Boxing Day brings visitors from South Wales for the first of consecutive home games. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton supply the festive facts and figures…
On 25 December a century ago, the inside of Chelsea's Christmas matchday programme, the Chronicle, carried a message to supporters with a wonderful drawing of a jolly old Chelsea Pensioner raising a glass of good cheer and doffing his holly-sprigged cap.
Bearing remarkable similarities to the iconic adverts used by Coca-Cola 18 years later, the scarlet-jacketed ex-serviceman wishes 'That every joy and happiness may be yours this Christmastide is the sincere wish of the Pensioner.'
On the cover, though, was a warning to the visitors, The Wednesday, in cartoon form. It was a wintry scene featuring a cigar-smoking Pensioner on top of a hill about to roll a huge snowball down on an unsuspecting tourist from Sheffield.
Engraved on the sphere are the words: 'DEFEAT. WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON.' So much for the season of goodwill. In the end the raw material was actually lacking in 1913 - there was no white Christmas - but Chelsea still spoiled Wednesday's Thursday with a 2-1 win.
We really should approach today's game in the same spirit. Fourth in a congested top five, the Blues are two points off the top of tree after the resolute draw at Emirates.
The impressive overall performance would have been even better had a goal or two accompanied Petr Cech's 150th league clean sheet. That shutout was the Blues' first on the domestic front in five games. The home supporters moaning about 'Boring Chelsea' at the end might appreciate a Specsavers voucher for Christmas - their side's first and only effort on target had come just five minutes earlier.
'If we cannot improve our efficiency in front of goal we have to improve at the other end,' said Jose Mourinho recently. Still there are enough chances being created to suggest the Blues will bash an opponent sooner or later. We had 13 shots at the Arsenal goal and four were on target, while Frank Lampard was especially unlucky with a volley from Eden Hazard's exquisite pass that rebounded off the underside of the bar.
Boxing Day does not always bring the bonuses Chelsea fans might reasonably expect. Last season's win at Norwich (pictured below) was only our seventh win on 26 December since the Premier League started in 1992. We have lost six and drawn the other eight.
Visitors Swansea have struggled for wins over a campaign bearing the extra weight of Europa League football. Last season's Capital One Cup winners have managed just five Premier League victories, yet three of them have come on the road and two in London.
There was some good news for Swans fans when Michael Laudrup aligned himself with Chelsea supporters by ruling out accepting the vacant Tottenham manager job, shortly before Tim Sherwood was handed his 18-month contract.
Wins today and on Sunday against Liverpool would lift Mourinho's Blues up the table ahead of the New Year's Day journey to Southampton.
Unfortunately the scheduling of successive home games has not influenced the people at TFL who plan engineering work, and local transport will be severely affect for both matches. Details of how best to make your way to the Bridge can be found here
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Hull v Manchester United 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace 3pm
Cardiff v Southampton 3pm
Chelsea v Swansea 3pm
Everton v Sunderland 3pm
Newcastle v Stoke 3pm
Norwich v Fulham 3pm
Tottenham v West Brom 3pm
West Ham v Arsenal 3pm - BT Sport
Manchester City v Liverpool 5.30pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top eight|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Michael Essien returns from the suspension that ruled him out of Monday's draw at Arsenal. Jose Mourinho, a fan of the hectic Christmas period that is unique among Europe's top leagues, is likely to make several changes from that game.
Chelsea have scored at least two goals in each of the last 13 home league games, but no side has conceded fewer on the road than the Swans.
However Michael Laudrup arrives with a team torn apart by injuries. Holland international squad member Michel Vorm's knee operation ahead of the World Cup has meant a return for 35-year-old Gerhard Tremmel back in goal - he has never lost to Chelsea.
The Danish coach is also without strikers Michu and Alvaro Vasquez, right-winger Nathan Dyer and central defender Garry Monk.
In Michu's and Alvaro's absence Wilfried Bony, joint top scorer with Dyer, played the solo striker role in the 1-2 home defeat by Everton. The Swans have little cover in that area.
Laudrup can recall defensive midfielder Leon Britton after injury. Jonathan de Guzman and Jose Canas were the two deep-lying players against the Toffees.
Raiding right-back Angel Rangel (pictured below) also returns from suspension in place of Dwight Tiendalli. On the left flank full-back Ben Davies has caused Chelsea problems in the past. But it was his needless challenge that led directly to Everton's free kick winner at the weekend.
Laudrup's attacking midfield three on Sunday comprised Wayne Routledge on the left, Pablo Hernandez the right, with Jonjo Shelvey central, although he regularly drops back into midfield to instigate attacks. Roland Lamah, who offers far less defensive cover, came on for Routledge. There is a lack of chemistry between those players in the final third that Chelsea will hope to exploit to keep them at bay.
At the back, central defender Chico Flores is prone to the odd accident in possession. All the Swans rearguard look to release flank players quickly but can become hemmed in or stretched under pressure, passing across the back if there is nothing immediately on, or dwelling too long before releasing.
It means teams tend to commit more players into the final third against them. Chelsea have applied a similar press to Sunderland and Arsenal and others in recent weeks with mixed results: the chances have been created but not taken. Swansea tend to conceded a lot of shots each match.
They are also regularly caught out by individual skill of opponents, conceding fouls in dangerous areas - as they did, fatally, at home to Everton. They are not the tallest team and can be vulnerable in the air.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten league run against Swansea at Stamford Bridge to 11 games.
Swansea, were plain old Town back in 1928 when our two sides met for a Christmas in Wales. There were 12,659 spectators present for the Division Two clash on 29 December and the table-toppers returned home to London with both points thanks to Jimmy Thompson. The centre-forward enjoyed a prolific but short-lived playing career with the stunning return of 32 goals in 37 starts before moving to Norwich.
