Swansea City's Michu is proving to be one of the best pick-ups over the summer transfer market and leads the Swans in scoring with six goals.
What: English Premier League, Week 10
Where: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
When: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 15:00 p.m. GMT/11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes (USA)
Worldwide Live Streams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com link
Radio: SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 94 (Internet 960)
Referee: Kevin Friend
2-Way Odds: Chelsea -1 -110, Swansea City -1 -110
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -135, Swansea City +190, Draw +275
Total: Over 2½ -140, Under 2½ +120
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.72, Swansea City 4.75, Draw 3.60
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.60, Under 2½ 2.20
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 18/25, Swansea City 15/4, Draw 13/5
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 3/5, Under 2½ 6/5
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
The Blues pay a visit to Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Saturday in a match the first-place Blues will likely need to win to avoid having Manchester United or Manchester City from knocking them off their perch atop of the English Premier League table.
Swansea (3-2-4, 14 goals for, 13 goals against) is in a somewhat respectable 11th-place in the league and is 2-2-1 at home so far this season heading into this match against the Blues.
On Wednesday, the Swans upset defending tournament champs Liverpool 3-1 in the Capital One Cup to advance to quarterfinals for the first time in their history, where they will play host to Middlesbrough.
Manager Michael Laudrup and Swansea—who have lost just one of its last eight EPL games at home (4-3-1)—are not to be taken lightly with players like goalkeeper Michel Vorm, midfielders Wayne Routledge (two goals), Nathan Dyer (two goals), Jonathan de Guzmán and striker Danny Graham, who has gone longer than any other player in the EPL without conceding a foul (572 minutes).
But the one player the Blues defense needs to be most concerned with is advanced midfielder Michu, who leads the Swans in scoring with six goals after coming over from Rayo Vallecano in Spain’s La Liga during the summer transfer window.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is one of four EPL players to score in his first three games in the league and so far is undoubtedly one of the best pickups of the summer.
Swansea—the only Welsh club in the history of the Premiership—is undefeated this season in games in which they score (3-2-0) but is winless in its four matches where they have failed to put the ball in the back of the net (0-0-4).
Last year, these two clubs tied in this fixture (1-1), while Chelsea was victorious at Stamford Bridge (4-1). In both games, the Blues had a player sent off with a red card.
What will the final result be on Saturday between Chelsea and Swansea City?
The visitors do have some concerns on defense with captain John Terry serving the final game of his four-match suspension from the FA and left-back Ashley Cole a question mark as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo will likely plug Gary Cahill in for Terry, while Ryan Bertrand may start in Cole’s spot should he be unfit on Saturday.
Defensively, the Blues have only conceded nine goals, but five of those came in their last two EPL matches (Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United).
On Wednesday, Chelsea allowed four more goals to the Red Devils in their Capital One Cup match, but rallied in an exciting game to defeat United 5-4 in extra time at Stamford Bridge to advance to the tournament quarterfinals, where it will play at Leeds United on December 19.
The spark plug of the Blues offense again this year has been attacking midfielder Juan Mata, who has scored four goals and assisted on five others in his last five league matches.
Along with new acquisitions Oscar and Eden Hazard, Chelsea—who is tied for the EPL lead with Spurs for the most goals from the counter-attack (three) this season—has one of the most talented advanced midfields in the league and will be an extremely tough task for host Swansea to contain in this one.
And with Peter Čech in goal, a clean sheet is always a possibility for the Blues ,and with all four of the Swans’ losses being shutouts and the strange statistic that Swansea has never won an EPL game in November (0-2-1) and has never even scored a goal in the month—not that amazing considering the club has only been in the league for one season—and it’s pretty easy to make a case for taking the favorite in this one.
Chelsea (7-1-1, 22 points) has only lost one of its last eight league road fixtures (4-3-1) and is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games after playing United, who it actually played twice in a row this week.
So toss in a little fear from possibly losing the top spot in the league and a little anger from the loss last Sunday to the Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils, and you can expect the European champions to be on their best behavior and find a way to get the three points here against a game but over-matched Swansea side.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 2 Swansea City 0
BET: Chelsea -133
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