The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern are far from confident about their chances of finishing inside the top-four this season, but a victory over Swansea City today could change all that.
Antonio Conte’s Champions League chasing side go into the weekend 5 points adrift of 4th place Tottenham Hotspur with their hopes of qualifying for Europe’s elite knockout competition hanging firmly in the balance. A victory over Swansea City this evening would narrow the gap on their London-rival to just 2 points, albeit having played a game more.
However, the importance of momentum in football simply cannot be expressed highly enough, and with Spurs low on confidence after crashing out of the FA Cup against Manchester United last weekend, the Blues should fancy their chances of usurping them during the final weeks of the season. All Chelsea can do at this stage is win their remaining matches and hope for favours from elsewhere, starting today against Swansea.
The Swans have been vastly improved under Carlos Carvahal in 2018, but their Premier League future remains far from certain with just 4 points separating themselves and 18th place Southampton at the start of the weekend. Clearly, they also have plenty to play for, so Conte will need every one of his players to be on top form in South Wales if they wish to claim three vital points towards their bid to clinch a place in the top-four.
Chelsea have so often relied on Eden Hazard for creative inspiration and decisive end product in the final-third, but the recent form and history of Olivier Giroud (valued at £18 million by Transfermarkt) suggests he could make the difference today. The French international almost single-handedly kept Chelsea’s bid for the top-four alive against Southampton a fortnight ago as he bagged a brace from the bench to clinch a 3-2 victory at St Mary’s.
And his record against Swansea certainly suggests he could be the hero for the Blues once again this evening as he has scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists form his 9 starts against the club. Chelsea simply have to win today to narrow the gap on Spurs ahead of their clash with Watford on Monday evening, and Giroud will be key to their success if Conte decides to include him from the outset for the second successive fixture.
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