Swansea - Chelsea Preview: Blues chasing a two-goal deficit in Capital One Cup semi-final
Rafa Benitez's side have been in good form on the road but face a big challenge when they travel to south Wales after Michu and Danny Graham handed the Swans a first-leg lead
By Ewan Roberts
Rangel, Monk, Williams, Davies
Hernandez, De Guzman, Routledge
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole
Oscar, Mata, Hazard
Swansea have a relatively clean bill of health, though will be without Kemy Agustien and Neil Taylor (both ankle).
Central defender Chico (knee) is a major doubt for the game, so Garry Monk – who started against Stoke at the weekend – is expected to continue in his absence.
Michael Laudrup has selected Gerhard Tremmel in all of Swansea's Capital One Cup ties so far and the German keeper should start again on Wednesday night.
Rafa Benitez remains without Nigerian duo Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel, both of whom are on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
David Luiz is unlikely to feature, having picked up an ankle injury which ruled him out of Chelsea's 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.
Oriol Romeu is the only long-term absentee, but the unavailability of the Spaniard as well as Mikel means the 34-year-old Frank Lampard is likely to start his fourth game in just 11 days.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Swansea have lost just one of their last nine games, a 1-0 defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup third-round replay.
- The Welsh club haven't been beaten at home since December 8, and have lost just twice at the Liberty Stadium all season, while only the top three and Arsenal have scored more goals at home than Swansea (22).
- Michael Laudrup's side hold this season's Premier League record for the most passes leading to a goal, with 28 passes preceding Michu's strike against Norwich earlier this season.
- Swansea are yet to lose a game in which they have scored first, winning 13 out of the 15 games in which they've opened the scoring this season.
- Swansea are 90 minutes away from a first ever appearance in a major cup final (having lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1926 and 1964), and could become the first Welsh winners of the league cup.
- Chelsea may have struggled at home under Rafa Benitez, but they've won each of their last six away games in all competitions and conceded just 11 times on their travels across the entire season.
- Only Derby County's Michael Jacobs (five) has more assists than Juan Mata in this season's Capital One Cup, while Swansea's Danny Graham (pictured) is the joint-second highest scorer.
- Chelsea have drawn 1-1 with Swansea on their last two visits to south Wales, and haven't won away to the Welsh club since 1983.
- The Blues have won more penalties than any other side this year (eight), and have converted seven.
- The reigning European champions have won 50 per cent of the league matches in which they have trailed this season, but never overturned more than a one goal deficit.
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Top 3 Predictions
Swansea City 0-3 Chelsea FC
- 21.56 %
Swansea City 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 14.69 %
Swansea City 1-4 Chelsea FC
- 12.25 %
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Swansea City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Apr 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Swansea City 0|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||23 Jan 2013||Swansea City 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||9 Jan 2013||Chelsea FC 0 - Swansea City 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||3 Nov 2012||Swansea City 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|2 Mar 2014||Swansea City 1 - Crystal Palace 1||EPL|
|27 Feb 2014||Napoli 3 - Swansea City 1||EL|
|23 Feb 2014||Liverpool 4 - Swansea City 3||EPL|
|20 Feb 2014||Swansea City 0 - Napoli 0||EL|
|16 Feb 2014||Everton 3 - Swansea City 1||FA|
|20||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|
|Jonathan De Guzmán|
The Villarreal loanee has been brilliant since moving to Swansea, and looked in fine form at the weekend against Stoke; the Dutch midfielder scored a wonderful free-kick before adding a second after a sweeping Swans counterattack. The 25-year-old – likely to be given a free role behind Michu – has six goals and seven assists in all competitions (only Michu has more combined goals/assists for the Swans), and Chelsea must be wary of his consistently dangerous set-pieces.
It is almost impossible to overstate how important the Spaniard is to Chelsea's attacking play; the Blues brim with verve and craft when he is on the pitch, but are unimaginative and lethargic in his absence. Mata has notched an impressive 17 assists this year in all competitions, and brought his league goal tally to eight when he slammed a volley past Wojciech Szczesny at the weekend. If Chelsea are to win, then it will probably be because of the effortlessly classy 24-year-old.
Chelsea will need to attack from the off in pursuit of the two goals needed merely to send the game into extra-time, but that will leave holes in defence and Swansea are hugely efficient on the counter-attack – as highlighted by their quick, pass-and-move break for their third goal against Stoke. The danger for Swansea is that they sit on their two-goal cushion, drop deep and allow Chelsea to control the game.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed