Wed 23 Jan 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 19,506)
The requirements are clear as Chelsea head to Wales for the conclusion of our first semi-final in this competition for five years. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton get set for the second leg…
Having firmed up our league position by beating Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League, Chelsea now face two very different cup tests in five days. Our west London neighbours Brentford await in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Tonight, though, the Blues attempt to buck the trend of history and reverse the two-goal advantage taken away from Stamford Bridge by Swansea City a fortnight ago. In the Londoners' favour is the fact that four of our most recent six domestic away results would be sufficient to make the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday 24 February.
The competition records show that winners of the first legs in semi-finals are far from definite finalists.
Cardiff City overturned Crystal Palace's 1-0 lead at this stage of last year's competition and the previous season both eventual finalists, Arsenal and Birmingham, were trailing after the first leg. All, though, played their second leg on home soil.
Likewise Manchester United in 2009/10, Arsenal in 2005/06, Liverpool in 2002/03, Tottenham in 2001/02, Birmingham and Liverpool in 2000/01, Chelsea and Boro in 1997/98…
The Blues, however, might take inspiration from 2004/05, when José Mourinho's side travelled to Old Trafford for a second leg after a stalemate at Stamford Bridge and triumphed in Manchester by two goals to one. It was the first time Sir Alex Ferguson's team had tasted defeat in a semi-final and an enormous confidence boost which led to the first silverware of the Abramovich era being acquired.
Never the less you have to go right back to 1987 to find the last instance of a side coming back from a first-leg home defeat to reach the final - and the successful side, Arsenal, needed a 2-1 replay victory to overcome Spurs after losing 0-1 at Highbury and winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
It is often said 2-0 is a dangerous lead. According to football lore the side leading think the win is in the bag and the trailing team, with nothing to lose, take unusual risks; if a goal is pulled back the 'big mo' is all with the comeback crew.
It is unlikely Swansea will be overconfident after their win at Stamford Bridge. They know Chelsea missed chance after chance to score - the statistics showed the Blues dominated the game and had 24 shots on Gerhard Tremmel's goal, while Swansea scored with their only on-target strikes against reserve keeper Ross Turnbull.
Both the Swans' goals were gifts, highly unusually, from central defender Branislav Ivanovic. The Serb, Chelsea to his marrow, will be desperate to make amends tonight in South Wales. Many teammates in the Blues side tonight will also have played in last season's FA Cup and Champions League triumphs.
Chelsea know what is required: win by a minimum of two goals. Are Chelsea capable of scoring two goals in Wales? It is a margin that has been achieved no fewer than 13 times this season, more than half of those occasions away from Stamford Bridge. The Blues have also ended the unbeaten home runs of Everton and Stoke this season.
The Welsh side do not have the same range of cup semi-final lanes down which an edgy supporter's memory might wander for reassurance. This is just the third major semi-final in their history, the previous two in the FA Cup coming in 1926 and 1964.
In 1926 they lost out 0-3 to a more-experienced Bolton side who eventually lifted the trophy. Preston North End were the 2-1 victors at Villa Park in 1964; then called Swansea Town, the team was full of typically Welsh surnames that are absent today.
They did win a Championship play-off at Wembley in 2011, but a big question tonight is not how the present Swansea side's nerve is before kick-off but whether it will hold up during the match itself, especially should Chelsea score first.
Away goals only count double after any extra time is played. The additional 30 minutes will only be required if Chelsea are leading by two clear goals when the 90 plus stoppages are completed. A 2-0 Chelsea victory after extra time is the only scoreline that would result in a penalty shoot out.
The winners tonight will play fourth-tier Bradford City, who progressed at the expense of Premier League Aston Villa on the other side of the draw. The Pensioners have never met the Bantams before in this competition.
Chelsea have progressed from the last three semi-finals and have won the League Cup four times, most recently 2006/07 when we saw off Arsenal by the same scoreline as on Sunday in the league: 2-1.
That weekend victory earned our ninth league double over Arsenal and the first since 2009/10.Prior to that our twin successes came in 2005/06, 1969/70, 1968/69, 1964/65, 1963/64, 1960/61 and 1946/47.
Frank Lampard's penalty took him to 195 Chelsea goals, and he has hit six in his last nine games - the last three from the spot.
The Gunners, potential rivals for a top-four finish, face West Ham tonight in the Premier League and have so far taken one league point in January, leaving them 11 points behind the Blues with 16 matches remaining.
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It is time for yet another gallant cup performance from Chelsea. How might the Blues overturn the 0-2 first leg deficit to reach the Capital One Cup final?
Swansea's success in the first leg was founded on solid defence and opportunist finishing. They scored with their two shots on target, handed to them by two errors. Petr Cech has since returned to fitness and should replace Ross Turnbull, who played that night, in goal.
Michael Laudrup asked his team to defend deep and swamp the middle, with Ki Sung-Yueng instrumental in breaking up the passing between Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. The Blues were unable to find space behind Angel Rangel, Chico Flores et al and the chances that arose were not as clear cut as Rafael Benitez would have liked.
Upfront, stomach-illness victim Fernando Torres was off-colour and Demba Ba was not introduced until late in the match because of a slight injury. In a monstrous 10 minutes the substitute consistently troubled the Swans' rearguard with his pace, power and touch.
