Can Chelsea continue their push for the title against a former coach? Their meeting with Swansea sees a return to Stamford Bridge for Paul Clement, who took over at the Liberty Stadium last month. The former Blues assistant left a role at Bayern Munich to take over in Wales, and he’s overseen a revival in the Swans’ fortunes. They’re now out of the relegation zone, having performed well in big away games in the league. Their impressive recent performances should see them make this trip high on confidence. Can they continue their solid form away to the Premier league leaders on Saturday?
The Blues saw their lead at the top cut down to eight points in the last league weekend. Their draw at Burnley allowed Manchester City to move eight points off the top, so Chelsea can’t afford another slip. Recent weeks have seen a rotating roster of title challengers, which has worked in the leaders’ favour. Allowing any team to get too close is dangerous. Can they return to winning ways when they host the Swans? After 11 straight home victories, you’d expect that Antonio Conte’s men will take all three points.
Team News: Conte to return to full strength side
Chelsea continue to have no injury worries, which gives them a fully fit squad ahead of this home game. Last weekend saw several changes for the FA Cup tie with Wolves, with quite a few big names rested. Conte is likely to revert to his strongest side ahead of their return to league action. Nathaniel Chalobah had the unenviable task of standing in for N’Golo Kante. Expect the former Leicester man to return here, alongside the first choice back three. While they’re up against a team who are stuck towards the bottom of the Premier League, they can’t afford to rotate this weekend.
Swansea are missing long term absentee Jefferson Montero, the winger hasn’t featured since August. They’re also missing midfielders Ki Sung-yueng and Leon Britton. Paul Clement has set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation since taking over, that set up has helped them to climb the Premier League table. Will their new approach help them to cause problems at Stamford Bridge?
Swansea were propping up the Premier League table back in January, which was when Clement took charge. While he suffered an early elimination in the FA Cup, their league form has been impressive. They’ve won four of six matches since Clement took over, which has seen them jump up to 15th place in the table. They now have a four point cushion on the bottom three, which represents a huge turnaround. They’ll be hoping to widen that gap this weekend. Survival looked very unlikely under Bob Bradley, so the former Chelsea assistant deserves a lot of praise for his work so far.
The Swans have made a couple of tough trips since Clement took charge too. Not only did they beat the champions Leicester at home, but they claimed three points at Anfield last month. Their 3-2 win over Liverpool was impressive, especially given the nature of their performance. The Welsh side looked assured in possession, and they controlled the tempo of the game. They came close to taking a point at Man City, as a last minute goal saw them suffer a 2-1 defeat. Clearly they won’t be overwhelmed by their trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Chelsea v Swansea Head to Head
Recent meetings haven’t been kind to the Blues, they’ve won just two of their last five encounters with the Welsh side. Their 2-2 draw with the Swans here last season was the beginning of a season of turmoil. That was followed by a 1-0 defeat at the Liberty later on in the campaign. Their draw at Swansea this season was the first time the team dropped points under Conte. Can they claim revenge for that in the reverse fixture this weekend?
- Swansea 2-2 Chelsea, Sept 2016
- Swansea 1-0 Chelsea, Apr 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Swansea, Aug 2015
- Swansea 0-5 Chelsea, Jan 2015
- Chelsea 4-2 Swansea, Sept 2014
- Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 23/20 at BetVictor
- Chelsea to win and both teams to score – 2/1 at Betfred
Chelsea come into this game as heavy favourites to take the points. They are priced at 2/9 with Bet365 to take the victory, while the visitors are outsiders. The Swans are priced at 10/1 with Sky Bet, while Coral make the draw 9/2. It’s hard to see anything but a home win, given their excellent record at Stamford Bridge. While the Swans have claimed a win at Anfield, that was against an out of form Liverpool side. This will be a much tougher test despite their impressive recent record against the Pensioners.
While Clement has led to some improved results, he hasn’t done much to end the Swans’ problems at the back. They’re still the worst defence in the Premier League, having conceded eight times in their last five, despite their move up the table. The Blues have an excellent attacking record this season, and they’ll be expecting to add to that this weekend. They’ve scored three or more goals in five of their last six outings. We’re backing over 2.5 goals for the hosts, especially with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in excellent form. That’s priced at 23/20 with BetVictor, and it seems much better than backing them on the match result market.
We’re also going with a goal from the visitors, based on their recent away trips. They’ve scored at Anfield and the Etihad in recent weeks under Clement. Swansea have scored twice in their last two visits to Stamford Bridge, so they should be confident of getting a goal here. We’re backing a home win and both teams to score, which is priced at 2/1 with Betfred. They’ve scored in seven of their last nine away, so we expect them to get a goal away to the leaders.