Stamford Bridge, London
April 28, 2013; 15:00 GMT
Chelsea will take on Swansea City on Sunday and the importance of a victory cannot be overstated for them. Swansea’s season will be considered to be a successful one irrespective of what they do from here on, having already won the Capital One cup beating Chelsea on the way and being at the 9th position on the Premier League table, but for Chelsea, if they fail to finish in the top four, it will be a catastrophe of monumental proportions even if they win the Europa League.
Chelsea are yet to face Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in their last five games and any slip-up in their games against Swansea and Aston Villa will be nothing but suicidal. They are presently on 62 points having played 33 games, one point ahead of Spurs and one behind third-placed Arsenal albeit with a game in hand.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Gary Cahill is fit again after remaining on the sidelines for a month and a half, and Ashley Cole is back to match fitness as he started in the midweek win over Basel in the Europa League semi-final first leg. So, for Benitez, only Oriol Romeu remains a long-term absentee with the rest of the squad available for selection.
Rafa will not move away from the 4-2-3-1 formation. Cech will take his position between the posts, with Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz and Bertrand forming an expected back-four. Terry had started in midweek along with Ivanovic in defence, and the manager may decide to use his other centre-backs for this game. Bertrand may also be used to give Cole a breather.
Ahead of them, Mikel and Ramires are likely to form the pivot, with Mata returning to the starting line-up to take his place alongside Hazard and Oscar. Demba Ba will replace Torres up front.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Hazard, Oscar; Ba
Swansea have no fresh injury concerns for the clash against Chelsea. Neil Taylor has already returned from his long injury lay-off and is available for selection, but may only make the bench again.
In a 4-2-3-1 system, Swansea manager Laudrup will start Vorm in goal, behind the centre-back pairing of Chico and Williams, with Rangel starting at right-back and Davies at left-back. Sung-Yeung and Britton will start in central midfield, while the third attacking band is expected to comprise of Dyer on the right wing and Hernandez on the left, with Guzman starting just behind Michu.
Luke Moore is expected to make way in the side for Sung-Yeung, with Michu moving up the field to take his place at centre-forward. Routledge will also see game-time against Chelsea on the left, if not from the start, then surely from the bench.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Sung-Yeung, Britton; Hernandez, Dyer, Guzman; Micho
- Chelsea have won their last 5 home matches in the Premier League.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Chelsea’s last 4 games in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 4 matches against Swansea in all competitions.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Swansea’s last 3 away games in the Premier League.
- If Frank Lampard scores in this match he will equal Andy Cole’s record of scoring against 38 different teams in the Barclays Premier League.
- Fernando Torres has gone 997 minutes without a Premier League goal.
Player To Watch Out For
David Luiz (Chelsea)
David Luiz is a much better defender than he’s given credit for. In fact, he has come a long way since the time he signed for Chelsea. The lapses in concentration at crucial moments have considerably reduced and this season, he has been the most regular figure in the Chelsea defence. That he’s a phenomenally talented footballer was never in doubt, a fact reaffirmed by his goals of late, but by showing more discipline at the back, he’s actually moving towards realizing his true potential. His positive attitude on and off the field is infectious for fans and for his team-mates, and Sunday might just turn out to be another David Luiz show.
Chelsea 2-0 Swansea
Fight for Champions League football will go down to the wire this season, and with Arsenal and Tottenham picking up victories in their last games and Chelsea dropping two points against Liverpool, this encounter is surely a must win game for the West Londoners. Furthermore, the Capital One cup loss to Swansea will also be fresh in the players’ memory and they’ll look to settle the score. We foresee a strong Chelsea performance this weekend.
Blast From The Past