The December double header on Wearside concludes on Tuesday evening with a semi-final place at stake. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton size up the challenge of getting past Sunderland…
There are two ancient heartaches to be avenged in Sunderland by Chelsea tonight. In 1985 and 1992 the Blues traveled to Wearside with hopes of a first major Wembley cup final since 1972, only to have them dashed through a mixture of adversity and incompetence.
The modern day Chelsea have not lost away in this competition for 10 years (penalty shoot-outs excluded) but Jose Mourinho has already indicated he will field a much-changed side. Publicly Sunderland consider this a great opportunity to gather a prized scalp that would boost morale in their battle to rise from the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
Privately, Gus Poyet might feel additional games would bring a distraction from the Mackems' key priority of avoiding relegation. Older Black Cats supporters might remind him that when they beat Chelsea in 1984/85 they lost the final and, a few weeks later, their top-flight status.
Chelsea have won this competition four times but the most recent was during Mourinho's first spell: the 2-1 success over Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium in 2007 (pictured below). Only Liverpool (eight) and Aston Villa (five) have lifted the trophy on more occasions. In 1997/98, 2004/05 and 2006/07 it was the first instalment of double silverware for the Blues.
There will be no more Champions League midweeks from now until February. Four of the UEFA participants - Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Tottenham - can still pad out their January schedules with home and away semi-final ties in this competition and the final on 2 March. England's other Champions League representatives, Arsenal, were turfed out of the Capital One Cup by Chelsea in the last round.
There were seven former winners in yesterday's Champions League draw, but just the one from London, of course. Four Premier League teams have progressed for the sixth time and on each of the previous occasions that many did, at least one has reached the final.
Chelsea's reunion with our 2012 penalty shootout winner Didier Drogba and Galatasaray will be a special, emotional and eminently winnable one. Fellow group winners Man United drew Olympiacos.
In contrast, runners-up Arsenal were paired with defending champions Bayern Munich and Man City with Barcelona. Perhaps this will finally scotch the notion it makes little difference whether a side finishes first or second in their group.
Spurs' 0-5 Premier League drubbing by Liverpool on Sunday was their worst home result since Ruud Gullit's Chelsea won 6-1 at the Lane on 6 December 1997. The Lilywhites' manager Andre Villas-Boas departed the following day despite overseeing the club's best win percentage in 114 years.
Tonight the Goal Decision System already used in the Premier League will be deployed in a domestic match for the first time. The official Capital One Cup ball has been 'recalibrated' and satisfactorily tested with Hawk-Eye technology.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If there is still no winner the tie will be decided on penalties.
Capital One Cup quarter-final fixtures
Leicester v Manchester City 7.45pm
Sunderland v Chelsea 7.45pm Sky Sports
Stoke v Manchester United 7.45pm Sky Sports
Tottenham v West Ham 7.45pm
The draw for the semi-finals is on Wednesday night and is live on Sky Sports.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
- Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon will be live in the Chelsea TV studio with 'Matchnight Live'. Tune in for exclusive build-up and live commentary.
In the league there is a disparity of 17 places, 24 points and 32 goal difference between tonight's combatants but they may take a very different approach in this competition.
Sunderland's victims in the previous round were a drastically-changed Southampton side that reflected the low level of interest at the Stadium of Light, which was but a third full on the night. The Mackems are without a win in five matches and bottom of the Premier League table.
Gustavo Poyet has regularly juggled his pack since arriving as coach but is promising no radical reorganisation for this evening's line-up - 'two, three or four changes,' he said. One is likely to be Jack Colback, who was close to a second yellow in our league meeting before being substituted. The defensive midfielder missed the weekend 0-0 with West Ham through illness. Central defender Carlos Cuellar and first-choice keeper Keiren Westwood also remain unavailable. Replacement goalie Vito Mannone has conceded six goals in two defeats against Chelsea for the Black Cats and Arsenal.
