Swans v Chelsea: The big talking points

27th April 2018
First team

Swansea City will try to upset one of the Premier League’s heavyweights this weekend as they bid to book their place in next season’s top flight.

Here are all the key talking points heading into the big game on Saturday evening.

 

Super six?

The Swans will look to make it six games unbeaten on home soil in the Premier League when they take on Chelsea.

Only once before since promotion from the Championship have the club managed such a feat – when Brendan Rodgers’s team went seven home league games without losing back in 2011-12.

That sequence featured four draws and three wins.

In their five without defeat on this run, Carlos Carvalhal’s team have won four times and drawn just once.

 

Pointing in the right direction

The Swans are without a win in five league games – three of which have been draws – but Carvalhal has taken a very healthy 20 points from his 14 top-flight fixtures at the helm.

That gives him an average points-per-game return of 1.43, which is the best of any Swans manager who has taken charge of at least 10 matches in the Premier League era.

Next in the list comes Garry Monk (1.31 points per game), followed by Francesco Guidolin (1.26), Brendan Rodgers (1.24), Michael Laudrup (1.13), Paul Clement (1.11) and Bob Bradley (0.73).

 

Getting the Blues

If the Swans need a reminder of how tough Saturday’s game is likely to be, they only need to glance at the history books.

The Swans have met Chelsea 13 times at Premier League level, and so far they have managed just one win.

That came at the back-end of the 2015-16 campaign, when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goal ended Chelsea’s 14-game unbeaten league run under Guus Hiddink.

There have also been four draws between the clubs in the Premier League and, encouragingly, Chelsea have won on only two of their seven trips to the Liberty.

One of those was in the Capital One Cup semi-final back in 2013, when the Swans famously progressed en route to their first – and to date only – major trophy.

 

Top-six topplers?

Carvalhal’s men have proved they can upset the big clubs on their own patch.

There was that memorable 1-0 victory over Liverpool, when Alfie Mawson’s goal and a huge defensive effort gave the Swans the points.

Then came a resounding 3-1 success against Arsenal, when Sam Clucas scored twice and Jordan Ayew also found the target.

Now Carvalhal’s side go in search of a third major scalp.

Should they get the better of Chelsea, the Swans will become the first club outside the big six to win three games against the big six this season.

 

Conte’s half-century

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will have overseen 50 Premier League wins if his team take three points at the Liberty.

That will be a laudable effort given that he only arrived in this country at the start of last season – 72 top-flight matches ago.

In fact, only two managers have got to a half-century of Premier League triumphs faster – Jose Mourinho (63 games) and Pep Guardiola (69).

 

Goal gains

The Swans’ tally of 27 league goals this season is the joint lowest in the top tier alongside Huddersfield, but things are getting better.

When Carvalhal arrived at the end of December, after all, the Swans had scored a measly 11 times in their first 20 league games of the campaign.

Since then, they have found the target on a further 16 occasions in 14 top-flight fixtures.

Jordan Ayew has contributed five of them, while Sam Clucas and Ki Sung-Yueng have two each.

Mawson, Mike van der Hoorn, Federico Fernandez, Luciano Narsingh, Tammy Abraham and Andy King have also found the target, while there was an own goal at Brighton.

Certainly, the Swans are carrying more of a threat now than they were earlier in the season.