After their late victory over PSG in the Champions League, Chelsea head to Wales to play a Swansea City team hoping to all but confirm their survival in the Premier League.
Swansea’s run of 1 win in 5 has meant they have failed to pull away from the relegation dogfight and are currently 6 points ahead of 18th placed Fulham. Despite this, fans and players alike will be confident they can avoid the drop with an relatively comfortable run-in after this weekend with Newcastle (a), Aston Villa (h), Southampton (h) and Sunderland (a) awaiting the Swans. Knowing they have matches where they’d expect to obtain enough points to retain their Premier League status – as well as the opportunity of other results going their way – having no pressure on this fixture will favour them against a Chelsea team that need all 3 points.
Still adamant that Chelsea are not the favourites for the title despite being top of the league due to the games in hand their title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City have over them, Mourinho may have shifted his attention to European exploits after their impressive second leg comeback against PSG to win on away goals. Recent away trips to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace saw Chelsea slip, dropping points that could cost them the league title and they’ll need to keep their concentration this weekend and next against Sunderland before they face Liverpool at Anfield.
Because of the technical ability and balance on the ball possessed by De Guzman, the Swansea system allows the Swansea loanee to thrive. Recently reaching the form of his debut season at Swansea that won him acclaim from fans and pundits and will play a central role again for the Welsh club.
De Guzman has made the most passes in the attacking half (1122). His inclusion in the side normally ups the tempo of the side and this was shown against Norwich a few weeks ago when his quick passes and one-twos with Bony saw De Guzman get a brace. The precise passing during Swansea’s counter attacks, which is likely to be their main form of attack, will be important and De Guzman’s average passing accuracy of 89% this season will need to repeated to add to the 50 created chances.
Whilst not being the player he was during his time at Barcelona and Inter Milan, as the season has progressed Samuel Eto’o has become an increasing influence on the Chelsea side. The experience of the Chelsea striker has proved pivotal at times this season, especially against in the big matches against rivals – Eto’o scored in his last two matches (Arsenal and Tottenham) and has 6 goals in 8 games against the top 7.
His ability to lead the line effectively – hassling the defenders and pulling them out of position for one of the attacking midfield trio behind to exploit – has often made up his lack of prolific finishing (44%of his clear cut chances have been converted).
Swansea have no new injury concerns with Kyle Bartley still out with a long-term hamstring injury.
Chelsea will be without their star man Eden Hazard for 2 weeks after he limped off against PSG midweek with a calf injury, fortunately for them that is their only absentee.
After their recent poor performances away from home, it is unlikely Chelsea will continue that run at Swansea. The Welsh club will however give Chelsea a scare, but ultimately fail to hold out for the full 90 minutes.
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