Chelsea had a mixed pre-season, to put it mildly! We won against major clubs like PSG and European champions but lost against mid-table clubs like NY Red Bulls, Fiorentina and also Arsenal. But now the Blues start a fresh new chapter of the season as we look to face Swansea in the opening fixture of the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.
The fixture has always been an intriguing one because Swansea isn’t a team to be taken lightly; here, we analyze Swansea and what can we expect from them this season.
History of Swansea:
Swansea AFC is a Welsh professional football club, based in the city of Swansea, South Wales. They, now, represent England in the European competitions, although they have represented Wales in the past. Founded in 1921, the club changed its name from Swansea Town to Swansea City in 1969, reflecting Swansea’s new status as a city.
They were promoted to the first division in 1981 and came near to winning the title in the following season. But a gradual decline saw them eventually settling for a club record 6th position. A series of further decline resulted in their returning to the fourth division a few seasons later. Their latest promotion to the English Premier League came in 2011, and Swansea became the first Welsh team to play in the tournament since its formation in 1992.
Swansea played a total of 5 pre-season friendlies and managed to win only once against German side 1860 Munich. The other friendlies came against German second runner-ups Borussia Monchengladbach. They also played two games against teams contesting for the promotion; Reading and Nottingham Forest. Their final pre-season game was against Spanish team Deportivo La Coruna. Except for that loss, they managed to draw four of the games.
Last 5 games (All competitions): D-W-D-D-D
Swansea City just have one player to be concerned about on the injury front; Jordi Amat, who has picked up an ankle/foot injury. The defender could be missing the match despite being fit as he has been out of action since April and Swansea manager would like to use Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez as his first choice defenders.
There aren’t any major suspensions for the game, and it is believed that French striker Bafetimbi Gomis has recovered in time and will start in the opener for the Swans. The fixture could also mark the debut of exciting winger Andre Ayew, who made a switch to the Welsh club on a free transfer from Olympique Marseille.
Garry Monk usually likes to roll with a 4-4-2 formation with Franck Tabanou and Kyle Naughton occupying the wingback spots on either side. Englishmen Jonjo Shelvey and Leon Britton will probably start in the midfield while, Andre Ayew and Gylfi Sigurdsson could slot in the either wing. Sigurdsson will hold on to the no.10 spot to make room for another winger. Bafetimbi Gomis seems to be the first choice striker and either Michu, Marvin Emnes or new man Eder can play along the French striker.
Strengths – Key player:
Gylfi Sigurdsson: The player from Iceland has been in an incredible form ever since he made the switch from Tottenham to Swansea. The attacking midfielder plays primarily as an attacking midfielder but can occupy the left and the right flank with ease. His domain ranges from defensive midfielder to a striker. The midfielder assisted ten times, with seven goals in the last campaign. Surely he is the player to watch out for the coming match.
The major problem for the Swans has always been down the wings. With Eden Hazard on the left flank, it is going to be a tough, long day for the Swans right-back and Hazard is likely to win the battle in this spot. Also, aerial duels have been a problem that Swansea have faced in the past, and unnecessary set-pieces should be avoided or else Swansea could be in for trouble!
Head to Head:
A total of 28 games gave been played between Chelsea and Swansea over the years. While Chelsea have won 13 games; Swansea have won only 6 games. A total of 9 draws has come when these two sides have faced each other.
The Premier League opener has been something that all Chelsea fans are waiting for. It is going to be a long and hard season up front as Chelsea look to defend their League title!
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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