Our busy Christmas schedule continues on Boxing Day as we host Swansea City. Off the back of the draw away at Arsenal on Monday night it’s two important home fixtures in four days, as Liverpool visit the Bridge on the 29th as well.
Our home form has been vital to our continued presence near the top of the table, with only two points being dropped at Stamford Bridge so far, in the 2-2 home draw against West Bromwich Albion. If two more home wins can be gained in the next two matches, then we will be in an extremely strong position at the halfway mark of the league campaign.
Swansea are eleventh in the table, and won at Stamford Bridge only last season, recording a 0-2 win in the first leg of the league cup semi finals. Our home league fixture against them last season was a reverse of the league cup score line, Oscar and Lampard scoring to give us a 2-0 half time lead, which could have been added to in the second half, but no further chances were converted.
An injury to Michu is a blow for Swansea, as he is ruled out for at least a month so won’t feature for them. Michael Laudrup will more than likely field his side in a 4-2-3-1 shape. Their quick short passing style tries to draw the defending side towards the ball, while the likes of Shelvey and Hernandez are fed to provide the killer through balls for their attack. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho employs the 4-3-3 shape he used against Arsenal here, utilised with the well drilled pressing of the opposition that was evident against Steaua Bucharest and at the Emirates to good effect on Monday, this could be the key to beating Swansea. With Mikel sitting deeper, Ramires and Lampard put Arteta and Ramsey under extreme pressure, the result being that we won most of the battles in midfield, forcing the attacking side to surrender possession around the halfway line. This being said, it is likely Mourinho will rotate the squad over this busy period, so don’t be surprised to see a totally different midfield line up.
It was a great defensive performance from Chelsea against Arsenal, the whole side organised brilliantly, with everyone putting a shift in. We created more chances than the home side as well, but as Mourinho has alluded to, we are not killing teams off. Two first half goals like in last seasons fixture would be more than welcome on boxing day, and if we can find the killer instinct in the rest of our Christmas and new year fixtures, then we will be a formidable force to contend with. Still only two points off the top as it stands, the signs are there that Jose is taking us in the right direction, a touch more consistency in our performances combined with better chance conversion will see us looking like a real force. It’s still the early days of Mourinho’s work with this current squad, the bigger picture needs to be considered, and it’s looking good, even in the short term. A run of wins beginning on Boxing Day would make thinks look all the brighter come 2014.