Chelsea enter a home match with Swansea in desperate need of three points as their pursuit of a Champions League berth reaches a critical point. The Blues have two draws and a loss in three matchups with the Jacks during the current campaign.
The reason Sunday's clash is so important for Chelsea is the club's tough schedule down the stretch. They face league champion Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton. It's going to make for a tricky finish, so the Blues can't afford to drop points in the very winnable matches.
Since the stakes aren't nearly as high for Swansea, they will attempt to play the role of spoiler. They eliminated Chelsea from the Capital One Cup a couple of months ago. Earning another positive result against the Blues could end up costing them the coveted UCL spot.
Given how tough Swansea have played Chelsea throughout the season, there will probably be a lot of tense moments at Stamford Bridge today. Here's a look at all the key viewing information, followed by players to watch and a prediction.
Where: Stamford Bridge in London, England
When: Sunday, April 28 at 10 a.m. ET
Watch: Fox Soccer Plus
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
Chelsea Player to Watch: John Terry
Terry's playing time has been inconsistent during the second half of the season as interim manager Rafa Benitez continues to rotate his defenders. When the captain does start, he's been productive, and that should mean he becomes a stalwart once again as the campaign winds down.
The 32-year-old defender continues to showcase his physical style of play. While he isn't on the same level he was during his peak seasons, he remains a very reliable veteran for the Blues. He's also provided an offensive boost with four goals in his last six appearances.
This is the type of match where Terry's leadership will be key. The Blues are going to need a resilient performance against a club that clearly has their number this season. Having somebody like Terry, who's been through countless key matches, spearheading the defensive effort will help.
Swansea City Player to Watch: Michu
Michu has scored 17 Premier League goals in his first season with the Jacks. No other Swansea player has more than five. That illustrates how important he's been to the club's attack, which would be struggling mightily without him atop the formation.
While other clubs around the league were focused on high-priced transfer targets, Swansea brought him in under the radar. There was very little hype about his signing, but it's turned out to be a terrific deal for the Capital One Cup champs.
He scored the Jacks' first goal in a win at Stamford Bridge during their Capital One run, so the big stage clearly doesn't phase the overlooked Spanish star. Finding a way to slow him down is the biggest defensive key for Chelsea.
Matchup to Watch: Chelsea Attack vs. Swansea Defenders
Chelsea have scored one goal in the three matches against Swansea this season. That includes clean sheets by the Jacks in the last two meetings. So it's clear the Blues will need their attack to step up if they are going to earn the much-needed points.
In reality, it shouldn't be that tall of a task. Swansea ranks in the middle of the pack in goals allowed. It just comes down to a more comprehensive effort in the midfield from Chelsea. They need to control possession and rely on steady buildups.
That puts the pressure on the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar. They are going to get a lot of touches; what they are able to do with them will decide the match. It won't be easy, but they should do enough to help the Blues pull away in the second half.
Chelsea 3, Swansea 1
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