Chelsea and Swansea City are set to square off in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal on Wednesday, the Swans entering with an improbable 2-0 aggregate lead.
Chelsea couldn't capitalize on numerous chances in the first leg, dominating possession but falling behind 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Now they must travel to Liberty Stadium needing a three-goal win to advance outright.
Cinderella runs are happenstance in this tournament, though, so it wouldn't be unheard of to see Swansea advance. Birmingham City won the Cup two years ago, Cardiff City were last year's runners-up and Bradford City—members of League Two—await the winner of this clash in 2013's final.
If Chelsea win, they'll be one step closer to a much-needed trophy. If Swansea win, it'll set up a bafflingly unthinkable final between them and Bradford City. Either way, there's plenty to watch for and plenty at stake. Let's take a closer look.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 23 — 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Live Stream: None
*Like the first leg, the match will be not be broadcast (by legal means) over the Internet in the U.S. Read more about the conundrum (from the first leg) here.
Branislav Ivanovic—long-time stalwart of the Blues' defense—played the part of goat in leg No. 1. Both Swansea goals were gift-wrapped by the 28-year-old Serbian, whose two costly errors have put his side in a potentially fatal hole.
First, a lapse of concentration caused the ball to doink off Ivanovic's boot—right onto the boot of Swansea's Jonathan de Guzman, who fed open teammate Michu, who slid a clinical finish into the back of the net.
Then, in second-half stoppage time, Ivanovic made a reckless pass on the back line, which was easily taken and slotted away by Swansea attacker Danny Graham.
Despite his team's inferior skill, and despite the fact that Chelsea squandered countless opportunities in leg one, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has poked some fun at the Blues in the run-up to the game. Per The Daily Mail, Laudrup recently quipped:
With the money they (Chelsea) have spent and you ask me if they need a trophy more than Swansea? It’s quite obvious that they do.
One of their players, and I don’t even talk about the most expensive one, cost more than our squad.
If Chelsea can finish with more precision, they're still tentatively favored to advance past Laudrup and Co. But hey, We've seen weirder things happen in this particular tournament.