While many expected this game to be Borja Baston’s debut for Swansea, manager Francesco Guidolin poured cold water on those rumours, stating that he doesn’t have an injury, but has to take it slow in training.
Chelsea’s new signings David Luiz and Marcos Alonso aren’t expected to make their debuts on Sunday either, as boss Antonio Conte revealing that “the chance to start is not high.”
The away side have no fresh injury concerns for the game, as Kurt Zouma continues his rehabilitation from a ligament injury he suffered in February.
Defence in turmoil
Swansea’s star man through the opening three games, despite conceding four goals so far this season. The defence is severely weaker than the one that ended the season, and it means the Polish goalkeeper has had to step up
Coming in at 83% pass completion this season, only bested by Jordi Amat (86%) and Oliver McBurnie, who has played just nine minutes of football. Quality in possession, but poor defensively is the template of this Swansea defence, and it really needs to change.
With the arrivals of Mike van der Hoorn and Alfie Mawson, the current centre-half pairing is definitely under pressure. The early performances haven’t done much to relieve that pressure either. Federico Fernandez will likely continue until Mawson is ready to start in the Premier League.
The more likely player to lose his place once Mawson is ready to make the step up, he has struggled with Andre Gray and Jamie Vardy so far this season and Diego Costa shouldn’t be any easier of a task.
Stephen Kingsley has been impressive since he deputised in Neil Taylor’s absence, but this defence needs more stability and the Welsh international definitely adds that. He played 90 minutes for Wales this past week and he looks match-fit enough to start.
The Ki to a better midfield?
The stand-in skipper’s early season form hasn’t been the reliable seven-out-of-ten that Swansea fans are used to, but he’ll deservedly be given the benefit of the doubt and his performance will have to improve against that Chelsea midfield.
There have been some calls for Ki Sung-Yeung to return to the lineup, as someone who better links the midfield and attack is definitely needed. Ki will probably be installed to the starting eleven soon, but Leroy Fer is the only Swansea player to score in the league this year and Ki has travelled thousands of miles in midweek for the international break.
He didn’t seem match-fit in the opening fixtures, and it looked evident in his sub-standard performances. He played 90 minutes for Iceland midweek and Swansea will be relying on his improved performances to springboard them up the table.
No spark going forward
He has been Swansea’s most creative and threatening forward player this season, and didn’t travel for Gambia’s African Cup of Nations qualifying game against Cameroon. He’ll need to interact more with Gylfi Sigurdsson but Modou Barrow is set for a breakthrough season.
With Baston set to miss out again, Fernando Llorente has another chance to break his Swansea duck. He’ll have a tough time against two physical defenders in John Terry and Gary Cahill, and will need a good performance at least if he is to show Guidolin why he deserves to start over Baston.
Despite creating ten chances so far this season (no player has created more in the Premier League) Wayne Routledge has been by far Swansea’s worst performer. Jefferson Montero really should start, especially after the torment he’s caused Branislav Ivanovic in the past, but he returned late from international duty and Guidolin does seem to prefer Routledge as he is better defensively than the Ecudorian.