After two cup competitions it is back to the bread and butter fixtures. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton lay out a feast of facts and figures…
Well, it really is feast or famine at the moment. Having hit 16 goals in the three previous Capital One Cup matches, a blank and two conceded was unpredictable. Then again, Chelsea have won only two of our last seven home games and have now not hit the net in four of the last six matches at the Bridge.
The disappointing home defeat matched that in the last season’s fifth round against Liverpool, which was conclusive as it was an earlier round. At least the Blues have the chance – admittedly slimmer than anticipated – of reaching the final with a reparatory performance at the Liberty Stadium a week on Wednesday.
Chelsea have won our last five consecutive away games, netting 16 goals in the process.
If home comforts are hard to find at present, away days have been booming. A win at Stoke will equal our record sequence of six successive top-flight away wins in league and cup, previously achieved in 2004/05 (twice), 2005/06 and 2006/07 (twice).
Punters will most likely not be going heavy on the goals aggregate for this match, though, which pits the joint meanest (Chelsea) and third tightest (Stoke) defences in the top flight against each other.
The Potters have played 12 fewer games than Chelsea and although they have a very good defensive record have only won six in all competitions. They have lost five and drawn 12.
Five of their nine clean sheets have been in 0-0 draws, just like the corresponding fixture to this last season. Chelsea won our last two meetings at the Bridge by one goal to nil.
Unbeaten throughout December, the Potters began the new year with a 0-3 defeat by champions Manchester City. A rotated side then drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend.
Demba Ba has managed four goals and two assists in four games against Stoke for West Ham and Newcastle, including a hat-trick last season at the Britannia Stadium.
Both teams have midweek fixtures looming: Stoke host an FA Cup replay against Palace on Tuesday, while Chelsea entertain the side we recently beat 5-1 in the same competition, Southampton, on Wednesday. That is the league game postponed from December when we were in Japan.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
QPR v Tottenham 12.45pm – Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Southampton 3pm
Everton v Swansea 3pm
Fulham v Wigan 3pm
Norwich v Newcastle 3pm
Reading v West Brom 3pm
Stoke v Chelsea 3pm
Sunderland v West Ham 3pm
Manchester United v Liverpool 1.30pm – Sky Sports
Arsenal v Manchester City 4pm – Sky Sports
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 16
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (all for Newcastle) 13
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottemham) 10
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