Fresh from their victory at Wembley on Sunday, Chelsea head to Swansea this weekend as they look for a strong finish to the campaign. The Blues know that the Champions League is a tall order for them with just four games remaining, but at least 12 points from those matches would send them off on a high. They also have an FA Cup final to prepare for, and a winning run would be the perfect way to approach the showpiece clash at Wembley. Can Conte’s side take all three points at the Liberty Stadium this weekend?
The visitors do have some decent form behind them, which has raised hopes slightly in terms of a top four finish, but it still requires a huge slip from Tottenham or Liverpool. The Blues need to win all of their games to make it happen, including the clash with the Reds at Stamford Bridge, but first they’re out to claim a win against a Swansea side who are battling against the drop. It does seem like an opportunity for Conte and his side, but they have to be wary as they’re travelling to a side who are in danger and fighting for their lives.
Team News: Will Conte Go With Two up Top?
Chelsea come here knowing Emerson Palmieri will start at left-back for the third consecutive game, with Marcos Alonso still suspended. The Blues are also without Danny Drinkwater and David Luiz, neither of whom were likely to start in this one. The club may have finalised a cut-price tribunal fee for Ethan Ampadu this week, but the versatile Welshman is ruled out of this trip to his homeland due to injury. There aren’t too many big issues for Conte to wrestle with, as the only question is around Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata. Will the Frenchman lead the line, or will they form a partnership yet again?
The last time these two sides met, former Chelsea assistant manager Paul Clement was in charge of Swansea. However, Carlos Carvalhal has been called in as a firefighter, after Clement left them rooted in the drop zone. The former Sheffield Wednesday boss hasn’t made that many noticeable changes, but he’s turned things around at the club. They are currently lining up with a 5-4-1 formation in recent weeks, and against a Blues side who are starting to pick up a little momentum they’re likely to use a similarly defensive approach. The absences of Renato Sanches and Wilfred Bony won’t help the hosts either, but they still head into this one with options in attack.
Swansea come into this clash down in 18th in the table, so facing off against one of the top six isn’t what they need right now. It’s not an easy weekend for rivals Southampton and Stoke, but the Welsh side are in danger of the drop after some poor recent form. They’ve failed to win in six matches, which culminated in their 5-0 thrashing at newly crowned champions Man City last weekend. Bouncing back from that loss is going to be a challenge for Carvalhal and his men.
The Swans saw their form pick up thanks to their impressive run in the FA Cup earlier this season. Getting results in the cup did seem to give them a boost in the league, but they’ve picked up just two points since a 3-0 hammering by Tottenham in the quarter-finals on St Patrick’s Day. That leaves the Welsh side in a tough position, as they look for a morale boost ahead of a crucial home clash.
Swansea v Chelsea Head to Head
Chelsea come into this clash following back to back wins against the Swans, but their performances against the Welsh side of late haven’t been great. They’ve taken a point from their last two visits to this ground, after throwing away a winning position under Antonio Conte here last term. We’re hoping for a more entertaining clash than the 1-0 Chelsea win the pair played out in November.
- Chelsea 1-0 Swansea, Nov 2017
- Chelsea 3-1 Swansea, Feb 2017
- Swansea 2-2 Chelsea, Sept 2016
- Swansea 1-0 Chelsea, Apr 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Swansea, Aug 2015
- Both Teams to Score – 5/4 with Coral
- Olivier Giroud to score – 7/5 with Ladbrokes
Chelsea visit Wales as 11/20 favourites with BetVictor, as they look for a strong finish to the season. You can back the draw at 3/1 with Bet365, while the hosts are 6/1 with Betfair. After improving their form, the former champions are now widely expected to follow that up by claiming the points in their trip to the Liberty Stadium. However, will they do Swansea’s relegation rivals a favour by claiming a win, as the visitors look to keep their faint Champions League hopes alive.
Swansea are out of form overall, but they’ve picked up in their home matches. The hosts have scored in eight of their last nine at home ahead of this clash, and they’ll be looking to punish the Blues. The visitors are without a clean sheet in eight on the road, with little sign of that changing. There’s a clear lack of leadership within the side, and the Swans should take advantage. With that in mind, our first tip here is to back both teams to score at very handsome odds of 5/4 with Coral.
The Blues have looked good with Giroud up top and the striker scored against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday. That should earn him a starting place for this clash, and we feel like the forward can cause problems against the Swansea defence. He could well have Alvaro Morata creating space for him too, so we are backing Giroud to find the net in Saturday’s late game. He’s our pick for an anytime goal scorer, which seems like a good value bet at 7/5 with Ladbrokes.