Demba Ba scored two goals on debut for Chelsea
After a slow start under his stewardship, Chelsea has experienced somewhat of a revival with Rafael Benitez at the helm, but a lot of that good work was undone last week when Queen’s Park Rangers scored a shock 1-0 win over the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
With its Premiership hopes fading and Champions League campaign over at the group stage, Chelsea can turn its attention to domestic cups, and this week it is a League Cup semi-final first leg against Swansea City on the agenda. In their only other match against Premier League opposition in this competition this season, the Londoners scored a remarkable 5-4 win over Manchester United in extra time.
Swansea has been chugging along in the Premier League, but of late the Swans have been failing to put teams away, as shown by recent draws with lowly Reading and Aston Villa. They’ve only lost once in their past seven outings in all competitions, though. Their away form in the Premier League has been very good, with four wins and two draws from ten starts, but in the League Cup, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 19 matches on the road.
The Welsh outfit has never previously made the last four of this competition, and this is their best cup run since making the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1964. They’re fighting history, too, as Chelsea has progressed to the League Cup final the last three times it has made the semis stage. The Blues have also won 18 and lost just three of their past 25 games in the tournament at Stamford Bridge.
New recruit Demba Ba marked his arrival in west London with two goals in Chelsea’s win over Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend. Chelsea has already racked up more shots on goal than any other team in this competition so far, so if the Senegalese striker runs riot, the home side could take a healthy lead to Liberty Stadium in two weeks’ time. QPR showed how to stack the back half of the field and defend grimly, so the Swans could do worse than take a leaf out of Harry Redknapp’s book on this occasion, even if it goes against the type of football they’ve been playing under Michael Laudrup.
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