After confirming their place in the quarter finals of the League Cup after an emphatic and proud performance against Manchester United, Chelsea face Swansea who cannot be taken lightly.
This is their natural movement and how I expect them to lineup –
Their strongest area is in the center of the park, the midfield. They control the game and dictate it. Leon Britton is a Pirlo type player, very effective in controlling the game with his reading and passing.
Ki on the other hand relies on decisive and pin-point long balls which allows Swansea to change the tempo at will. A player Chelsea could have done with. Ki also has the characteristics of Ramires and Yaya Toure in the middle.
Guzman is their attacking midfielder and the main supplier for Michu upfront. He is equally adept at drifting towards the wings. Imagine an Oscar with less permission to drift. Moreover Michu can also play in the No.10 role, which allows him to come deep. By coming in deep he helps the midfield out in passing around the ball with a greater reason to push forward and create an attacking chance.
Di Matteo has to ensure that the Swansea midfielders don’t have much time on the ball. Chelsea players will have to press like they pressed against Nordsjaelland and we cripple 1/3rd of Swansea’s attack.
They also play a high line with Chico always willing to join in midfield. I expect Torres to exploit this place well if he plays.
The wings are their weakest areas, with none of the wingers comfortable with defensive duties. The wingers use their pace to out trick the fullbacks and cut inside as well as cross. For Chelsea though, they should look to exploit the right side as Ivanovic who loves to get forward can have a good time, IF Di Matteo has plugged all the holes.
Manchester United were able to score for mostly two reasons. Counter-attacks by exploiting the area Chelsea left while attacking and defensive mistakes.
Chelsea just cannot leave area behind for Swansea as their midfielders will just annihilate us with their technical abilities. This means that MAZACAR or whoever is to start at the 3 behind the striker roles, will need to take up intense defensive duties.
For Chelsea on the other hand, I would like to see this kind of lineup –
I don’t expect Mata to play after featuring for 90 minutes and then 120 against United. Moses after a brilliant outing last time, looks like he will make it to the squad. Moreover I don’t think Hazard will be rested and Marko Marin will start. Probability but Roberto is not one to take risks , especially if it comes to injury prone players.
In the Torres and Sturridge role, expect Torres to start but do not be surprised if Sturridge makes it. Sturridge had a mixed performance in the Capital One Cup and he could make it to the squad again.
Moses can provide us good cover as he is willing to defend. Even Hazard has showed signs of coming back and helping.
Ashley Cole is 75 % fit and Bertrand should start ahead of him. Luiz and Lampard are out, and Ivanovic will probably come into CB with Azpilicueta on the right.
Mikel and Ramires will be important and they should start.
Come on Chelsea !
Sherry Philips ( @bluebloodSherry ), Deputy Editor