Chelsea welcome Swansea City to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final.
It may not be the Blues first priority this season, but the Capital One Cup still represents Rafa Benitez’s best chance of picking up some silverware this term after narrowly missing out on the World Club Cup title in Japan last month.
The European champions will face an impressive Swansea outfit who will be looking to go one better than rivals Cardiff, who lost in the 2012 final, by bringing the trophy back to Wales for the first time.
Michael Laudrup’s men have beaten Barnsley, Crawley, Liverpool and Middlesbrough on their way to the semi-final’s and will be hoping for a positive result to take back to the Liberty Stadium for the second leg.
Chelsea boss Benitez has no new injury problems ahead of the game. The Spaniard will continue to be without goalkeeper Petr Cech who is still recovering from a groin problem.
Captain John Terry is making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury and could take part in the Blues under-21 clash with Stoke on Thursday, but will once again be missing from first team duties against the Swans.
Nigerian duo John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are unavailable after heading off on international duty to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations. Ryan Bertrand is likely to replace Ashley Cole at left back as he has done in the majority of cup games this season while new signing Demba Ba is also expected to retain his place after an impressive debut against Southampton.
Gerhard Tremmel is pushing first choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm for a starting place after playing in all the previous four rounds of the competition, but Laudrup may decide to stick with his No.1 for such a big game.
Right-back Angel Rangel is expected to be fit despite a calf problem and key trio Pablo Hernandez, Ashley Williams and Michu are all expected to return to the starting line-up after being rested against Arsenal at the weekend.
Chelsea have an excellent domestic cup record and will be appearing in their 11th League Cup semi final tonight – progressing to the final on the last three occasions. Swansea on the other hand are making their debut in the semi’s of this cup, so it shows what the Swans are up against. Despite the Welsh clubs impressive run, we can see Chelsea holding an advantage going into the second leg. Chelsea 2-0 Swansea
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