Chelsea face a tough looking opponent on Wednesday evening in the shape of Welsh based Swansea. The two clubs come head to head in the First Leg of the Semi-Final in the League Cup. Rafa Benitez will be urging his players not to give anything away, keep it tight and move in to the second leg in a decent position.
Swansea have never progressed past the fourth round in this competition before now, yet Chelsea have won the League Cup on two occasions within the last nine years. Neither stat will prove the slightest bit of relevance as the two get prepared to battle it out for a place in the final.
Benitez will be faced with selection headache’s all over the park, his main decision is whether he will again start new boy Demba Ba in the centre forward position, or revert back to Fernando Torres. Ba had a dream debut for The Blues, scoring twice and showing what a handful he can be. Meanwhile there is talk that Benitez might be set to offer Torres a different role as a wide striker, mirroring the selection situation back when Nicolas Anelka featured out wide, with Didier Drogba central in the Mourinho days.
Chelsea will be without Cech, Terry, Romeu and Benayoun through injury, whilst Mikel and Moses have now left for the African Nations Cup. Whether Benitez decides to stick with the same formation, or change it up to incorporate Torres, many are anxiously awaiting the line-up.
Benitez will want to keep a clean sheet first and foremost, and then work on taking a victory to Wales for the return leg. Swansea will feel they can win at Stamford Bridge after The Blues recent slip ups and The Swans themselves putting in some top displays this season.
Chelsea will need to be wary of defending too deep, leaving gaps and counter attacks, but we must play our attacking game and take it to Swansea. If we can get an early goal, it can be a comfortable match, but we mustn’t be complacent and we mustn’t feed The Swans, they can bite!
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Simon Phillips – News Editor