It will be a reunion of sorts at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when two former Jose Mourinho protégé’s square off for the first time. Brendan Rogers faces his former employer for the second time in his managerial career when he brings Swansea City to the Bridge to meet Andre Villas-Boas’ side. Both Rogers and Villas-Boas were members of Mourinho’s back-room staff four years ago, with Rogers being the man in charge of the reserve team. Since then, both have led different paths with Rogers managing for his first season in the top flight, having spent two previous stints with Watford and Reading in the Championship.
That’s not to discount his achievements of winning promotion with the Swans and becoming the first non-English team in the history of the Premier League. After a dramatic win in the playoff final, Swansea would have been made aware that the Premier League was a different proposition and it has been for them. After an opening day defeat to a rampaging Manchester City, Swansea has only met defeat one other time in the first five matches. However, they also failed to find the net for the first four matches, only scoring for the first time in a victory against West Brom last week.
Former Chelsea player Scott Sinclair has been a bit of a revelation after signing at the start of the 2010-2011 season. Since joining the Welsh outfit, Sinclair has scored 20 goals in 48 appearances for his currently employer, including his first hat trick in the playoff final at Wembley in the 4-2 win over Reading. He has started to show the promise that he showed with us four years ago until lack of first team chances limited his development.
On the Chelsea front, Villas-Boas will have a few selection dilemmas after the Carling Cup fixture midweek. Despite a win in the penalty shootout, a number of the squad were required to play the full 120 minutes of the match. Add to that the fact that Alex was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half and there will be a few tired legs.
On the plus side, Petr Cech is fit to play after being substituted because of a mild knock to the head. Given his history with head injuries and after Didier Drogba’s concussion against Norwich, no one can be faulted for taking extra precautions. Daniel Sturridge also suffered a minor strain to his knee and is unavailable for the match, though Villas-Boas is optimistic that nothing serious is wrong and he should be fit to play midweek against Valencia.
Overall, this is three points that are absolutely necessary for Chelsea. After a heart stopping loss to Manchester United last week, the Blues must recover quickly to regain ground on both United and City in the title race. Also, Fernando Torres must show that he can put his shocking miss behind him. The Spanish striker put in a quality performance, aside from his late miss and it will be interesting to see if that miss affects his psyche. For Chelsea’s sake, it better not.