With the international break over, proper football is set to return this Saturday as Chelsea face a Swansea side who, like the Blues, have been in impressive form. Tomorrow’s game will ensure that at least one side relinquishes their 100% start to the season, with both teams having won all three of their opening fixtures.
The most likely question to be asked at the pre-match press conference will be whether Diego Costa is fit enough to start, having had a hamstring scare whilst on international duty. We might recall, however, that the Spaniard was also a doubt for the match against Everton, but still managed to score in the first minute of the game. This goal, as well as his three others, earned Costa the Barclays Player of the Month award for August. A well deserved award for a player that has taken approximately zero minutes to adjust to the pace of the Premier League.
Another of Chelsea’s summer signings, Cesc Fabregas, was also nominated for the award, having racked up a number of assists and having dictated the tempo of each of the games so far. Other nominees include two of Saturday’s opponents, Nathan Dyer and Gylfi Sigurdsson, which indicates that Chelsea’s defence needs to be tighter than it was against the Toffee’s two weeks ago. This, however, is unlikely to be an issue that Mourinho hasn’t addressed.
Should Diego Costa not be fit enough to take part, then it is a safe bet that Chelsea fans will get to see the clubs final summer signing in action: Loic Remy. The French striker completed his move to the Blues shortly after the Everton game, giving Chelsea more options in attack and giving Costa some more competition for his place, with Fernando Torres having been loaned to AC Milan. The signings over the past couple of weeks weren’t confined solely to incomings and outgoings, as two Chelsea players committed their long term futures to the club by signing new contracts. Thibaut Courtois cleared up any doubts about his future by signing a new deal that runs up to 2019, and Cesar Azpilicueta was rewarded with a five-year contract for his run of exceptional form, lasting since late 2013 when he took over the left-back spot from Ashley Cole.
This fixture in the previous season saw Chelsea win 1-0 thanks to an Eden Hazard goal that was not dissimilar to his goal against Leicester City three weeks ago – cutting in from the left and drilling low past the keeper. In that match Mourinho was frustrated by his side’s inability to kill the game off, but that issue seems, so far at least, to be a thing of the past, with Chelsea’s new look attack having netted eleven times in three games. Swansea’s defence, however, is so far the joint strongest in the league alongside Aston Villa, having conceded just one goal in three games.
Expect then a similar sort of game to the one against Leicester, where Swansea will likely try to remain impenetrable whilst looking to hit Chelsea on the counter attack. The Welsh side won’t just sit back and defend, however; with Sigurdsson sitting alongside Fabregas at the top of the assists table and Nathan Dyer already on three goals, the Swans will look to be a constant threat to a Chelsea side looking to build on their fantastic start to the season.