Swansea City will be aiming for their third consecutive home victory, but in order to do that they must overcome a Chelsea side that has not lost in the Premier League since December 14.
A double substitution from boss Francesco Guidolin helped Swansea to make an unlikely comeback from two goals down to earn a creditable draw at Stoke City in their last match, with the pace of Jefferson Montero and the energy of January signing Alberto Paloschi turning things around in a game in which they looked totally dead and buried. That was the ultimate proof that the team has regained the fighting spirit which they mysteriously lost during the first half of the season.
It also showed that Guidolin has plenty of tactical nous up his sleeve after years of coaching, although doubts do remain over whether he will still be in place in South Wales come the beginning of 2016-17. Whatever happens, he has all but achieved what he set out to do upon his arrival and guide the club clear from the threat of relegation, with Paloschi looking to be an inspired signing while the form of Gylfi Sigurdsson has been very instrumental.
There is not a considerable amount riding on this game for both teams, but Chelsea will be quietly confident of of adding to their sequence of away wins in the top-flight, with the latest of those coming at whipping boys Aston Villa last weekend. With relatively little to play for, Guus Hiddink has opted to give some of the youngsters a chance and some have certainly gone about taking it, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring his first Premier League goal and American defender Matt Miazga helping to keep a clean sheet on his English football debut.
In spite of the limited opposition, some of the passing football the Blues played at Villa Park was superb to watch and they will be immensely satisfied that they were able to match that with ruthlessness in front of goal. This encounter is unlikely to be won quite as easily as Swansea will in theory be a much tougher unit to break down, but if they can keep Sigurdsson quiet and gain control of the midfield, the Londoners should expect to come away with all three points in the first match since they announced that Antonio Conte will be their new manager from next season.
Defender Jordi Amat and midfielder Leon Britton are doubts for Swansea, but they do welcome back Andre Ayew following an ankle problem.
After scoring on his Chelsea debut, Alexandre Pato is likely to make his first start for the club in the absence of Diego Costa and Loic Remy. The injury list also includes Nemanja Matic, John Terry and Eden Hazard.
Last Meeting: A wretched start from Swansea intermixed with some brilliant football from Chelsea eventually led to a 5-0 scoreline in favour of the visitors. Stray passes led to two of the goals as Oscar and Diego Costa both netted first half braces to underline their side’s total dominance, while the abject hosts went on to concede a fifth 11 minutes from time as Andre Schurrle scored his final goal in a Chelsea shirt.