In contrast Jose Mourinho is likely to field a very different team from the one that managed a 4-3 league win 13 days ago at the same stadium. Chelsea's next match may be back at Arsenal in the league on Monday, almost a week away, but that is the first of three games squeezed into just six days over Christmas.
At Emirates in the previous round of this tournament the Portuguese gave many of his regulars the night off and put out the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Michael Essien, Kevin De Bruyne and Ryan Bertrand, as well as late substitute defender Tomas Kalas. The team was strong enough to see off the near full-strength Gunners with relative ease.
One change is forced on the tactician tonight as right-back Branislav Ivanovic is suspended. His replacement at Arsenal, Cesar Azpilicueta, opened the scoring in the Blues' 2-0 win there and has since impressed hugely at left-back. The manager confirmed Ashley Cole will start tonight.
In early December in the north-east Sunderland took the lead through Jozy Altidore's first league strike, Frank Lampard heading the equaliser before Eden Hazard stunningly took control of the game with two sublime goals - famously earning the adjective 'unplayable' from the Mackems' boss Gus Poyet. The game finished 4-3 with defender Phil Bardsley netting at both ends.
Mourinho must be concerned as much by his side's lingering habit of conceding soft goals and heading opportunities as the inefficiency in front of goal that increases pressure on the rearguard. How he would prize a clean sheet victory on Wearside this time around.
The Chelsea boss will want to win this competition a third time and in 2004/05 used it to imbue a title-winning mentality in his squad. After back-to-back Champions League and Europa League triumphs there are fewer in need of 'blooding', but winning is always a good habit.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are aiming for a 10th successive victory against the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light.
This is only the third time in our history that Chelsea and Sunderland have been drawn together in cup competitions. Sunderland have won both previous encounters.
In the 1984/85 semi-finals of this competition - then called the Milk Cup - the first of the two legs was played at Roker Park, where seven people had been sent off that season and visiting managers complained about crowd influence on refereeing decisions.
'We know it will be hard,' said manager John Neal's assistant, Ian McNeill, 'but Chelsea are going there to get a win and to attack. It's the only way we know how to play.'
Hard-working midfielder John Bumstead started his first match for three months, the scheduled weekend match against Aston Villa having been postponed.
Having recovered from 0-3 down at Hillsborough to see off Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in the quarter-final second replay at the Bridge, there was an air of confidence surrounding Chelsea that the days of cup finals were back at last.
On the night, though, virtually everything that could go wrong did, starting with a shoulder dislocation for dominant centre-back Joe McLaughlin after just 10 minutes. With one substitute allowed at the time the tall defender's replacement was slight 21-year-old midfielder Dale Jasper.
Unfortunately the unfamiliar role proved disastrous for the promising youngster, whose languid skills were an ill fit with the aerial challenges and hard tackling required.
He gave away two penalties - the first a highly contentious hand-ball - one of which was converted by Colin West (not the later Chelsea player) and one saved by brilliant Blues keeper Eddie Niedzwiecki. Sadly West was quickest to react to the loose ball and tapped in Sunderland's second.
The battered Blues had patched-up hamstring victim Colin Lee and Mickey Thomas, nursing injured ribs, as virtual passengers for most of the game. Never the less there was enough in a spirited performance and the busyness of home goalie Chris Turner to suggest that the deficit might be overturned in the second leg in London (pictured below).
It was not to be. David Speedie struck an early blow for the Blues after five minutes but then an old boy came back to haunt his old club when former winger Clive Walker equalised 10 minutes before half-time, setting a target of three more goals for the hosts. Instead Walker hit his second, then West hit his third of the tie, midway through the second period. Pat Nevin scored a late second for the Blues but the game ended 2-3, 2-5 on aggregate.
The win did not do Sunderland much good: they lost in the final to Norwich City - and both sides went on to be relegated that season.
