Could David Luiz make his second Chelsea debut this weekend? The Blues are away to Swansea as they return to Premier League action. It’s been 10 days since Luiz returned just ahead of the transfer deadline. Given the £30million plus price tag, you’d expect the Brazilian to be an automatic starter at the heart of the defence.
Swansea had a much quieter transfer window, they failed to replace captain Ashley Williams. The Welsh side rallied last term to reach safety, but they look set to struggle this year. Having sold star attacker Andre Ayew to West Ham, they’ve replaced him with middling talent from La Liga. The Swans have more than a few concerns at the minute, despite their opening day win at Burnley.
The Blues lost at the Liberty Stadium back in April though. Guus Hiddink’s side went down to a 1-0 defeat, thanks to a strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson. However, this hasn’t been a bad hunting ground for Chelsea. They won 5-0 here in January 2015 and 1-0 in April 2014. In fact, the loss earlier this year was the first they’ve suffered at this ground. Can they avoid another?
Antonio Conte has helped guide his team to a fantastic start. They’ve kept pace with the two Manchester clubs after winning every game so far. With the Manchester derby taking place on Saturday, this is a real chance for the 2014 champions to set out their title credentials. It would be a big leap from 10th last year, but after a near £120million transfer splurge it has to be a possibility.
Luiz should slot in at centre-half here, the usual back four probably needs a change. Marcos Alonso’s role in the side is a little less clear. He’ll either be benched as a reserve left-back, or he could start in place of Branislav Ivanovic. That would leave Cesar Azpilicueta free to switch back to the right hand side.
There are no injury problems, but one doubt for the game is Willian. He faces a World Cup qualifier for Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning. By the time he makes his way back from South America he might not be in shape to start in Wales. His compatriots Luiz and Oscar haven’t made the Brazil squad for that clash.
Conte isn’t likely to make drastic changes after the international break. He’s probably going to look to include many of the team who beat Burnley. From what the Swans have shown in preseason and in the early games, this shouldn’t be a difficult clash. Having lost key members of their team, you can see the Welsh side having a tough season ahead.
We can’t see past an away win here, given the Blues’ form. They’re starting to put last season behind them as they grind out victories. If Eden Hazard has carried his form from the previous game through the break, this should be a straightforward affair.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0