What: English Premier League
Who: Chelsea vs Swansea
When: Thursday 26th December, 2013, at 15:00 UK Time
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England

Two Off The Mark

Despite being generally less than exciting ever since Jose Mourinho took over for his second stint as Chelsea boss, the Blues have nonetheless been able to keep up with the Premier League train, finding themselves just two points behind league leaders Liverpool after seventeen domestic fixtures. Knowing that they will meet the Reds in what will be their final game of 2013, victory over Swansea would set them up nicely for the clash, while two wins from the games would grant them a great amount of leverage in their attempt to capture their first Premier League title since 2010.

Chelsea’s recent form has been good, winning four of their last six Premier League games; they drew with Arsenal and lost to Stoke City in the other two –  both away from Stamford Bridge. It has been their away from that has betrayed them, as they have won three, drawn three and lost three in their nine games on the road so far this season.

Recent history between the two sides shows that they have been evenly matched, as in the past six games, Chelsea have won twice, Swansea once, and a draw was the final result in the other three matches. Swansea last won at Stamford Bridge in January in League Cup action, but with star striker Michu missing this one through injury, their task might be harder than usual.

Deserved More

Swansea have been underperforming generally so far in the Premier League, winning just five of their seventeen games this Premier League term. Last season’s League Cup winners know very well that they need to improve in the second part of the season to end their domestic campaign on a high, and there is no better way to do so than defeating Chelsea, as games against Aston Villa, Manchester City, Manchester United (league and FA Cup) and Tottenham will all come up in quick succession. These upcoming fixtures will be crucial for the Swans’ future this term.

The Welsh side could only muster a defeat in their last league game as they fell 2-1 against Everton. However, defender Dwight Tiendalli believes that his team deserved more from the match.

“Every game we play at home we want to take three points. But I think a draw would have been fair and we were a bit unlucky today. We know that we have a tough schedule. We play Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as Aston Villa. But I think we have to take some points from those games”, concluded the former Feyenoord man.


Recent form

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace (14/12; Premier League)
Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea (17/12; League Cup)
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea (23/12; Premier League)

St. Gallen 1-0 Swansea (12/12; Europa League)
Norwich City 1-1 Swansea (15/12; Premier League)
Swansea 1-2 Everton (22/12; Premier League)

Key absences

Chelsea: Ryan Bertrand; Marco van Ginkel 

Swansea: Michu; Michel Vorm; Nathan Dyer; Alvaro Vasquez; Garry Monk

Players to watch

Chelsea – Eden Hazard: The Belgian wizard will be the man to make it happen for Mourinho’s side as he hopes his killer passes and creativity will allow his side to break the deadlock against the Swans. With six goals and four assists so far, Hazard is having a good season, but knows still more is expected from him.

Swansea – Jonjo Shelvey: The former Liverpool midfielder is enjoying his campaign too with three goals and three assists. A key starter under Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, regular game time has proven his decision to swap Merseyside for Wales to be the correct one.

Match Prediction

Despite being mediocre on the road, Chelsea have regularly produced the goods in front of their own fans and have won seven of their eight Premier League games at Stamford Bridge this season, Mourinho making it a fortress again. Against Swansea, expect them to come up with the full spoils to set things up nicely for Liverpool. Chelsea 3-0 Swansea.

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