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Chelsea V Swansea at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

24 Dec 2013 14:01:00

Chelsea V Swansea at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

Chelsea V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Terry has high hopes for 2014

Captain John Terry believes Chelsea are capable of moving clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League in 2014.


Chelsea have won one Premier League title since Jose Mourinho's departure in September 2007 - when Carlo Ancelotti led the Blues to a league and FA Cup double in 2009/10 - and were out of contention by Christmas in the last two seasons.


The Blues were 11 points behind last Christmas, but after Monday night's goalless draw at Arsenal are fourth, two points behind Liverpool, who visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday and lead the Gunners on goal difference.


"The point still keeps us up there and amongst everyone," Terry told Chelsea TV.


"We all know - and the fans have seen it home and away - that we can get better.


"So whilst everyone is dropping points around us, hopefully in the new year we have to start firing and put ourselves on a good run of games.


"If we do that we're more than capable of pulling away from everyone."


Mourinho called for a raucous backing from the Blues faithful when Swansea and then Liverpool visit in quick succession on Thursday and Sunday, with Chelsea firmly in title contention.


"I hope Stamford Bridge is there for us; Stamford Bridge with noise," he added.


"On the last Boxing Day Chelsea were 11 points behind the leader, out of the title race. And we are there. Two points behind both leaders.


"We are there so we have reasons to keep going. The way to get the first objective, which is top four and Champions League - which will be hard for everybody - is to be close in the title race.


"Let's enjoy the moment."


Chelsea showed a steeliness reminiscent of Mourinho's first team at the Emirates Stadium to frustrate Arsenal.


Prior to the match at Arsenal, the Portuguese spoke of building a new dynasty after leaving a lasting legacy from his first spell.


Yet, ever the perfectionist, Mourinho demands continual improvement, particularly in front of goal.


"We are building a team not for one season, we are building a team for more than one season, the same way 2004/05 we build a certain profile of team, that was the profile of team that was Chelsea's base for almost one decade," Mourinho added.


"In this moment we are building another team with different people, with different qualities and with a different profile.


"If we score goals in a direct relation with what we produce, we would be in a fantastic situation, because we are not scoring enough goals.


"It's not just a problem of the strikers not scoring goals, it's also a problem of the other people don't transform half-chances to chances and goals."


Chelsea's defence has also come under scrutiny in recent weeks and Terry was pleased with just a second clean sheet in 12 league games.


"A lot of people have been speculating about us conceding too many," Terry added.


"I think we're third in the league in conceding (the fewest) goals and we've had a couple of games where we've conceded far too many than we're used to, but overall we've been very solid defensively."


Mourinho is still to be beaten at Stamford Bridge after 68 home league games as Chelsea manager and Terry hopes the Blues will show their class in the coming days to extend the record.


Terry said: "We've been great, ever since the manager was first here a long time ago. We've held on to that and it (Mourinho's record) means an awful lot to us.


"A couple of (home) games we've conceded early goals, which has probably given us a kick up the backside earlier than we would've wanted to.


"(But) we seem to be more flamboyant at home and at it, which is what you expect and what people want to see.


"We're very confident at home and we score a lot of goals at home."


Terry could be rested for the Swansea fixture with Liverpool in mind, but, fitness permitting, he will make his 600th Chelsea appearance in the coming days.


Michael Essien is available after missing the Arsenal draw through suspension, while his fellow midfielder Marco van Ginkel (knee) is a long-term absentee.


Michael Laudrup admits he will need to dip into the January transfer market after confirming Michu is set to undergo ankle surgery, but admits securing a deal to bring in Iago Aspas on loan will be difficult.


Michu, who has scored 28 goals for the Swans since joining from Rayo Vallecano in the summer of 2012, has been hindered by ankle and knee issues throughout the current campaign.


The Spain international's frustrations have been clear to see and manager Laudrup revealed the player will need to undergo a procedure on a long-standing problem with his right ankle which is expected to keep him out for six weeks.


"It's not good news," said the Dane. "Unfortunately it has been confirmed that he will need an operation.


"It can be done in the next week and he should be back playing in around a month and a half."


The loss of Michu further dents Swansea's attacking resources with winger Nathan Dyer likely to be sidelined until February after suffering an ankle ligament injury in the recent draw at Norwich.


Laudrup admits the combination of the two injuries means he will look to bring in a forward during the January transfer window, probably on loan.


Among the players Laudrup has been linked with a move for is Liverpool striker Aspas, who he actively pursued last summer.


But Laudrup believes it may prove a difficult deal to pull off.


"He is an interesting player, he was on our list in the summer," he said.


"But he is at Liverpool and they have injuries too.


"Daniel Sturridge is out at the moment, so apart from Luis Suarez they don't have many forwards right now so I don't think that will happen right now.


"But we have 31 days to do things and there will be a big race as a lot of clubs need players, maybe in the same positions we are looking.


"So we will try to do our best and try not to talk about certain players because sometimes when we do that they end up going elsewhere."


Swansea enjoyed a memorable 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge back in January in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.


Many would see a repeat as unlikely, but Laudrup believes a positive attitude is key.


"When you go to Stamford Bridge it is always tough," he said. "They won the Champions League and last year won the Europa League so they are a great team.


"I watched the game against Arsenal and looked at their bench and saw David Luiz, Samuel Eto'o and Juan Mata there.


"A lot of these players could play against us, they could just put in the seven from the bench and they are all great players.


"We have to have the confidence we can get something, we have done it before, but you need a lot of things to go right for you to get something at Stamford Bridge."



PA

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