As teams from two capital cities prepare for contest later today, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their match preview…
WE HAVE HISTORY
During the interval at Stamford Bridge more than fifty years ago on 6 October 1962, supporters must have been pondered over their hot Bovril how Docherty’s Diamonds would ever find a way past George Swindin’s seasoned Cardiff side. Among those spotted was the renowned cricketer Jim Laker, a Chelsea supporter.
Within a few minutes of the restart the answer came in a fashion typical of that inventive, well-drilled side.
City conceded a free kick on the edge of their box and a cluster of Pensioners looked poised to take it. Eddie McCreadie ran up first but only ran over the ball. Then Frank Blunstone stabbed the ball sideways to the unnoticed Graham Moore, who swept the ball behind the visitors’ rearguard for Frank Upton to knock in.
It was street-wise trickery worthy of Laker the off-spinner and Docherty was happy to take the credit for his training ground work: ‘We don’t want other teams to know too much about it,’ he said, ‘but I can tell you we have two variations of the plan which we haven’t used yet.’ It was the third time in four attempts the ploy had opened the scoring that season.
‘A great goal,’ conceded Cardiff captain Ivor Allchurch. ‘Our defence wasn’t the same after it.’
He could say that again: from 0-0 on 55 minutes the Welsh side tumbled to a 6-0 thrashing with 10 minutes still remaining. The Blues’ goals came in batches: Terry Venables and Bert Murray inside the next five minutes, Bobby Tambling and Barry Bridges within two minutes of each other, and finally Tambling (pictured below challenging Cardiff goalkeeper Maurice Swan) on 79 minutes. Laker would have taken a stump home as a trophy after a second-half performance like that.
The last occasion Cardiff played at Stamford Bridge in the league was 30 years ago in the old Second Division, on 15 October 1983.
Chelsea won with goals from Colin Lee and Pat Nevin in front of a 15,459 crowd.
Chelsea Eddie Niedzwiecki, John Hollins, Joey Jones, Colin Pates, Joe McLaughlin, John Bumstead, Paul Canoville, Nigel Spackman, Kerry Dixon, Colin Lee, Pat Nevin.
Manager John Neal
Cardiff Andy Dibble, Colin Smith, Paul Bodin, Phil Dwyer, Jimmy Mullen, David Tong, Gordon Owen, Roger Gibbins, Chris Townsend (Wayne Matthews), Chris Roden, Tarki Micallef.
Manager Len Ashurst
Cardiff’s last victory at Stamford Bridge was by the only goal by Gary Stevens in April 1981 in the old Second Division.
Cardiff were the winners when the teams last met at Stamford Bridge in the top flight – 52 years ago.
Our last 10 meetings at Stamford Bridge
1956/57 – Cardiff won 2-1 – Old First Division
1960/61– Chelsea won 6-1 – Old First Division
1961/62 – Cardiff won 3-2 – Old – First Division
1962/63 – Chelsea won 6-0 – Old Division Two
1976/77 – Chelsea won 2-1 – Old Division Two
1979/80 – Chelsea won 1-0 – Old Division Two
1980/81 – Drew 1-1 – League Cup
1980/81 – Cardiff won 1-0 – Old Division Two
1981/82 – Chelsea won 1-0 – Old Division Two
1983/84 – Chelsea won 2-0 – Old Division Two
Chelsea v Cardiff in all competitions
Games played 41
Chelsea wins 16
Cardiff wins 15
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 17
Chelsea wins 10
Cardiff wins 5
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-0 Cardiff – 06/10/1962 (old Second Division)
Chelsea 0-2 Cardiff – 08/11/1952 (old First Division)
Chelsea played at Stamford Bridge: 27
Cardiff won at Stamford Bridge in the top flight: 19,022
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,073
Liverpool won the league: 8,568
This match ushers in a spell of four games in 10 days for the Blues, with Schalke away, Man City at home and Arsenal away in the Capital One Cup to come in quick order.
Fernando Torres has served his ban and recovered from a knee strain but injured Ashley Cole will be replaced at left-back by Ryan Bertrand, who played well in the Blues’ emphatic win at Swindon.
Demba Ba was preferred as the starter to Samuel Eto’o at Norwich while Torres was suspended. Both contributed strongly to the 3-1 win. However, Chelsea’s interchangeable personnel upfront, with a false or genuine no.9 switching places with the attacking midfield trio, tend to keeping defenders guessing.
Eden Hazard looked free of nagging injuries at Carrow Road and again for Belgium in midweek. His goalscoring teammate Kevin De Bruyne will hope for action over this vital period in various competitions, and is one option to come in for Germany’s hat-trick man Andre Schurrle who misses today’s game with a leg muscle injury. Willian pressed his case for inclusion with his exceptional first goal for the club.
It remains to be seen whether the influential Blue Brazilians David Luíz, Ramires and Oscar, who jetted to Korea and China this week, are included in the starting line-up.
Like Jose Mourinho, Malky Mackay has used a core of regular starters – seven ever-presents to Chelsea’s eight – in goalie David Marshall, central defenders Steven Caulker and Ben Turner, central midfielders Gary Medel and Aron Gunnarsson, left winger Peter Whittingham, and solo striker Fraizer Campbell.
Unsurprisingly set-play specialist Whittingham and striker Campbell dominate their statistics for shooting, goals, assists and offsides, while Gunnarson and Caulker top the pile in fouls and blocks respectively. Whittingham (pictured below) and goalie Marshall are the sole survivors from Cardiff’s 4-1 FA Cup drubbing at the Bridge in February 2010 under Dave Jones.
Peter Odemwingie, who likes west London so much he once drove here on transfer deadline day, has slotted into wide right and hit his first goal for City in the 1-2 home defeat to Newcastle United. He enjoyed two wins over Chelsea while with West Brom, heading the winner at the Hawthorns in November last year.
Even at 34 Chelsea will be wary of another winger, Craig Bellamy, who has scored against us for three different clubs.
The usual 4-1-4-1 system allows City to attack with width, predominantly down the right, where the diligent Campbell tends to drift. He is not the best at retaining possession or avoiding offsides but had proved a handful in several games, with impressive full-back Kevin Theophile-Catherine arriving forward to cross.
Chelsea will have noted that although disciplined, central midfielder Medel can be a little loose with possession. The Blues’ attacking trio will be buzzing around them for any scraps high up the field. Occasionally their defending makes them vulnerable to swift counter-attacks and slow to close down opponents on the edge of the box.
Cardiff allow shots on goal and their outstanding performer Marshall has been forced to make more saves than any other keeper. His own strikeforce is the least accurate in the league, with fewer than half the 41 shots on target Chelsea have managed.
Mourinho lets no possible weakness escape him and Cardiff, who will almost certainly concede some height to the hosts, can be vulnerable in the air.