Chelsea have a chance to extend their recent good Premier League form as they host Swansea City on Wednesday. This is a game that they will be expecting to win and three points will consolidate their position in the top four. It seems unlikely that they will be able to retain their Premier League title, but their season has got back on track in recent weeks and there is still a chance for the team to have a good campaign. On the other hand, the visitors are in the relegation zone and look set for another battle against the drop. They won’t fancy their chances against the current champions.
Antonio Conte’s future has been the topic of much media discussion since he arrived at the club. The Italian is not one to keep his opinions to himself and that can cause friction with the board at Chelsea. The exit of Michael Emenalo did seem to consolidate the manager’s power at the club, but there are still rumblings that he is unhappy. At the time of writing, the tensions have calmed and the team have returned to winning ways. Their upcoming fixture list is kind and they will be hoping to close the gap on Manchester city over the coming weeks.
Swansea City are deep in relegation trouble for yet another season and it does seem the club is unable to stop their decline. Paul Clement earned himself a lot of credit with the board and supporters after delivering survival last season, but the indications this year are that he is unable to sustain success at the club. A loss against Chelsea won’t be terminal, but the Englishman is running out of time at the Liberty Stadium.
Chelsea have taken 13 points from their last five Premier League matches and the air of invincibility is returning to the club. A title challenge looks a steep challenge from their current position, but it would be foolish to rule them out of the race.
Swansea City have the worst attack in the division, having scored only seven times in 13 matches. They have so far failed to find the back of the net in November.
It was a significant blow for Chelsea to lose Eden Hazard at the beginning of the season after the attacker suffered an injury while on international duty. His individual impact is often underrated, as he creates space for others in the team to exploit. It can’t be quantified by stats, but it was evident against Liverpool. The Belgian has dynamism that nobody else in the squad possesses and he gained the assist for the equalising goal at Anfield. Although it was a sublime finish from Willian, it was the tireless work from Hazard that led to the chance. The 26-year-old has contributed three goals and two assists in his last three matches in all competitions. His form is improving and he is starting to make a difference on the pitch with his attacking contributions. There is a lot of talent in the Premier League, but the former Lille player remains one of the best players and he will be keen to have a big impact this season.
Swansea fans have been demanding that the Spanish midfielder plays more often and he got the opportunity to start for the first time in over a month against Bournemouth. He didn’t stand out, but the tempo of the midfield passing was better and he got stuck in when the team didn’t have possession. The 28-year-old completed three tackles and three interceptions. Although he only had a tackle success rate of 38%, he certainly improved the Swans in the middle of the park. In addition to his tenacity, he completed 83% of his passes and distributed the ball effectively. He did enough to retain his place and Chelsea will offer him with a good opportunity to further his first-team chances.
Antonio Conte may choose to rotate his squad against a team in the bottom three of the table. Victor Moses could be set for a first-team return, but Michy Batshuayi, Charly Musonda and Kenedy are all out.
A big blow for Swansea will be the unavailability of Tammy Abraham against his parent club. This means another start for the misfiring Wilfried Bony is likely. The on-loan Chelsea forward has had a hand in five of the team’s seven Premier League goals, underlining his importance to the side.
It is difficult to see Swansea getting anything from the match at Stamford Bridge, especially without their best attacker, Tammy Abraham. The Swans have already shown a reliance on the on-loan striker and there is little sign of Wilfried Bony showing the form of his first stint at the club. Chelsea have been much better in recent weeks and look ready to make ground on Manchester City during the Christmas period. They maintained their positive momentum with a draw against Swansea and the upcoming fixtures look kind. This should be a comfortable home victory.
Chelsea 3-0 Swansea City