Chelsea should sink Swans but injury could Costa Mourinho
Chelsea enter this clash as odds-on 2/7 favourites, considering they have not tasted league defeat to Swansea City since 1981.
The Blues and, perhaps more surprisingly the Swans, have lit up the Premier League so far this season. After taking maximum points from their previous three games, both sides head into this weekend’s action as the top two, with Chelsea ahead on goal difference.
Jose Mourinho’s men have netted 11 goals already this term, silencing critics who previously bemoaned the controversial coach’s perceived lack of adventure. It is true that the Blues had little end product last campaign compared to their title rivals, only scoring 72 Premier League goals. In comparison, champions Manchester City managed 102.
Former Atletico Madrid man Diego Costa’s arrival at Stamford Bridge appears to have changed all that. The striker has been in sensational form, winning the Player of the Month award for August and netting four times in three appearances for the Blues. His acquisition has so far solved one of Chelsea’s main maladies, with many pundits singling out the lack of forward potency as the reason Mourinho finished pot-less last term.
The £32m Spain star does, however, remain an injury doubt for this clash after struggling with a hamstring problem over the international break. If Costa does start, he is available at 8/1 to hit his first Premier League hat-trick, but his absence would no doubt disrupt what has been a scintillating start to the season for Chelsea.
In stark contrast to last term, however, when attacking options included Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, Mourinho now has exciting deadline day signing Loic Remy, and returning Blues legend Didier Drogba at his disposal. Drogba, who found the net 100 times in 226 Premier League games during his last stint for Chelsea, could potentially make his first start, and is odds-on at 4/5 to hit home anytime.
Remy, meanwhile, impressed on loan to Newcastle United last season, and is at 3/1 to score two or more, and prove a point to Liverpool, who appeared to scrap his signing due to doubts over a medical.
Manager of the Month Garry Monk will have more to worry about than just containing Chelsea’s leading men, however, as the eyebrow-raising addition of ex-Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has been just as crucial to the Blues’ form.
Midfield maestro Fabregas is the key orchestrator in Chelsea’s attack, was also nominated for Premier League Player of the Month alongside clubmate Costa. The former Barcelona boy is 7/4 to score anytime to crown an impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge.
Selection questions remain over who mercurial boss Mourinho will select to complete his offensive options. Germany World Cup scorer Andre Schurrle lost his starting place against Everton, with Chelsea plumping for the more defensive-minded duo of Ramires and Willian to complement Eden Hazard.
In front of the home crowd, however, Schurrle is 5/4 to return to the fold and delight the Stamford Bridge faithful by scoring anytime.
Visitors Swansea, meanwhile, should be spurred on by their fine record of four wins in all competitions this campaign, including a memorable away victory over Manchester United.
The Swans are 9/1 to take the same fearless approach to Stamford Bridge and make smooth sailing of the tricky encounter by beating the Blues. Returning home with all the spoils from this clash would cap off an exciting week, which saw Swansea’s history re-enacted on the silver screen with the premier of ‘Jack to a King’.
Monk’s main men in this match will likely be midfield anchor Ki Sung-Yueng, who scored the Swans’ opening goal against United, and is 25/1 to fire home first again.
The South Korea international will be charged with containing Chelsea’s abundance of attacking options, but Swansea will be heartened that the Blues are far from infallible themselves, having conceded three times against Everton last time out.
Gylfi Sigurdsson will also be expected to star for the Swans after an impressive start to this season, with one goal and four assists already under his belt. The Iceland international has returned to form during his time at Tottenham, and is 11/2 to keep his cool composure by netting anytime.
Swansea’s exciting performances have meant new signings Tom Carroll and Jefferson Montero are yet to start in the Premier League, but Bafetimbi Gomis could find himself leading the attack if Wilfried Bony begins the Blues clash on the bench. The Ivory Coast striker could be rested after his international exploits, but Swansea fans will be hoping he is ready for action, as Monk will need to harness all his available firepower to stun Mourinho’s men.