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Top of the table clash: Previewing Chelsea vs Swansea

The Boot Room

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An early, and surprising top of the table clash sees title favourites Chelsea face an in form Swansea side. Both sides go into the game having won all three of their opening three games, as Chelsea lead the way by the virtue of goal difference, having scored 11 goals already.

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Chelsea look like the real deal already. Last season, they really lacked a top striker who could finish when called upon. In Diego Costa, they have exactly that, with 4 goals in the opening three matches. Despite this, with an ongoing hamstring strain, Costa is a doubt for this weekends encounter and Loic Remy could be in line to make his Chelsea debut against the Swans.

Defensively, we could see a change in Chelsea’s back four, with potentially Felipe Luis coming in for his first Chelsea start at left back after Jose Mourinho openly criticised the Chelsea defence after conceding 3 goals at Goodison Park last time out.

The rest of Chelsea’s signings have been remarkable. Cesc Fabregas offers something totally different in Chelsea’s midfield, and going forward is a real treasure to watch with his slick passing ability, summed up by his assist for Andre Schurrle at Burnley in the opening weekend. Going back, Thibaut Courtois has returned from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid and following some world class saves in Chelsea’s last home match against newly promoted Leicester City, he’s shown he can cope with the levels of the Premier League and is like a new signing for the Blues.

Swansea

As for Swansea, no one expected their 100% start to the season. With an away trip to Old Trafford to kick off the season, many thought Swansea would do well to get a point, let alone come away with all three, thanks to summer signing Gylfi Sigurdsson.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to have nine points from the first three games, so we can go their and enjoy it”. Sigurdsson has settled into life back at Swansea instantly, and puts that down to “Jonjo (Shelvey) and Ki (Sung-Yueng) behind me who are passing the ball really well and are easy to link up with”, and that comes across in their early performances with these two sitting deeper allowing the Icelandic playmaker acres of time and space to put through Swansea rapid outlet wingers in Dyer and Routledge, or playing through Ivorian forward Wilfried Bony, who could thrive this season off of Gylfi’s service.

Swansea’s start to the season under Garry Monk has been remarkable, I think a trip to Stamford Bridge could see an end to their unbeaten start to the season, as they face one of the best sides, not just in England, but in the world. Swansea have been tight defensively so far this season, but with main defender Ashley Williams travelling back from 90 minutes in Andorra on Tuesday, he won’t be fully fit and whoever Chelsea have upfront will look to exploit this.

Prediction

After a 28 year gap in playing each other, Swansea and Chelsea have played some very tight games since their return to the top flight. Despite this, in league games alone Chelsea are unbeaten against the side from South Wales, drawing 2 and winning four, including all three wins at Stamford Bridge.

Swansea will draw some hope from two seasons ago when they famously beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final, the cup they eventually went on to win. Both encounters last season saw 1-0 Chelsea wins, so expect a tight, close game, but I think Chelsea now have too much quality in their ranks not to unlock the Swansea defence.

A tight game, but Chelsea to open up and win 2-0.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

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Newcastle United can do better than Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham this summer

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Photo: Getty Images.

Rafa Benitez will have been disappointed to have seen his January signing of Islam Slimani end in complete and utter failure with the Leicester City loanee spending more time in the stands than on the pitch and now he is focused on bringing in an improvement to St. James’ Park for 2018/19, but Tammy Abraham is not the answer.

TEAMTalk say that the Spaniard may return to the striker, who was strongly linked with a move to the north-east last summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

On that occasion, the report indicated that a deal could not be agreed to satisfy Chelsea, but having struck a deal for Kenedy since then the relationship between the two parties may be better and make a move for Abraham smoother.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Then, Abraham was hot property having set the Championship alight with Bristol City, but his loan spell at Swansea has been less convincing. Having scored just five goals and registered three assists in 39 appearances for the Swans, Abraham has made only two Premier League starts in 2018 as doubts continue to emerge about his ability at this level.

