - Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal
29/11/1930 - Chelsea 1-5 Arsenal
Chelsea won a trophy: 246
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,801
Liverpool won the league: 8,296
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.