Chelsea - Swansea Preview: Blues look to take home lead into semi-final second leg
The hosts go into the last-four clash looking to win their third League Cup in nine years, while the Swans have never before progressed beyond the fourth round
By Alex Hess
Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand
Mata, Oscar, Hazard
Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies
Dyer, De Guzman, Routledge
Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez is likely to be without his first-choice goalkeeper, Petr Cech (groin), as well as his old Liverpool employee Yossi Benayoun (knee) for Wednseday's visit of Swansea.
John Terry (knee) is unlikely to make his return in the Capital One Cup semi final, while Oriol Romeu (knee) remains a long-term absentee.
Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will also be unavalable for selection, having departed for the Africa Cup of Nations after Saturday's defeat of Southampton.
Neil Taylor (ankle) is the only player to be ruled out for the visitors, although Michael Laudrup may choose to rest top scorer Michu ahead of Saturday's trip to Everton.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have conceded more than one goal in a single game only once in 13 fixtures since Rafa Benitez took over. They did so 11 times in their 21 games under Roberto Di Matteo this season.
- The Blues have not scored less than five goals in any of their four domestic cup games so far this season, netting an astonishing 21 in total.
- Swansea's form in front of goal in their own Capital One Cup campaign is almost as impressive, having averaged 2.5 goals per game across their three fixtures.
- In the 100 years since they were founded, the Welsh club had never advanced further than the fourth round of the League Cup until this campaign.
- Swansea's highest ever top-tier finish was sixth place, in 1982. By contrast, their manager, Michael Laudrup (pictured right), has finished in first place seven times, in four different countries.
- Between them, these two sides have lost only one game in their combined last ten matches in all competitions.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 3-1 Swansea
- 19.76 %
Chelsea FC 3-0 Swansea
- 9.6 %
Chelsea FC 4-1 Swansea
- 8.54 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 28, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Swansea 0|
|England - Capital One Cup(League Cup) (CCUP)||Jan 23, 2013||Swansea 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Capital One Cup(League Cup) (CCUP)||Jan 9, 2013||Chelsea FC 0 - Swansea 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 3, 2012||Swansea 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 31, 2012||Swansea 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Stoke 3 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|20||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|
The Brazilian international has been used more sparingly under Rafa Benitez than was the case previously, but he is likely to get a starting place on Wednesday. The 21-year-old makes up for what he lacks in physique with an intrepid work rate, and can not only identify the elusive, defence-splitting pass, but execute it with aplomb. He also has a knack of scoring spectacular goals at important times, and the majesterial playmaker could well be Swansea's undoing on Wednesday.
He tends to fly largely under the radar, but Dyer has been a reliable and impressive servant for Swansea over the past three-and-a-half season. With a low centre of gravity, sinewy strength and explosive pace, Dyer is one of his club's most potent goal threats. Likely to be facing a still-developing full-back in Ryan Bertrand, the ex-Southampton man will be looking to add to his tally of three goals so far this term.
Given the two clubs' respective form in the domestic cups this season, it would be foolish not to expect at least a few goals on Wednesday night. Though Swansea could well find their way through Chelsea's newly reinforced backline, the elite level quality the hosts boast in the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and new man Demba Ba could well prove the difference in this clash.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed