Chelsea overcame more adversity in their European campaign Tuesday night. After a 3-1 loss away in Paris, the Blues overcame that poor result by winning in dramatic fashion 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues initially seemed to be doomed when on 18 minutes star Belgian forward Eden Hazard was taken off due to a calf injury. However his German counterpart Andre Schurrle was the catalyst in the Chelsea comeback, scoring the crucial first goal that gave the team and supporters more belief and thrashing another shot off the bar. Now the Chelsea faithful turn their attention towards Swansea City, the Blues next league opponent. Chelsea will take a trip to the coast of South Wales where the Swansea Jack Army make their nest.
The Blues have had a poor record in South Wales over the last few fixtures, being held to a draw in either of their previous two Premier League fixtures and losing in the Capital One Cup Semi-Final second leg last year. In that tempestuous Cup tie, the aforementioned Belgian forward was sent off for kicking out at a ball-boy who refused to release the ball for a late Chelsea throw-in.
While Chelsea sit just two points off Premier League leaders Liverpool, Swansea City sit 15th in the table, 6 points clear of the relegation zone currently anchored by Fulham, Welsh rivals Cardiff and Sunderland. The Swans controversially sacked manager Michael Laudrup midseason after a string of relatively poor results, and placed club captain Gary Monk as the interim player-manager. After finishing in the top half of the table last season, Swansea have had a relatively disappointing season despite signing the highly rated striker Wilfried Bony from Vitesse Arnheim in the past summer transfer window.
Bony scored 46 goals in 65 appearances for the Eredivise club, and Bony initially impressed in his Premier League debut, but an injury set him out about a month. Despite this, the Ivorian has 12 goals in 29 appearances. Last season’s Premier League signing of the summer, Michu, has had an injury shortened season as well. After scoring 22 goals in 43 appearances last season the Spaniard only has 6 goals in 19 matches, however if he is fit he is still a threat to score. Beyond scoring himself, Michu also seemed to open the play for Bony, and Swansea fans will hope their two forwards can completely end Chelsea’s chances at a Premier League title.
Predicted Starting XI
We may see Eto’o up front, or even Demba Ba following his heroics against PSG, however I still believe Torres will get the start over his compatriots. We could also see Salah get another start following a very good showing against Stoke last weekend and his inability to play in the midweek Champions League fixture. If we do see Salah start, he would most likely start on the right with Oscar making way for Willian to play centrally, as was the case in the 3-0 against Stoke.
I have some personal history with Swansea City, I spent last season abroad studying at Swansea University, all of about 20 minutes away from the Liberty on the number 4 Metro bus. My first Premier League match experience was at the Liberty Stadium, an October match between Swansea and Wigan. I was a fan of the game before that, but needless to say I was hooked after my first match. The Swans won, 2-1, on an incredible Michu header, and so the Swans hold a special place in my football fandom. Chelsea comes above all else however, and so for this match I’m predicting a 2-1 win for the visitors.
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