His main contribution to the Chelsea cause, though, was as a brilliant chief scout hoovering up the post-war football talent in his native east end of London. Greaves, Brabroook, Venables and myriad others came to the Bridge thanks to his sometimes law-bending recruitment methods.
The Blues' best result against the Swans (by now, like their hometown, given city status but threatened with relegation) came in December 1983, again in the second tier. Winger Paul Canoville netted the first, third and last goals in a 6-1 thrashing - his only hat-trick for the club (pictured below). Chelsea's other goals came through Pat Nevin, Kerry Dixon and John Bumstead. Ian Walsh scored for John Toshack's side on the slide.
Swansea's only league win at Stamford Bridge came in our first ever meeting in November 1925. Len Thompson, Jack Fowler and Billy Hole and were the visitors' scorers in their 3-1 win. Harry Wilding opened the scoring for the Blues.
Their only other win here was in the Capital One Cup semi-final in last January when the Swans won 2-0 on their way to the final.
Only the last two home league meetings have been in the top flight.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1926/27 - Drew 2-2 - Old Division Two
1927/28 - Chelsea won 4-0 - Old Division Two
1928/29 - Chelsea won 4-0 - Old Division Two
1929/30 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Old Division Two
1962/63 - Drew 2-2 - Old Division Two
1979/80 - Chelsea won 3-0 - Old Division Two
1980/81 - Drew 0-0 - Old Division Two
1983/84 - Chelsea won 6-1 - Old Division Two
2011/12 - Chelsea won 4-1 - Premier League
2012/13 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Premier League
Other matches last season
3 November 2012 Barclays Premier League
Hernandez 87 Moses 60
9 January 2013 Capital One Cup semi-final first leg
23 January 2013 Capital One Cup semi-final second leg
Chelsea v Swansea City in all competitions
Games played 25
Chelsea wins 10
Swansea wins 6
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 11
Chelsea wins 7
Swansea wins 1
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-1 Swansea - 06/12/1983
Chelsea 1-3 Swansea - 21/11/1925
Chelsea kept a Premier League clean sheet at Stamford Bridge: 96
Swansea won a league game at Stamford Bridge: 32,177
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,141
Liverpool won the league: 8,636
Chelsea have won 14 and drawn three of our last 17 home Barclays Premier League games since QPR won at Stamford Bridge on 2 January.
Chelsea have gained 11 points from losing positions this season, the best record in the Premier League.
Arsenal was our second clean sheet in our last 12 Premier League games.
Chelsea have trailed in five of our last eight league games.
Jose Mourinho is unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in all 83 domestic games in open play. In the Premier League he's 68 unbeaten.
|Last six results|
|Dec 4||Sunderland (a)||W 4-3|
|Dec 7||Stoke (a)||L 2-3|
|Dec 11||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League h)||W 1-0|
|Dec 14||Crystal Palace (h)||W 2-1|
|Dec 17||Sunderland (Capital One Cup a)||L 1-2 aet|
|Dec 23||Arsenal (a)||D 0-0|
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 2
A home defeat: 17
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sun 29 Dec||Liverpool home||4.00pm|
|Wed 1 Jan||Southampton away||3.00pm|
|Sun 5 Jan||Derby (FA Cup) away||2.15pm|
Frank Lampard's next converted penalty will be his 50th for the Blues.
Frank's next goal will be his 250th in his club career (Chelsea 209, West Ham 39, Swansea 1).
1 League Cup in 2013
2 Football League Trophies, last in 2006
10 Welsh Cups, last in 1991
In March 1978, a 28-year-old John Toshack became the youngest manager in the Football League and took the Swans from the Fourth Division to the First in four seasons. They achieved their highest ever finish, sixth, in 1981/82 but were relegated the following season and in another four years were back in the Division Four.
Swansea achieved a similar rise in fortunes after promotion from League Two (fourth flight) in 2004/05 and arriving in the Premier League via the Championship play-offs in May 2011.
Swansea have 10 points from a possible 24 this term with three wins against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Fulham, one draw at Norwich and four defeats to Tottenham, Southampton, Cardiff and Man City.
The Swans have only scored seven goals in their eight away league games this term.
No team have conceded fewer goals than Swansea's nine away from home in the Premier League this season.
They have yet to lose on the seven occasions they have opened the scoring having won five and draw two.
Swansea haven't won any of the nine games their opponents scored first, losing seven of them.
Manager Michael Laudrup
Days in charge: 374
|Swansea's last 10 year league history|
|2003/04||59||10th||League Division Three||4|
|Last six results|
|Dec 1||Man City (a)||L 0-3|
|Dec 4||Newcastle (h)||W 3-0|
|Dec 9||Hull (h)||D 1-1|
|Dec 12||St Gallen (Europa League a)||L 0-1|
|Dec 15||Norwich (a)||D 1-1|
|Dec 22||Everton (h)||L 1-2|
Premier League scorers (23)
Own goals 5, Bony 4 (1 pen), Dyer 4, Shelvey 3, Davies 2, Michu 2, Chico 1, De Guzman 1, Hernandez 1.
League games since
An away win: 2
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 1
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Mike Jones is making his first appearance at the Bridge since our 2-1 win against Wigan in April 2012. Chelsea have won seven of the eight games he has officiated to date.
There are no suspensions.
David Luiz and Ramires are one domestic booking away from a suspension having received four yellow cards this season. Were either to be booked against Swansea they would miss the game against Liverpool on 29 December.
After the next two games. five yellow cards accrued will no longer result in a ban; from 1 January players will only receive a warning.