Picking a Chelsea XI to Face Swansea City in the Capital One Cup Semifinal

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09:  Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea plays the ball past Wayne Routledge of Swansea City during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final first leg match between Chelsea and Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on January 9, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Chelsea head to the Liberty Stadium 2-0 down from the first leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal. Swansea City capitalised on two errors from Branislav Ivanovic to gain the advantage at Stamford Bridge, and will be looking to book their place in the final, where they would face Bradford City.

The Swans held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw the last time they met in Wales, and they have also forced Manchester United to share the points this season.

Michael Laudrup's side are very organised, and they move the ball quickly rather than playing for possession. Chelsea will need to start a lot quicker than in their last meeting with Swansea to avoid the tie slipping out of their reach.

Michu carries Swansea's primary goal threat, having scored 16 goals in 28 appearances following his £2.2 million move from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano.

To counter the threat posed by Swansea, Rafa Benitez will need to start his strongest 11 or face losing another chance at silverware this season.

This means leaving Fernando Torres on the bench.

Torres is ineffective at best, and Chelsea are in need of goals to overturn the deficit from the first leg. It makes no sense to persist with a player as out of form as Torres with so much at stake. If dropping him is impossible, he should partner Demba Ba up front, playing provider to the Senegalese striker.

Further down the pitch, Benitez is constrained by the fact that Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are representing Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations. John Terry is still doubtful as he returns from injury, and David Luiz will be assessed after twisting his ankle before their last Premier League match against ArsenalIf fit, Luiz will most likely partner Ramires in midfield, with Lampard to be rested after having started the last three games for the club.

With a trip to Wembley at stake, Benitez needs to make the right choices both in his starting 11 and with his substitutions during the match. Whether he can make the right choices remains to be seen, but now would be a good time for him to prove his tactical genius.