It’s game-week 22 and Swansea City host the league leaders Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium as the home side will be looking forward to a new period in their Premier League campaign – without talisman Wilfried Bony – after the striker’s transfer to Manchester City was confirmed two days back on social media. The Swans have been doing well at the Liberty Stadium in general this season and recent home form suggests Garry Monk’s team are a tough nut to crack at home with them accruing 11 points from the last 6 games facing just one defeat in the process. They will have to be at their resolute best though after an exhausting 1-1 draw at West Ham, when they come up against the best team in the country on Saturday if they are to climb that league table where they are now sat ninth knowing a win could possibly lift them a point above Liverpool.
Chelsea’s away form has dwindled since the 1-2 win against Liverpool and have been losing some vital points in the title race in games away from Stamford Bridge of late. After a dream start to their season, which had people convinced they could go on an entire season unbeaten, the Blues were slowly but surely losing the momentum as they entered December, especially in games on road. The unbeaten run ultimately came to a screeching halt at the hands of Newcastle United and a further setback saw Jose Mourinho suffer another painful defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day. With just 8 points from a possible 18 in their last 6 away games, the away form should be worrying the manager when the side has been enjoying a perfect record at Stamford Bridge.
When the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in September, it was Chelsea who ran out 4-2 winners thanks to a rampant Diego Costa hat-trick.
For Swansea, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will be serving the last of a four-match ban following his red card at Anfield. They will also have to cope without Jefferson Montero who has not recovered yet from a hamstring strain.
The Blues will definitely miss defender Cesar Azpilicueta who is nursing a groin injury. While goalkeeper Courtois has recovered from his finger injury and will be fit to play if required, but is likely to sit out on Saturday.
Swansea 1-1 West Ham (Prem)
Tranmere 2-6 Swansea (FAC)
QPR 1-1 Swansea (Prem)
Liverpool 4-1 Swansea (Prem)
Swansea 1-0 Villa (Prem)
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle (Prem)
Chelsea 3-0 Watford (FAC)
Spurs 5-3 Chelsea (Prem)
So’ton 1-1 Chelsea (Prem)
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham (Prem)
- Swansea are one of two teams who have not had an opposition player sent off against them so far (along with Newcastle).
- Swansea’s woodwork has been struck 14 times this season, more than any other club.
- Chelsea have hit the target with 50.4% of their attempts, the best shooting accuracy in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have seen six opposition players red carded this season, more than any other team.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Swansea City
Gylfi Sigurdsson has been Swansea’s best player this season by a fair few miles, bailing them out of tough situations on a consistent basis, and playing a vital role in their current league standing. He has proved to be that all round player any side would love to have in their ranks. For Swansea, he’s creating goals, scoring some himself, even from open play, but is crucial on set pieces. He’s been their main source of goals and chances as the 25-year old has already created a staggering number of open play chances (53), averaging 85% success when it comes to his accuracy of passes. He’s also been one of their busier players in front of goal having attempted 38 shots, with 14 of them towards goal and 4 beating the keeper. With his added ability to pose a serious threat through his dipping free kicks, Chelsea could have a bad day at the office if they fail to keep him at bay come Saturday.
Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea
Fabregas has so far enjoyed an amazingly fruitful return to the Premier League with the midfielder topping the assists charts by a landslide creating an astonishing 63 chances in 20 appearances, roughly 3 goal-scoring chances every game. His awareness and vision on the pitch and the ability to pull off the passes that very few footballers in the world can manage has not only kept Chelsea effortlessly ticking in the league but also helped fellow new signing Diego Costa find his feet quicker in a new league than anybody could have imagined, all the more so after a disastrous World Cup. The complete midfielder in the league arguably, the Spaniard has also effectively put in defensive shifts when needed alongside Matic, contributing to Chelsea’s already solid unit at the back. The Blues have got several potential match-winners in their squad but they all become that only when Fabregas is on his game, something Jose Mourinho would love to see on Saturday.
Swansea have had good results at home. Beating Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium for instance was a great result. But this Chelsea side have got enough and more in their locker to take all 3 points this weekend. A set-piece goal to win it.