Swansea v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Liberty Stadium
Date: Saturday, 17 January
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Having won just one of our last five games away from home, we could probably do without another game away from Stamford Bridge but that’s exactly what we’ve got to look forward to with a game at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
We weren’t great in our last game against Newcastle either, particularly in the first half, so we’ll have to do better than that if the nerves are to be kept at bay. Of course we gave ourselves the smallest of margins again with the win and City unexpectedly dropping points against Everton. Ałthough with City playing Arsenal Sunday and a game against Liverpool coming up for us midweek, we’ll need our players to forget all about that and focus on their own game today if we’re to widen that margin.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Swansea manager Garry Monk says “It’s probably the strongest squad I have ever seen at Chelsea. They’re a fantastic team – exceptional, world class players all over the pitch. They have got an exceptional manager as well. At the start of the season I said they were my favourites to win the league and I still believe that, albeit they have got competition from teams around them. It’s a really good challenge for us. I think they’re an exceptional team, one of the best in Europe.It’s a challenge for my players and it’s a challenge for myself to really try and put on a performance and hopefully we can warrant a good result.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “We have been top of the league since day one and there because we deserve to be there. There are lots of difficult matches and you can’t win every match. It’s been a difficult period for us – Newcastle, Stoke, Southampton, Tottenham away, and now Swansea. We knew it would be very difficult to keep a run of consecutive victories but I think we showed clearly we didn’t have a psychological problem with the fact the distance to Man City and Man United was reduced. We made mistakes defensively against Tottenham and after that we beat Newcastle 2-0 – another clean sheet and back to normality which is to be a balanced team and not make many mistakes defensively. I have fantastic defenders. The team defends very, very well. What we as a team have done is enough for us to be top of the league on 16 January. It was good enough to reach our objectives and to be alive in the three knock-out competitions. We have young players and a young team. We have a lot of space to improve, not just this season but next season and the season after, but we have always been in control of our emotions and we are ready for the second part of the season.”
Whilst on today’s opposition, Mourinho says “I know they have a very good team, and very good teams don’t depend on one player. They depend more on their organisation, their philosophy, and the way they think and play football. Swansea are a good example of that. The work in the club has been magnificent. I’m one of the guys that left the country with Swansea in the Championship and I returned to the country with Swansea playing in the Europa League, being in the top 10, and reaching Wembley in the cups. Garry Monk received a good team with good players and good organisation, but to keep that stability and that quality for about a year since he left the player role to become a manager is brilliant.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Swansea, there’s no Wilfried Bony after his midweek defection to City, so Bafetimbi Gomis will start. Jonjo Shelvey completes a four-match ban and Ki Sung-yueng is away on international duty but Gylfi Sigurdsson (foot) should play and winger Jefferson Montero (hamstring) could make the bench.
For Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois (finger) could return, Azpilicueta (groin) is doubtful.

TEAMS
SWANSEA (Possible line-up): Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Dyer, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Gomis
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luis; Matic, Fabregas, Schurrle; Willian, Diego Costa, Hazard

LAST SEASON
Swansea 0-1 Chelsea (13 April 2014)

OTHER STUFF
•Chelsea are unbeaten in all seven Premier League meetings with Swansea
•Swansea have not beaten Chelsea in the league in nine attempts
•Chelsea have drawn on two of their last three league games at Liberty Stadium.
•Swansea are winless in three league matches since Boxing Day
•Swansea have scored in each of their last 11 league games
•Chelsea have only earned five away points from the last 15 available
•Chelsea have conceded eight goals in their last four away games

PREDICTION
Swansea may not have beaten us since 1981 but they have no trouble nicking a draw off us – an ominous fact.

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