Chelsea descend on Swansea City looking to bounce back from one of their worst away defeats in recent memory. Can the Blues take all three points and put some distance between them and Man City in the table? Find out as we breakdown this matchup and serve up our soccer betting predictions.
Chelsea Sit Precariously Atop the Standings
Chelsea come into week 22 of Premier League betting in first place, but it's a precarious perch. Man City nip at their heels in second place and just two points adrift, and they have the better form since November, which only adds to the pressure on Chelsea. These are heady times for Jose Mourinho and his precious lads, indeed.
Chelsea are flush off a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge, bouncing back from their most recent road mishap at White Hart Lane nicely. It's been a recent spate of road woes though. The Blues have just one win in their last five laps around the league, a most concerning trend highlighted by a scoreless draw to Sunderland and a 1-1 draw to Southampton, and marred by a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United and capped off by an even more humiliating 5-3 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane .
This is their first road trip since the debacle at White Hart Lane and the Blues will be keen to set their road form back on track. Taking just 8 points from their last six away games has allowed their rivals to close the gap on Chelsea. They simple can't afford to leak anymore points; the premium too high.
Swansea City Bid A Bony Goodbye
Swansea City have sold their best player Wilfried Bony for a tidy sum. Well, that's putting the £25m ($38m) deal, mildly. Fortuitous (no pun intended) a move it may be in the long run – Swansea City manager Garry Monk hailed the sale the right move for both player and club – it does nothing to address the immediate future. Besides, it remains to be seen whether or not they'll be reaping the rewards by season end or ruing the deal instead, if it sends a season that began on a rather modest yo-yo on a ruinous plunge.
The Ivorian footballer became one of the most expensive African players in the history of the game after Man City came out of the pocket for an estimated £25m. His departure leaves the Swans rather light on the attacking front with no obvious replacement as yet. Certainly, not one before the Blues come calling at the weekend. As it is, the Swans don't have a great record against Chelsea. Earlier in September, the Swans lost 4-2 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a result that marked the end of five-game scoreless run against the Blues.
In a tight battle for a mid-table finish this season (an optimistic goal), Swansea City are sat in ninth place in the table behind an 8-6-7 record and 30 points. They are two points adrift of Liverpool (8th place) and three points adrift of West Ham United (7th place). As well, they are only three points clear of Newcastle United in tenth place. They are 2-2-2 in their last six home games for a gain of 8 points. During that run of form they lost to the Spurs and Reds.
Soccer Betting Verdict
Jose Mourinho will have circled this game on the calendar as a must-win. Easy three points that are Chelsea's for the taking, if past trends and their earlier meeting this season were any indication. It's what the Blues need to do to get back on track with road form. And that's exactly the sentiment one gets when looking at the soccer odds board. Chelsea are matched as the runaway -182 road faves while Swansea City are the rather large (absurdly so) home underdogs at +600 to win outright.
Diego Costa had a hat-trick in the first meeting of their series, erasing John Terry's own goal that gave the Swans the unlikely 1-0 lead going into halftime. The Spanish striker currently leads the Premier League with 15 goals and he'll be once again relied upon in this game to come up big for the Blues. Diego Costa to score anytime is matched at -120 while both to score first and/or last are trading at +275.
Swansea City have only lost two of their 11 home games so far this season (6-3-2) and conceded just 8 goals, so they could fancy their chances of gaining a result at the expense of Chelsea. If Newcastle United could get one over Chelsea why not us, so they might be thinking. So too might soccer bettors looking to tickle their rather attractive +600 soccer odds. Having already dropped a lot of points on the road though, Jose Mourinho is sure to prepare his lads for this contest. They know beating Swansea at home isn't going to be straightforward, nor will they take popular opinion or the soccer odds for granted. Expect the Blues to be focused as they get the job done at -182 soccer odds on your soccer picks.
Soccer Picks: Chelsea -182
Bonus Soccer Pick: Costa to score anytime at -120