Taking a break from normal programming, it's once again time for football. You know football, right? It's that simple game of running, passing, tackling, and occasional scoring. Lately however, that beauty has been replaced by a pantomime of racial issues with a healthy dose of competitive handshaking, fist-shaking, and mouth-breathing. Oh, and not to mention, comedy defending.
Don't look now, but since World's Worst Human Being (TM) John Terry's suspension, Chelsea have shipped nine goals in three matches (and two more for good measure in the Champions League, although that was shambolic from all involved). A matchup against the ballhogs of Swansea might be just what the doctor ordered then - Laudrup's men have scored just four goals in their last six league matches. Yes, I'm putting as much stock into the three they pumped in at Anfield in the League Cup as I'm putting into the 5-4 result at Stamford Bridge the same day - and before you get all smarty-pants, five goals leaked in two league matches by a non-Terry-fied Chelsea defense is still fairly atrocious.
Actually, what I'm trying to tell you is that something will happen. Something, I tells ya! Probably goals but it could be anything, really. Beware!
Swansea City: The hosts certainly have a style very much of their own - in case you missed it, check out Tim's tactical preview to get all edumacated on it - but having lost three on the bounce at home in the league (and four of the last six overall), they will be looking for a quick start followed by lock-down possession. Premier League rookie Michu will be the man they'll most likely rely on for the scoring spark - the ex-Rayo Vallecano forward leads the team with six goals, i.e. almost half of Swansea's total so far in the league.
The same fixture last season was decided in the 90+3rd minute by an own goal. Sadly, none of that goal's protagonists will be involved this time: Jose Bosingwa has been abducted by evil Mark Hughes, while both Michel Vorm and Neil Taylor are out with longer-term injuries. 19-year-old Ben Davies takes Taylor's place at left back and something called a Gerhard Tremmel will be in goal. I once saw a movie about somebody named Tramell - she had a hard time keeping her legs closed, so hopefully that's something that runs in the name.
Chelsea: David Luiz and Juan Mata are doubtful; Frank Lampard is still old and crocked; John Terry is still illegal; Ashley Cole is back.
Clattenburg red card drive-by victim Fernando Torres is back and hopefully motivated to outperform whatever that strange showing from Daniel Sturridge was midweek. Branislav Ivanovic shall also emerge from the red mist but it's entirely unclear where he'll play. If it were up to me, I'd save Sideshow for the Champions League and roll with Ivan the Terrible in the middle - and hope that any terror he inflicts will be on the Swansea attackers and not on our collective well-being.
And since this piece seems to have descended into amateur-league prognostications, let me add that I would also exercise caution with Juan Mata who seems to be suffering from a minor case of the Marko Marins. Mini-AVB needs to take a mini-timeout. Let Victor Moses part the white sea just like he parted the red sea on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, this will not be an easy match. It's got annoying and disappointing written all over it. For the clocks fall back Saturday night and winter is coming. Drink up!
Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 3; 15:00 GMT (11:00 AM EDT; 8:30 PM IST)
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
TV: none (UK), Fox Soccer (USA), ESPN (India)
Preferred Chelsea lineup (Four-Two-Three-One): Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta; John Obi Mikel, Ramires; Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses; Fernando Torres
Least likely outcome: At the starting whistle, the teams reshuffle to play Spanish-Portuguese vs. Other Languages.