Match Preview

PMB: Swansea v Chelsea - tactics

We conclude our Pre-Match Briefing for today's game...


• With both his strikers scoring at Wembley last weekend, Antonio Conte has a tricky decision whether to start with one, the other or both in South Wales.

• The reverse fixture in November was settled by Toni Rudiger’s header, his first goal of the season. Alvaro Morata’s finish (from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross, as ever) reemphasised Chelsea’s arterial prowess. We have scored the most headers (15) in the top flight this term and Swansea the fewest (3).

• After impressing again at Wembley, Emerson Palmieri will hope to retain his left wing-back slot as Marcos Alonso sits out the last game of his ban. This is an important area on Saturday as the hosts tend to attack much more down their right flank than the left. Conte may feel he can play the 3-4-3 system in this game, with Cesc Fabregas partnering N’Golo Kante, though Tiemoue Bakayoko made a valuable contribution from the bench at Wembley and allowed a crucial tactical shift against Southampton.

• The clean sheet kept by Willy Caballero at Wembley was the Blues’ first since his performance against Hull on 16 February in the same competition. The last for Thibaut Courtois, who is set to return between the posts this weekend, was five days before that Hull game on 12 February in the league against West Brom.

• Effectively, starting this weekend, the players now have four auditions for a starring role in the Wembley showpiece on 19 May.

• Compared with Swansea’s earlier years in the Premier League, Carlos Carvalhal’s approach is more pragmatic and adapted to the opposition.

• Impressively, they are unbeaten in five league games at the Liberty stadium, though they were defeated 0-3 by Spurs in the FA Cup quarter-finals. This is only their second home match in the top flight since demolishing West Ham in early March – the other was a 1-1 draw with Everton.

• Back in November the Swans lined up at the Bridge in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Since then, in the absences of Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches, they use a 5-4-1 formation against teams in the upper reaches of the league. Their second top scorer, on-loan Blues striker Tammy Abraham , cannot play against his parent club.

• Carvalhal’s attention to defensive details has kept opponents’ goals down. Lone striker Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with seven goals. The Ghana international’s older brother Andre rejoined for a club record £18m fee in January, and the former West Ham man tends to play as a wide midfielder against teams higher up the table, using his pace to join the attack when in possession.

• Although his side were well beaten by Manchester City last time out, Carvalhal’s game plan was to defend in great numbers and form a compact box to protect their area, squeezing the Mancunians wide. Only West Ham, though, have been stung more times than the Welsh side by goals from counter-attacks.

• One of the Swans’ best performers this season has been Lukas Fabianski and had it not been for the Polish goalie, the damage at the Etihad might have been worse. Another has been centre-back Federico Fernandez, who left the field with a knee injury last weekend. His potential replacement, Kyle Bartley, may also be ruled out this weekend. City have welcomed back another regular in midfielder Sam Clucas, though.


• Andy King spent six years of his youth in the Chelsea Academy and was Leicester City’s longest-serving player before joining the Swans in January on loan.




Ethan Ampadu

David Luiz


Marcos Alonso





Wilfried Bony

Leroy Fer


Kyle Bartley

Federico Fernandez

Renato Sanches

Luciano Narsingh


Tammy Abraham