Top of the table clash: Previewing Chelsea vs Swansea
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.
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.
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.
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.