Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Wednesday, 9 January
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
Swansea at home in the Capital One Cup might not be a significant fixture on our calendar as a rule but with any hope of honours this season dwindling, we have to take whatever we can get.
Swansea are no easy side either, in fact Laudrup is doing a good job there, whilst for us, Rafa continues to play tinkerman – and not particularly well. So, whilst it remains to be see what sort of side he decides to put out against Swansea, one this is certain, underestimating them in any way will cost him.
Ahead of tonights first-leg, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup says “I always preferred being away first in these games. I have done both as a manager and a player and if I had to choose I would prefer to play away first. The different thing is it is not a complete game, it is only the first half and we play the second half here in two weeks’ time. It is difficult to play a game when you know you have another one to come, but we know it is important to get a result so we can play the second leg here in front of our fans with the possibility to go through. It will be difficult, we know that. To beat Chelsea in one game is difficult, over two games it is even more difficult. But we have to give it a try, and we will give it a try and I hope the confidence we have built up in recent weeks can help us.
As a smaller club we cannot normally compete for trophies, so to be so close to a final is fantastic. It is the first time for us to be in a semi-final for some time. It is the first time since 1964, that was a good year as I was born then so it is 48 years ago and it shows what an achievement this is. The chance to go and play in a final is very big for us.”
For Chelsea, Petr Cech (groin), Yossi Benayoun (knee), John Terry (knee) and Oriol Romeu (knee) all miss out through injury. John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses have both left for the Africa Cup of Nations.
For Swansea, Neil Taylor (ankle) is the only expected absentee. Angel Rangel (calf) should be available again, whilst Pablo Hernandez, Ashley Williams and Michu should all return to the starting line-up.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Ba
SWANSEA (Possible line-up): Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, Ki, Dyer, De Guzman, Routledge, Graham
Swansea 1-1 Chelsea (3rd November 2012)
We’ve only met in the League Cup once – and we lost – but on the brighter side we’ve won this competition four times. Swansea, on the other hand, haven’t been this far in the competition before and they’ve never won a major trophy. Let’s hope they get giddy and we can put it beyond them in the first-leg eh?