Previous League Cup meetings
Semi-final, first leg 13 February 1985, Roker Park
West 27 pen, 66
Semi-final, second leg 4 March 1985, Stamford Bridge
Speedie 6 Walker 36, 70
Nevin 84 West 75
FA Cup meetings
Quarter-final, 9 March 1992, Stamford Bridge
Allen 36 Byrne 82
Quarter-final replay, 18 March 1992, Roker Park
Davenport 20 Wise 86
Sunderland v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 117
Chelsea wins 57
Sunderland wins 39
Biggest win at Sunderland for each team
Sunderland 4-0 Chelsea - 30/10/1909, 08/02/1913, 08/09/1934
Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea - 01/02/2011
Chelsea lost an away League Cup tie in open play: 3,652
Sunderland lost a League Cup tie at the Stadium of Light: 413
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,132
Liverpool won the league: 8,627
Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1964/65, 1997/98, 2004/05, 2006/07
Runners-up: 1971/72, 2007/08
Semi-finalists: 1972/73, 1984/85, 1990/91, 2001/02, 2012/13
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2003/04 - Quarter-final
2004/05 - Winners
2005/06 - 3rd round
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Runners-up
2008/09 - 4th round
2009/10 - Quarter-final
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - Quarter-final
2012/13 - Semi-final
Chelsea's last away defeat in open play in the League Cup was in the quarter-final against Aston Villa in 2003. In the 2009 quarter-final, after drawing 3-3 at Blackburn after extra time, we went on to lose 4-3 on penalties.
Last season the Blues went out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage to Swansea 0-2 on aggregate.
Chelsea have won three of our last six penalty shoot-outs. Our last two have been against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and this season's Super Cup.
The Blues beat Swindon away in the third round and Arsenal away in the fourth round, both by a 2-0 scoreline.
|Last six results|
|Nov 26||Basel (Champions League a)||L 0-1|
|Dec 1||Southampton (h)||W 3-1|
|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|
Capital One Cup scorers (4)
Azpilicueta 1, Mata 1, Ramires 1, Torres 1
League Cup games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 2
An away defeat in open play: 15
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Mon 23 Dec||Arsenal away||8.00pm|
|Thu 26 Dec||Swansea City home||3.00pm|
|Sun 29 Dec||Liverpool home||4.00pm|
Frank Lampard's next penalty converted will be his 50th for the Blues.
BLACK CATS STATS
Sunderland in the League Cup
Semi-finalists: 1962/63, 1998/99
Quarter-finalists: 1961/62, 1989/90, 2000/01, 2013/14
|This season's Capital One Cup campaign|
|Aug 27||(2) MK Dons (h)||W 4-2|
|Sep 24||(3) Peterborough (h)||W 2-0|
|Nov 6||(4) Southampton (h)||W 2-1|
Capital One Cup scorer (8)
Wickham 2, Altidore 1, Bardsley 1, Giaccherini 1, Johnson 1, Larsson 1, Roberge 1
Sunderland have reached the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2000/01 when they lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Black Cats have been drawn at home for all four rounds this season. Tonight is their 12th home tie out of 16 in this competition.
Since 2003, Sunderland have won one and lost three of their four penalty shoot-outs.
Last season the Black Cats defeated Morcambe and MK Dons before being eliminated by Middlesbrough at home in the fourth round.
|Last 10 seasons in the League Cup|
|Season||Round reached||Defeated by|
Manager Gus Poyet
Days in charge: 70
|Last six results|
|Nov 10||Manchester City (h)||W 1-0|
|Nov 23||Stoke (a)||L 0-2|
|Nov 30||Aston Villa (a)||D 0-0|
|Dec 4||Chelsea (h)||L 3-4|
|Dec 7||Tottenham (h)||L 1-2|
|Dec 14||West Ham (a)||D 0-0|
League Cup games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 7
A home defeat: 3
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Anthony Taylor is the official for his second Chelsea match this term. He was the referee for our home 4-1 Premier League win against Cardiff City in October.
Branislav Ivanovic is suspended for one match for reaching five domestic yellow cards against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Michael Essien is one domestic booking away from a suspension having received four yellow cards this season.