Swansea vs. Chelsea: Key Storylines Ahead of Crucial Premier League Clash

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2014

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho watches his team play during the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham).
Matt Dunham

Chelsea will look to keep the pressure up at the top of the league with a win on Sunday when they travel to Swansea, especially considering one of their title rivals is guaranteed to drop points.

The match at the Liberty Stadium comes after Sunday's earlier game between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, the result of which will have a huge effect on the Blues' title hopes.

Jose Mourinho's side currently sit second in the Premier League, two points behind table-toppers Liverpool and two points ahead of third-placed City, who have two games in hand on the teams above them.

Thus, a Sky Blues victory in Liverpool before Chelsea's game would present Mourinho's side with the prospect of going top of the league if they claim three points in Wales.

Meanwhile, Swansea are not yet safe from the dreaded drop, sitting as they are just six points off the relegation zone in 15th with five games to play.

While there are probably enough teams below them for Garry Monk's side to survive in the top flight, they will be desperate to edge closer to definite safety by picking up some points on Sunday.


Chelsea need to turn around their away form

Sang Tan

The Blues have lost their last three away games—3-1 to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League quarter-final first leg and 1-0 to both Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Another away loss this weekend and Chelsea will be effectively out of the title race, as with games running out and the title out of their hands, they have to keep on winning to be in with a chance.

They must refocus their efforts on the league after a triumphant week in the Champions League in which they won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge against Paris Saint-Germain to overturn the first-leg deficit and qualify for the semi-finals.

They also now know their opponents for the last four of that competition after Friday's draw, as reported by Fox Soccer:

Mourniho was fined £8,000 on Wednesday, per BBC Sport, ahead of the Swansea game after he was sent off by Chris Foy in last month's loss to Villa for walking onto the pitch to talk to the referee.

Interestingly, Mourinho opted to cancel his usual pre-match press conference on Friday, per ITV.

However, the Telegraph's Ben Rumsby suggests there is a perfectly valid reason for that:

Meanwhile, top scorer Eden Hazard—who has 14 league goals for the season, per Squawka.com—is a major doubt for the game after picking up a calf injury against PSG, with John Terry also a doubt, per BBC Sport.


Swansea looking to safety

HULL, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Hull City's Maynor Figueroa  (grounded) and Swansea City's Jonathan de Guzman compete or the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Swansea City at KC Stadium on April 5, 2014 in Hull, England. (Phot
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

The Swans have won just one of their last eight games in the league, per BBC Sport, and desperately need a decent period of form at the end of the season to avoid a nerve-wracking finish. 

And they are unlikely to pick up a win against title-challenging Chelsea.

But a respectable performance would see them well into their more winnable final games against Newcastle, Villa, Southampton and Sunderland.

And Monk has acknowledged the challenge his side face but preached a no-fear attitude, per Sky Sports:

We know what we're up against. Chelsea are competing for the league, in the semi-final of the Champions League and have one of the strongest squads and best managers in the world.

When you look at it like that we don't have a chance on paper, do we? But you don't think like that, it's something we embrace and it's a chance to showcase what we can do to the world. ...

I can't fear that, you embrace it and rise to the challenge.

He went on to say how disappointed he was with his side's performance last weekend in a 1-0 loss to Hull, "I was very annoyed with the performance."

And certainly Swansea will need to buck up their ideas if they are to have any chance against Chelsea and if they wish to finish the season well.

However, their record against the Blues will not bring a huge amount of comfort having not beaten Chelsea in the league in seven games, per BBC Sport