Feb 25, 2017 at 3pm UK at ‚ÄčStamford Bridge
Chelsea
3-1
SwanseaSwansea City
Fabregas (19'), Pedro (72'), Costa (84')
Luiz (75')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Llorente (45')
Naughton (35'), Olsson (37'), Fer (80')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Swansea City

Sports Mole previews the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Swansea City.

Chelsea head into their Premier League fixture with Swansea City looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.

As for Swansea, they currently sit four points clear of the relegation zone and boss Paul Clement will be quietly confident of picking up a result on his return to Stamford Bridge.


Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on the sidelines in the match against Burnley on February 12, 2017© SilverHub

For much of the last month, Chelsea have struggled to replicate the form which first got them to the top of the Premier League table but with an eight-point lead still intact, boss Antonio Conte will now be looking for efficiency over goals as they look to end the hopes of their title rivals.

Their last top-flight fixture away at Burnley was an example of how teams are slowly adapting to a 3-4-3 formation that had previously seemed impenetrable, but the Blues showed in that match that they can still pick up points when they are not necessarily at their best.

Conte will be slightly concerned about their failure to create many clear-cut opportunities at Turf Moor - the same occurred against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup - but they remain a strong unit at the back and it is difficult to see how any team can enjoy frequent success during a 90-minute period.

Since the end of October, Chelsea have conceded two goals in a match on just three occasions, meaning that when Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are firing on all cylinders, it leaves little chance for the opposition.

That said, Costa has netted just twice in his last seven outings, while Hazard's only contribution in his last five appearances is his wonder-strike against Arsenal.

Pedro is arguably Chelsea's key man right now with six goals from eight games, but whoever takes responsibility in the final third, Swansea are up against it to halt Chelsea's run of 11 successive wins at Stamford Bridge.

Recent form: LWWDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWDW


Swansea City

Paul Clement manager of Derby County looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Derby County at City Ground on November 6, 2015© Getty Images

When Swansea first appointed Clement, many people suggested that he was not the right man to succeed Bob Bradley, but it is so far so good for a man who is attempting to prove that Derby County made the wrong decision to sack him just seven months into his reign last season.

The club have spent most of the campaign in the bottom three but the arrival of Clement has acted as the catalyst to move the team away from the dropzone, with Clement overseeing three wins from five games in the top flight.

He has watched his rejuvenated players shock Liverpool at Anfield, defeated both Southampton and Leicester City at the Liberty Stadium and come within a minute of earning a point away at Manchester City.

It has been a remarkable improvement from a group of players who did not seem to know where their next win was coming from, but with Alfie Mawson and Federico Fernandez forming a partnership at the back and both Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente performing to a high level in the final third, Swansea are now favourites to remain in the division.

Their four-point cushion takes the pressure off ahead of a daunting trip to West London, but Clement will see it as an opportunity to show their rivals that they possess the attributes to quickly move away from trouble before the closing weeks of the season.

After this game, they have a favourable fixture list with games against Burnley, Hull City, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, but Clement will be solely focused on making a statement against a team where he has spent time as academy coach, first-team coach and assistant manager.

Recent form: WLWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWLW


Team News

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea in action during a Pre Season Friendly between Chelsea and Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge on August 5, 2015© Getty Images

After making seven changes to his side for last weekend's FA Cup win over Wolves, Conte is expected to recall many of his regular first-teamers.

Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Marcos Alonso are all likely to feature, with Conte's biggest decision revolving around who plays out of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas.

Pedro should move back into an attacking position, with Willian dropping down to the substitutes' bench.

Swansea are without Nathan Dyer after the winger suffered an Achilles injury in his side's win over Leicester two weeks ago.

That could give Clement the chance to hand a first Premier League start to Luciano Narsingh, who moved to the Liberty Stadium during the transfer window.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard

Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Cork, Carroll, Fer, Narsingh, Sigurdsson, Llorente


Head To Head

Saturday's fixture represents just the 33rd time in which these two teams are facing each other in a competitive fixture, with Chelsea recording a win on 14 occasions in comparison to seven victories for Swansea.

Thirteen of those matches have come since Swansea earned promotion to the Premier League in 2011 and while Chelsea have won almost half of those meetings, they have gone three contests without success.

You have to go back until August 2015 when Swansea last visited Stamford Bridge where the Welsh club impressed in earning a 2-2 draw.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Chelsea 2-0 Swansea City

Swansea are currently receiving plenty of praise for their solidarity at the back and play in attack under Clement while earlier this month, they gave a good account of themselves away at Man City. However, Chelsea look unflappable in West London and we think that they will be able to grind out a comfortable win.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Swansea City?

Chelsea
Draw
Swansea City
Chelsea
77.7%
Draw
13.2%
Swansea City
9.1%
A general view inside the ground prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Southampton at Liberty Stadium on May 3, 2014
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2Manchester UnitedMan Utd65101721516
3Chelsea6411125713
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs6321105511
5Liverpool63211211111
6Watford6321910-111
7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield62315329
8Burnley62316519
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10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom52214408
11Southampton622245-18
12Arsenal521278-17
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton621357-27
14Everton6213411-77
15Swansea CitySwansea612337-45
16Stoke CityStoke6123510-55
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18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6114613-74
19Bournemouth6105411-73
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