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Swansea City AFC

Stamford Bridge, London

8th August 2015; 1730 BST

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The Swans will make the cross-country trip west to London to take on the defending champions of the Premier League. History and form is against the visitors but Garry Monka s men are not known to go down without a fight. The Blues too have history to maintain, as no defending champion has ever been defeated in their opening fixture in the Premier League.

A slew of smart transfer buys by the visitors has been followed up with an average pre-season where they could win only one of their five fixtures, drawing the rest. Swansea hope to become the first Premier League team to defeat Chelsea on the opening day of a season since 1998. The Welsh team know they have a poor history as far as meetings with Chelsea are concerned but as always, their fighting spirit and terrific support from the fans will power them through, for what they hope will be yet another successful season.

Chelsea too have had a poor pre-season culminating in a somewhat drab 1-0 loss to Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho, however, stayed away from the criticism of their pre-season form saying that it was a good a training exercisea for his team. Last weeka s Community Shield loss to rivals Arsenal might have dampened spirits a bit further, but the defending champions are favourites coming into this match and also, by many estimates, favourites to retain the title.

Team news and tactics

Chelsea

Perennial injury doubt Diego Costa is yet again facing questions about his fitness as the new season arrives as he is expected to be sidelined from this game; his troublesome hamstring the culprit yet again. The relatively well rested squad is free from injuries or niggles otherwise.

As was the case last season, Chelsea will be expected to line up in their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas expected to sit in front of the back four. Ramires, who started the game against Arsenal, could be dropped to the bench in favour of Oscar who would start in the number 10 role just behind the striker. Eden Hazard and Willian will take up the wing positions with Loic Remy expected to lead the line in attack. Falcao could start from the bench given his relatively short pre-season, coming on as an impact substitute later in the match.

Chelsea are traditionally strong starters and nothing but a win will be expected from this game. Swansea are tough opponents no doubt, but if Chelsea are to defend their title they have to pick up three points from such games.

Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Courtois (GK), Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Willian; Remy

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Swansea

Monka s only injury doubt coming to Stamford Bridge is that of Jordi Amat. The Spanish defender is a doubt for the trip with a foot injury. Summer signings Andre Ayew and Franck Tabanou could be handed starts as they look to settle in the Premier League.

Former Chelsea youth captain Jack Cork is expected to be a part of a 4-2-3-1 formation by Swansea. Last seasona s outstanding performer Ki Sung-yeung could partner him in the 2 sitting in front of the back four, meaning only a bench role for Jonjo Shelvey. Befetimbi Gomis took over the main strikera s role after Wilfired Bonya s departure last season, and yet again will be expected to start this game. However, new signing Eder will hope to keep the French forward on his toes. Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nathan Dyer will form the attacking midfield trio.

Swansea have warned Chelsea that they will not a park the busa at the Bridge and nothing less will be expected of them. A shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford on the opening day last season is testament to the attacking mentality at the Welsh club. Mourinho has heaped praise on Monk ahead of this game and has no doubt asked his team to be wary of the giant killing Swans.

Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski (GK), Tabanou, Williams, Fernandez, Naughton; Cork, Ki; Ayew, Sigurdsson, Dyer; Gomis

Player to watch out for

450px-Andr _Ayew [C] wikicommons

Andre Ayew (Swansea)

The Ghanian international signed for Swansea in the summer from Marseille and is expected to light up the Liberty Stadium with his talent. It is always exciting to see new talent on the biggest stage in league football, so we are definitely looking forward to watch Ayew in action against the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic.

Key facts

  • All defending champions in the history of the Premier League have won their opening fixture.
  • Chelseaa s last loss at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season was against Blackburn in the 1993/94 season.
  • Garry Monk is 0 for 3 against Chelsea since taking over the managera s role in 2014.
  • This is the first time in 5 years that Swansea City will face a non-Manchester based club on the opening day of the season

Prediction

Chelsea 2 a 0 Swansea

Although the Swans are expected to give a tough time to every opponent they face, the defending champions should be able to eke out a win given their history in this fixture and their traditional strong starts to any league campaign.

Blast from the past