With the Blues in fourth-round action tomorrow, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their cup preview…
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Stoke have been drawn against each other on four previous occasions in the FA Cup with Chelsea progressing in three and Stoke one.
The most recent was in early March 2010 amid a lull in the general success of that season. In the match immediately before, Chelsea’s 37-game unbeaten run had come to an end in a dismal 2-4 collapse against Manchester City. Just prior to that, Jose Mourinho’s Inter had ended the Blues’ Champions League campaign.
Up to that point Carlo Ancelotti’s careful stewarding of the squad he had taken over in summer 2009 had led to the FA Cup quarter-finals, as well as a narrow lead at the top of the Premier League.
Yet suddenly the pressure was back on and facing the siege weaponry of Tony Pulis’s artful Potters was not the ideal recovery. With Rory Delap flinging low throw-ins 40 metres, the visitors caused the cup-holders a few early goal area panics.
Then midway through the first half Frank Lampard settled nerves with a rising drive to open the scoring. In the second half John Terry, jeered by visiting fans throughout, powerfully headed the second from a corner and celebrated by lifting his sleeve to show his captain’s armband.
The game ended 2-0 and, after seeing off Villa in the semi-finals, the Pensioners went on to complete a first ever league and cup Double by beating Portsmouth at Wembley.
The Blues are looking to extend our winning run against Stoke at Stamford Bridge to seven games in all competitions. The Potters last won here in October 1995 in the League Cup second round second leg when Glenn Hoddle and Lou Macari were the two managers.
Chelsea v Stoke in the FA Cup
5th round, 17 February 1934, Victoria Ground
Matthews 2 Oakton (pen)
5th round, 12 February 1969, Stamford Bridge
Birchenall 17 Burrows 53
Osgood 32, 68 Dobing 71
5th round, 16 February 2003, Britannia Stadium
Chelsea v Stoke in all competitions
Games played 90
Chelsea wins 41
Stoke wins 28
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City – 25/04/2010 – (Premier League)
Chelsea 2-5 Stoke City – 12/10/1946 – (Old Division One)
Chelsea lost a home FA Cup tie in open play: 3,960
Stoke avoided defeat at Stamford Bridge: 6,689
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,172
Liverpool won the league: 8,667
Stoke shocked Chelsea by coming from a goal down to win 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium in early December. Andre Schurrle was unfortunate to finish on the losing side having struck two splendid goals in the first hour.
The second transfer window of the season closes next Friday and new arrival, deep-lying midfielder Nenamja Matic, has already made his debut as a late substitute in the victory over Man United. His re-signing opens further options for Mourinho, including pushing Ramires forward on the right.
With Fernando Torres out with ligament damage for a few weeks, the stage is set for Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o. Ba has a record of four goals and two assists in six games against Stoke. Either should fancy their chances against a defence that has proved porous in recent weeks.
The Potters have also moved in the transfer window, signing Manchester City forward John Guidetti, 21, on loan. The Swede immediately enjoyed a cameo as substitute at Selhurst Park. Kenwyne Jones may return to the squad having not been selected recently.
Stoke have the Premier League’s worst away record this season. They have lost eight and drawn two in 11 outings and only Fulham have conceded more than their 24 goals on the road.
By his own admission, Mark Hughes’s side lack guile in the final third and they have hit the target in just one of their last five away trips, as he eases Stoke away from their old crash-bang-wallop ways to a more possession-based style. Midfielder Charlie Adam is their top scorer partly because he is their set-piece man.
Under Hughes, City attack down the flanks through Jonathan Walters on the right and Marko Arnautovic the left. The Austrian takes a direct approach, cutting inside and shooting powerfully from distance.
Jose Mourinho has to decide whether to recall Ashley Cole at full-back. Chelsea struggled in this department in the loss at the Britannia Stadium.
Despite seeing more of the ball than under previous manager Tony Pulis, Stoke have been made to pay for the unforced errors that have marked their game recently – including a 1-0 defeat when facing their former boss at Crystal Palace last weekend.
The week before they were edged out 5-3 at home by Luis Suarez and Liverpool. Despite some decent finishing themselves the Potters conceded avoidable fouls (some imagined by officials) in dangerous areas that handed the visitors easy opportunities.
The defeats meant Hughes’s side slipped back to 13th and right in the heart of a remarkably wide-ranging relegation melée. Hughes may feel inclined to rest some of his key players ahead of the crucial meeting trip in a few days’ time to fellow strugglers Sunderland, who are just four points behind them.
He could recall Wilson Palacios to start in midfield alongside Stephen Ireland – scorer in our league meeting – and may find space at the back for Andy Wilkinson.
Another legacy of the Pulis years is that Stoke are a tall side, which may influence Mourinho’s team selection. One of Matic’s great assets is that he is 6ft 4in – always useful against Ryan Shawcross (pictured below) and co.
Mourinho will also hope his attacking midfielders maintain the stunning form of recent matches. There is a new efficiency in front of goal and the Potters are not fastidious at preventing shots from outside the box.
Highly-rated youngster Jack Butland was recalled from loan at Barnsley to take over between the sticks after Asmir Begovic broke a finger and rewarded such faith with a triple save at Selhurst Park, however Begovic could return this weekend. Robert Huth, a title-winner with Chelsea, is recovering from surgery while injured wideman Matthew Etherington is expected to remain on the sidelines.
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