Swansea City - Chelsea preview: Blues face tough test against buoyant Swans

Chelsea face a tough test to keep their slim European ambitions alive on Saturday when they take on a buoyant Swansea City.

Swansea City - Chelsea preview: Blues face tough test against buoyant Swans
Image credit: VAVEL

Chelsea ​will be looking to keep their slim European ambitions alive going into the last leg of the Premier League season when they visit Swansea City on Saturday afternoon.

Complete change

A lot has changed since Chelsea last took on the Swans on the opening day of the season, the current champions headed into that game full of optimism for the season ahead.

However a draw to Garry Monk’s side was the catalyst for a terrible series of events, which ultimately resulted in beloved manager Jose Mourinho leaving Stamford Bridge for a second time.

Above: Alexandre Pato scored on his Chelsea debut last Saturday in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa | Rex Features
Alexandre Pato scored on his Chelsea debut last Saturday in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa | Rex Features

Change for the better

Things have massively improved since the temporary arrival of Guus Hiddink, failing to lose a Premier League under his tenure. This was continued last week when they faced bottom club Aston Villa.

It was an easy contest at Villa Park with goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alexandre Pato and a brace from Pedro securing an easy 4-0 win. With seven points between them and sixth-placed West Ham and the announcement of Antonio Conte's arrival ahead of next season, players will be looking to impress their new commander-in-chief at the Liberty Stadium.

Paloschi celebrates his equaliser. | Image: Getty Images
Paloschi celebrates his equaliser. | Image: Getty Images

Flew away from trouble

There were some serious relegation concerns for Swansea at the end of February after their narrow 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, but under the watchful eye of Francesco Guidolin and Alan Curtis, the Swans have begun to soar.

They have suffered just one defeat in their last five matches with crucial wins over Arsenal, Norwich City and Aston Villa seeing them climb to ten points above the relegation zone, and continued their good run last Saturday.

They looked dead and buried against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City with Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan Kirkic giving them a seemingly unreachable lead but goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alberto Paloschi secured a 2-2 draw. They will be hoping that their good run can continue this weekend.

Team news

Chelsea face a potential crisis up front with Diego Costa serving an additional one-match ban for his antics in their eventual FA Cup exit and Loic Remy will be missing with a groin injury which he picked up last time out which could see Pato get his first start.

The Frenchman isn't’t the only injury concern with Kurt Zouma still on the sidelines as he recovers from his long-term knee injury with doubts still remaining over the fitness over John Terry, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard.

Their hosts have no such problems with their only concern been for Andre Ayew who continues to recover from a foot problem but the Ghanaian could return for the contention for this contest.

Chelsea will face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, April 9 with kick-off at 3pm BST.