Saturday, April 12, 2014

Swansea City - Chelsea Preview: No Liberty Stadium return for injured Hazard

Branislav Ivanovic Wayne Routledge Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League 12262013
Chelsea will look to build on their European heroics and erase recent bad memories of visits to Swansea City on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's men progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League in midweek, with Demba Ba scoring late on to secure a 2-0 second-leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain that put the Blues through via the away goals rule.

However, a trip to the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League may not fill the Londoners with confidence as they turn their attentions back to the domestic title race.

Chelsea have been held to draws in each of their previous two league fixtures at Swansea and, last season, their hopes of Capital One Cup glory were ended in a dramatic semi-final second-leg encounter in south Wales.

Having fallen to a shock 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Blues were unable to claw back the deficit in a match that ended goalless and is principally remembered for Eden Hazard being sent off after kicking a ball boy as he attempted to retrieve the ball.

It would be fair to assume that Charlie Morgan - the ball boy involved in that incident - will not be on duty on Sunday, while Hazard is also likely to be absent after picking up a calf problem against reported suitors PSG in midweek.

Chelsea currently sit two points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool, while third-placed Manchester City, who visit Anfield in the undoubted match of the weekend earlier on Sunday, are a further two points back with two games in hand.

Mourinho's charges cruised to a 3-0 win over Stoke City in their last league outing, while Swansea - just six points clear of the relegation zone - slumped to a lacklustre 1-0 defeat at FA Cup semi-finalists Hull City.

Chelsea's last Premier League away trip produced a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace - their third loss in a row on the road in all competitions - but Swansea head coach Garry Monk is keen not to underestimate the challenge that his side face.

"Chelsea are competing for the league, [are] in the semi-finals of Champions League and have one of the strongest squads and best managers in the world," Monk told the press.

"When you look at it like that, we don't have a chance - but you don't think like that, it's something we embrace and it's a chance to showcase what we can do. We have to be confident."

Swansea have no fresh injury concerns but Dwight Tiendalli's illness means that Angel Rangel's starting berth looks unlikely to be in doubt, despite being openly criticised by Monk for his performance last week.

Aside from question marks over the fitness of Hazard, Mourinho should have a full squad at his disposal, although John Terry is thought to be a doubt with a foot injury.

Swansea City - Chelsea Preview: No Liberty Stadium return for injured Hazard Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown


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