He was extremely unlucky to be cautioned for simulation after tripping over goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, then to have a perfectly legitimate strike ruled out for offside. If, as seems likely, the Senegalese striker starts tonight the hosts, including the impressive Ashley Williams, could find themselves stretched from the outset.
Both managers selected strong sides in the league at the weekend, with striker Itay Shechter replaced by transfer-target Danny Graham late on. Set-play specialist Jonathan De Guzman scored twice in Swansea's 3-1 win over Stoke, but that was their first home league win since November.
Key defender Chico was missing from that match and would be a significant miss were injury to rule him out again this evening. Likewise David Luiz for Chelsea, although at present - despite a couple of central midfield absences - Benitez has very good cover.
Chelsea will be hoping for more of the irresistible football displayed against Arsenal in the first half on Sunday, which should have brought more reward than two goals. Swansea like to play the ball out from the back and the Blues' pressing in the final third was impressive.
The influence of Cesar Azpilicueta continues to grow too. The raiding right-back has set up goals in the last two matches, the most recent with a brilliant diagonal pass to Juan Mata. Chelsea's elusive no.10 himself created three and scored one goal in the same two games. Should the Spain midfielder - who played on the wing in the first leg - find similar space on the edge of the Swans' box it could make for a very interesting evening.
Meanwhile the Blues have to find a way to shut out Michu, who scored playing as a striker at the Bridge but also presents a goalscoring threat from a deeper, attacking midfield role.
Laudrup successfully deployed two wingers, Pablo Hernández and Wayne Routledge, to thwart the Blues' full-backs in the first leg. Knowing that only victory by two goals or more will do, Chelsea may feel Azpilicueta and newly re-signed Ashley Cole will have to take risks down the flanks to support the attack against Swansea's vulnerable wide defenders.
The experience and eye for goal of Frank Lampard in these semi-final settings could also be crucial. In his early career the midfielder was on loan from West Ham at Swansea and made his debut for them alongside former Blues keeper Roger Freestone … against 2012/13 Capital One Cup finalists Bradford City.
Swansea centre-back Chico Flores is reported fit. Midfielder Kemy Agustien is out with an ankle injury.
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Swansea have only met once previously in cup competitions. It was the fourth round of the League Cup in the 1964/65 season. Chelsea were second in Division One, one point behind leaders Manchester United. Swansea Town, as they were called then, were 19th out of 22 in the old Second Division but equal bottom on points.
The Swans finished bottom that season and were relegated. The Blues won 3-2 with goals from George Graham (2) and Dennis Brown, Swansea's goals came from Herbert Williams and Keith Todd.
Chelsea went on to become London's first winners of this competition by beating Leicester over two legs in the final (pictured below).
This will be only our third visit to Swansea in 29 years and first ever in a cup competition. Apart from this and last season's Premier League draws at the Liberty Stadium, all previous games were at Vetch Field.
Our last win there was in November 1983 during our promotion campaign under John Neal. The Blues won 3-1 with goals from Pat Nevin, John Bumstead and Kerry Dixon. Swansea's reply came from Colin Pascoe. The Swans were eventually relegated for the second successive season.
Swansea's last home win against the Blues was in April 1981 when goals from Robbie James, Neil Robinson and Dzemal Hadziabdic without reply was enough to secure the victory.
Chelsea v Swansea in all competitions
Games played 23
Chelsea wins 9
Swans wins 6
Biggest win at Swansea for each team
Swansea 3-0 Chelsea - 12/04/1930 (Div 2) and 25/04/1981 (Div 2)
Swansea 1-3 Chelsea - 22/11/1983 (Div 2)
Chelsea played at Wembley: 263
Swansea played at Wembley: 604
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,804
Liverpool won the league: 8,299
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Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1964/65, 1997/98, 2004/05, 2006/07
Runners-up: 1971/72, 2007/08
Semi-finalists: 1972/73, 1984/85, 1990/91, 2001/02, 2012/13
By beating Leeds we reached our 11th League Cup semi-final. We have won our last three against Everton, Wycombe Wanderers and Manchester United.
|Our 10 previous League Cup semi-finals|
|1st leg||2nd leg||Aggregate|
|1964/65||Aston Villa||A 3-2||H 1-1||4-3|
|1971/72||Tottenham||H 3-2||A 2-2||5-4|
|1972/73||Norwich||H 0-2||A 0-1||0-3|
|1984/85||Sunderland||A 0-2||H 2-3||2-5|
|1990/91||Sheffield Wed||H 0-2||A 1-3||1-5|
|1997/98||Arsenal||A 1-2||H 3-1||4-3|
|2001/02||Tottenham||H 2-1||A 1-5||3-6|
|2004/05||Man Utd||H 0-0||A 2-1||2-1|
|2006/07||Wycombe||A 1-1||H 4-0||5-1|
|2007/08||Everton||H 2-1||A 1-0||3-1|
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2001/02 - Semi-final
2002/03 - Quarter-final
2003/04 - Quarter-final
2004/05 - Winners
2005/06 - 3rd round
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Runners-up
2008/09 - 4th round
2009/10 - Quarter-final
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - Quarter-final
Kerry Dixon is our leading scorer in the League Cup with 25 goals followed by Frank Lampard 11, Peter Osgood and Bobby Tambling 10 and Didier Drogba nine.
Chelsea have won three of our last five penalty shoot-outs, the last being at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
|Last six results|