Chelsea will look to keep their hopes of top four finish alive with a victory on Saturday, when they take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
The Blues are currently fifth on the table after 34 games played, 5 points behind fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur and 6 points ahead of Arsenal. Swansea on the other hand, are seventeenth on the table, only 4 points away from the relegation zone.
In their last game, Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0 at Wembley in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, while Swansea were humiliated 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium by newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester City. In the first meeting between the two sides earlier this season, Chelsea managed a narrow 1-0 victory thanks a goal from Antonio Rudiger.
Tactics & Teams News
Swansea captain Federico Fernandez and Kyle Bartley are both doubtful for tomorrow’s clash. The duo are undergoing scans for their knee problems, while Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony have been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up long term injuries.
Tammy Abraham won’t be able to feature against his parent club due to the terms of their loan agreement so that leaves Carlos Carvalhal with just one striker in the form of Jordan Ayew. Given their injury woes, he is expected to use a back four, instead of the three man defence he has been using since his arrival.
Lukasz Fabianski is expected to start in goal, with Kyle Naughton, Mike van der Hoorn, Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson making up the defence. Further upfront, Ki Sun-Yeung is likely to start in defensive midfield, just infront of the the two centre-backs.
Sam Clucas and Andy King are expected to set up shop in central midfield, with the main focus on keeping N;golo Kante and Cesc Fabgreas as quiet as possible. Tom Carroll and Andre Ayew are likely to start on the wings, with Jordan Ayew leading the line as the lone center forward.
Probable Starting XI(4-5-1): Łukasz Fabiański; Kyle Naughton, Mike van der Hoorn, Alfie Mawson, Martin Olsson; Andre Ayew, Andy King, Ki Sung-Yueng, Sam Clucas, Tom Carroll; Jordan Ayew
Chelsea will be without David Luiz, who is out injured and Marcos Alonso, who is serving his suspension. Aside from the defensive duo, Conte has a full strength squad to choose from and after a week’s rest post their semi-final victory against Southampton, he is expected to field his strongest possible starting XI.
Thibaut Courtois is expected to come back into the starting XI ahead of Willy Caballero, while Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Gary Cahill are expected to retain their place in the back three. Emerson Palmieri and Victor Moses are also likely to start on either flank tomorrow.
Cesc Fabregas is expected to start once again alongside the indispensable N’golo Kante in midfield, but Tiemoue Bakayoko has a slight chance of starting in midfield as well. while Eden Hazard and Willian are expected to retain their places on either side of the in-form Olivier Giroud.
Probable Starting XI(3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, N’golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Emerson Palmieri; Willian, Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard
- Swansea are undefeated in their last 5 Premier League matches at home, last losing to Tottenham Hostpur in January this year.
- In 7 homes games Chelsea across all competitions, Swansea have only ever won once, losing 2 and drawing 4.
- In those games Chelsea have scored 10 goals, while Swansea have netted 5.
- Chelsea have only won 9 of their 17 Premier League away games this season.
- These two sides have previously faced each other 15 times, with Chelsea winning 8, losing 2 and drawing the remaining 5 games.
1. Swansea Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.575
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.90
3. Over 9.5 Corners @ 1.83
1. Alfie Mawson to score anytime @ 15.00
Player To Watch
Chelsea: Olivier Giroud
The Frenchman has scored 3 goals in his last 3 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions and he has established himself as Antonio Conte’s first choice center forward at the club. After his heroics at Wembley against Southampton, he will undoubtedly look to build more momentum going forward and is certainly the one to watch out for tomorrow at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City 1-2 Chelsea
The Blues will certainly not have it easy against a side threatened by relegation. Swansea will look to bounce back in the strongest manner possible after the thrashing they endured against Manchester City at the Etihad last week and anything other than a loss would come as a huge boost to their confidence, but also their survival hopes.
Chelsea themselves have more than enough motivation to keep fighting. They still stand a chance of making it into the top four ahead of Spurs, but for that, they will need to win every single game from here on out. They seemed to have picked up their form at the right time of the season and should take no prisoners against the Swans.
We predict a narrow victory for Antonio Conte’s men. Chelsea have far too much quality in their ranks and in recent games, they have shown the drive and desire that has been missing for large parts of the current campaign. Swansea’s injury woes should only make it easier for them and it is difficult to see Carlos Carvalhal’s men causing an upset.