Verdict: Chelsea to win by 2+ goals
Best Odds: 13/10
With only one league win since the end of August, an underfire Paul Clement will be desperate for his struggling Swansea side to find some much-needed form as they enter a busy Christmas Period. on Wednesday night, the Swans will travel to Stamford Bridge to face off with a Chelsea side who know they can’t afford any more slip up’s if they stand any chance of defending their crown.
Courtesy of a late Willian goal, the defending champions were able to leave Anfield with a respectable point on Saturday evening. Their 1-1 draw with Liverpool means that Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side are unbeaten in their last six Premier League appearances and the Blues are now a side who have scored 10 goals in their last four matches in all competitions. Sadly for last seasons champions, although they sit third in the table, they are already chasing an 11 point deficit on the runaway league leaders Manchester City. Undoubtedly for Conte, he will know that his priority now will be to secure a top-four finish come May.
Since suffering a shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace last month, Chelsea seems to be a side who have some of their defensive steel back. In their last five matches, Chelsea have managed to keep three clean sheets, including a 1-0 win against second-place Manchester United. Their form at Stamford Bridge this year has also drastically improved from the start of the season. Since the Blues opening home defeat to Burnley back in August, Conte’s men have only lost once at home, that loss coming against the league leaders.
If Chelsea do hold any hope of mounting a charge up the table, they will know the importance of not dropping any more silly points. After playing host to struggling Swansea on Wednesday night, Chelsea have a relatively comfortable Christmas period. Domestically, the South London side will face off with Newcastle, West Ham, and Huddersfield, no side inside the top half of the table.
Brazilian defender David Luiz will miss Wednesday’s trip to Wales after picking up a knee injury. Luiz was an unused substitute against Liverpool at the weekend and appears to have lost his spot to Andreas Christensen. The extent of his injury is yet to be known.
Antonio Conte will be glad to know that right wing-back Victor Moses has been given the green light to play. The Italian tactician could look to rotate his squad ahead of a busy Christmas schedule. The Blues will, however, be without Michy Batshuayi (ankle), forward Charly Musonda (knee) and the left-sided Kenedy (undisclosed).
With a number of high profile sackings already this year, it’s no surprise that Swans boss Paul Clement is a man whose job is coming intense scrutiny. Playing out a 0-0 draw at home to Bournemouth last weekend, Swansea are a side who have been unable to pick up maximum points in their last six Premier League appearances, they’re now a team with only one top-flight win since the end of August.
For the struggling Swans, their major problem this campaign has been their lack of goals. With Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham unavailable to face his parent club, it is hard to see who is going to chip in with a substantial amount of goals. In their last five appearances, Swansea have only managed to score a single goal, they’ve also failed to find the back of the net in their last three matches, all coming against teams outside the top six. Currently sat 19th in the table, they now find themselves just a single point above Crystal Palace, with the worst goalscoring ratio in the Premier League, Swansea are a side desperate to find some momentum.
20-year-old England international Tammy Abraham will not be available for selection on Wednesday night. As he is on loan from Chelsea, the forward will not be eligible to play.
Swansea boss Paul Clement will still have to make do without defensive duo Kyle Bartley and Federico Fernandez, the defender remains in his native Argentina following the death of his father. Dutch centre-back Mike van der Hoorn is expected to continue in his absence.
Key Factors to Consider
- Chelsea have lost only one of their 12 games against Swansea City in the Premier League (W7 D4 L1) and are unbeaten at Stamford Bridge versus the Welsh side (W5 D1 L0)
- Swansea have conceded two or more goals in five of their six Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge
- Alvaro Morata has scored eight goals in the Premier League this season, one more than Swansea have managed in total
- The Swans had just 24 shots on target in the league this season, 10 fewer than any other side
- Chelsea are unbeaten in five league matches, winning four of them
Being a realist, it is hard to see Paul Clement’s side leave South London with anything on Wednesday night. With Swansea losing their last three away games on the bounce, coupled with the fact they have not registered a single goal this month, we doubt Swansea will cause a revitalized Chelsea side any major problems. Already this season, Chelsea’s summer signing Alvaro Morata has more Premier League goals than the entire Swansea side combined. Backing the defending champions to win this by two or more goals seems like a logical bet here.
Verdict: Chelsea to win by 2+ goals
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