Chelsea are coming off a scoreless draw with Arsenal to keep them within striking distance of the Premier League lead and have a clash with Liverpool this weekend. The Blues must be careful because it would be easy for them over overlook Swansea.
As was the case earlier in the season when Chelsea visited Old Trafford and held Manchester United to a 0-0 scoreline, it was clear from the outset the Blues were focused on a point with a defensive-minded approach. It worked, but now they need to ramp the attack back up against Swansea.
The Jacks have failed to pick up a win in any of their last four matches despite a pretty favorable schedule. A lack of attacking form, with no more than one goal in any of those fixtures, doesn't bode well heading into Stamford Bridge.
Let's check out all of the important information for the holiday clash, followed by a look at the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: Stamford Bridge in London, England
When: Thursday, Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. GMT)
Watch: NBC Sports Network and BBC One
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Chelsea: 61.4 percent
Swansea: 17.8 percent
Draw: 20.8 percent
Top Storyline: Can Chelsea secure three points before a key match with Liverpool?
Chelsea head into a full slate of action in fourth place, but just two points off the title pace being set by Liverpool and Arsenal. With a match against the Reds coming up, a strong run of form could very well vault the Blues into the lead.
Jose Mourinho's group has flashed some outstanding form for stretches during the first half of the campaign. If they are able to maintain that high level of play during the rest of the campaign, there's a good chance they will win the title.
John Terry was feeling confident after the draw with Arsenal. Matt McGeehan of The Independent passed along the comments the captain made on Chelsea TV, and he feels the Blues can pull away from the muddled pack in 2014:
"The point still keeps us up there and amongst everyone," Terry told Chelsea TV.
"We all know—and the fans have seen it home and away—that we can get better.
"So whilst everyone is dropping points around us, hopefully in the new year we have to start firing and put ourselves on a good run of games.
"If we do that we're more than capable of pulling away from everyone."
While it's certainly possible for Chelsea to go on a run that moves them to the top, especially with that Liverpool clash looming, taking care of business against clubs like Swansea is equally important. It's a game the Blues should win at home, but the Jacks can be a tricky opponent, especially if Chelsea is looking ahead.
Swansea can't match Chelsea's depth and talent in the midfield. So this is a match where the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar should really be able to shine. They will have plenty of time on the ball as the Blues control possession and pace.
As always with Chelsea, however, the key is finding that finishing touch. They should have more chances than they did against Arsenal, which will definitely help the goal-scoring cause, but it's still going to take some efficient play in the final third to come out on top.
Otherwise, Swansea will be able to create chances on the counterattack, and what should be three points for Chelsea could become none.
It will be interesting to see how Chelsea perform in the first 15 minutes. It isn't always easy to turn on the attacking switch after playing a defensive style like they did against Arsenal. Swansea could create some chances while the Blues settle in.
That said, Mourinho's squad knows how crucial these type of matches will end up being if they want to capture the championship. It might not be a perfect tactical display, but Chelsea should be able to use a workmanlike performance to secure the win.
Chelsea 2, Swansea 0