Chelsea will be looking to improve on our excellent home record against newly promoted clubs in the Premier League when Sheffield United visit Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Since 2001/02, 54 teams have made their first trip to SW6 after winning promotion from the second tier, but only one – Bournemouth in 2015/16 – has managed to leave with three points.
While the Cherries were somewhat fortunate to get their 1-0 victory in December 2015, thanks to a goal scored by Glenn Murray from an offside position, it remains the only blemish on a strong record for the Blues against Premier League’s newcomers.
Of the 54 games we have played against newcomers over the past 18 season, 44 have ended in victory while nine have finished all square including a 1-1 draw against Wolves last March when Eden Hazard’s stoppage time strike prevented the visitors from becoming the first newly promoted team to do the league double against the Blues since Charlton Athletic in 2001/02.
The Addicks’ 1-0 win at the Bridge in that campaign would be the last by a Premier League newcomer for more than 14 years as the Blues went unbeaten in 43 of those games, winning 37 and drawing six before the setback against Bournemouth.
That run included some memorable triumphs including a derby clash against West Ham in April 2006 when we came from behind with 10 men to win 4-1, a 2-1 victory over Stoke City in January 2009 courtesy of a stoppage-time strike by Frank Lampard, and the 6-1 demolition of our west London neighbours Queens Park Rangers in April 2012.Since the loss to Bournemouth, Chelsea have won seven of our last 10 home matches against the newly promoted clubs including victories last season against Cardiff City (4-1) and Fulham, who were both relegated.
Seeing off the newcomers can be a good barometer of how the team is getting on. During our Premier League winning campaigns in 2004/05, 2005/06, 2009/10 and 2016/17, we took the maximum nine points from those three matches, while we managed only four points in 2015/16 when we suffered our worst campaign since the turn of the millennium as we finished in 10th place.