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The Blues welcome the Swans to South West London for their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg, and Jamie Dickenson is predicting a tense encounter with less than three goals

Chelsea host Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg, with Rafa Benitez's side looking to stamp their authority on the tie with a strong Stamford Bridge display.

The home side are the favourites for this all-Premier League clash, with 4/9 (1.44) on offer from Paddy Power for a Blues victory.

That price is quite short considering Chelsea's last home match in the league was a shocking 1-0 defeat against struggling QPR, although last season's Champions League winners responded to that loss by making a successful start to the defence of their other trophy win from last season, thumping Southampton 5-1 in the FA Cup.

Former Newcastle striker Demba Ba was signed for £7.5m before their trip to the Saints - where the Senegal international scored twice - and if he starts ahead of Fernando Torres he is a good bet at 8/11 (1.73) to strike anytime.

Benitez's tinkering is hard to predict however, although leaving Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Ramires and Ashley Cole on the bench for Chelsea's beating by their local rivals QPR may have reminded him to play his best team as often as possible.

Swansea have not been on their strongest form recently though, with just one victory achieved from their last six games in all competitions.

Michael Laudrup's side did earn a victory at Fulham before New Year, and are priced at 13/2 (7.5) to win again just down the Kings Road.

A draw looks worthy of consideration at 10/3 (4.33), given that the first leg is likely to be a tight affair with neither team wanting to concede.

Betting on Chelsea from a -1 position could reap rewards with odds of 11/10 (2.10) for punters who have confidence in the Blues, but it seems safer to back minimal goals in what appears to be a pretty even encounter.

Swansea will try and keep the ball and maintain possession, which could help stifle the home side's goal threat.

Although the Blues have found scoring easy in recent weeks, the blank against QPR would have worried Rafa Benitez who may field a more defensive line up in this first leg match.

When Chelsea faced the Swans earlier in the season at the Liberty Stadium a 1-1 stalemate ensued, and backing under 2.5 goals in this meeting looks a tidy prediction at 5/4 (2.25).

As previously mentioned, if he starts then Demba Ba looks the most potent goal threat and having struck four times in his last two games (for both Newcastle and Chelsea), the 27-year-old is worth a flutter at 7/2 (4.5) to score first.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Under 2.5 goals at 5/4 (2.25) with Paddy Power
Demba Ba to score first at 7/2 (4.5) with Paddy Power

Jamie Dickenson is a 22-year-old freelance journalist who specialises in football, sports and betting.

More of his work can be found here
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