What is clear is that he is not ready to walk into Newcastle and be the solution that Benitez needs. In part, that is because Abraham would not be an alternative to the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, impressing in the second tier himself now, or Slimani, given that whilst he is tall and physical, his game is about much more than simply being a target man.

The Newcastle boss is clearly looking for a way to add goals to his team, but Abraham, whilst promising, may not be ready for such pressure after a frustrating season in difficult circumstances in south Wales and would be a cheap gamble if Newcastle were to opt for him as their main addition up-front.

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Isaac Christie-Davies joining Liverpool highlights Anfield as the ideal platform for youngsters

Josh Kerr

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Isaac Christie-Davies
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool are set to sign Chelsea midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies on a free transfer, according to reports from ESPN.

The 20-year-old talent was not offered a new contract by Chelsea and the Reds swooped in earlier this year to offer him a trial ahead of other interested clubs.

If the move goes through, Christie-Davies will become the second young player, after Dominic Solanke, to join the Reds from Chelsea in just two years.

Davies joined Chelsea’s academy from Brighton and progressed from the youth ranks to the under-23s, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016 as well as the UEFA Youth League in 2016.

The teenager impressed during his trial period at Liverpool with the Merseyside outfit set to offer him a contract.

The youngster will look to his former Chelsea teammate and World Cup Golden Ball winner Solanke for inspiration, who finally showcased his talents in his previous outing at Anfield.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old striker finally notched his first senior goal for the Reds against Brighton on the final day of the Premier League, when the England international rifled a shot just under the bar to break his Reds duck.

The move for Christie-Davies represents yet another promising player trading London for Merseyside, and it could be Liverpool taking advantage of further academy talents.

Christie-Davies is likely to head straight into the Liverpool Under 23 squad as he follows the path of former teammate Solanke to Anfield.

Despite the youngster being unlikely to influence the first team next season it still could prove to be a nice bit of business from the club.

Although it was Chelsea’s decision to let the former Brighton youngster leave Stamford Bridge, Davies will look to the likes of former Blues, Solanke and Rhian Brewster as inspiration that it is still possible to reach the top.

Liverpool’s under 23’s finished 2nd in Premier League 2 this season, and standout players such as Harry Wilson even endured successful loan moves in the Championship, which could be the motivation Davies needs to make the grade at Anfield.

Also, the fact Liverpool quickly gambled on the midfielder reflects the qualities that are evidently present with Christie-Davies. If the youngster makes the most of his new move he could be another former Blue to thrive from a London exit.

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Mauricio Pochettino would be mad to leave Tottenham for Chelsea

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There could be one of the most sensational managerial switches of the Premier League era if Sky Sports are to be believed as they claim that Chelsea are pondering over making a move for Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to replace Antonio Conte after a disastrous attempt at a Premier League title defence.

The Italian’s days are clearly numbered and his departure after the FA Cup final this weekend looks inevitable, but Mauricio Pochettino would be making a serious mistake if he were to take the opportunity to move to Stamford Bridge.

After four years in the dugout, at both White Hart Lane and Wembley Stadium, Pochettino has got his team playing his way. The Argentine has always worked under limited resources, at Espanyol, Southampton and even now at Spurs, and whilst the offer of money to spend at Chelsea may be exciting it would also mean an increased responsibility and a very different challenge.

(during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

Tottenham fans and board have complete faith in their coach and are prepared to invest in him to take their club to the next level, something which will come soon with the building of their new stadium, and feel that he is the right man to lead the club in the long-term.

A move to a club with such a short term view in the form of Chelsea would be to sacrifice all that Pochettino has achieved in his spell in north London to date, bringing through young talents like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier who are now beginning to reach their peak and shine under the coach.

With stability at a club on the up, Pochettino would be foolish to be distracted by the bright lights and glamour of a dysfunctional club like Chelsea.

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