Not counting international breaks, Chelsea got to rest for a full week between matches for the first time since the third weekend of the season. Many players even took mini-vacations this time around! Who needs a winter break, right?
We followed up the August mini-break after matchweek 2's 2-0 home win over Leicester City by waltzing into Goodison, a historically uncomfortable place for us to play, and hanging six on Everton. Following up last weekend's 2-0 home win over Newcastle United, we could do with a similar effort today at the Liberty Stadium, a place where we've only won once since the Swans' return to the Premier League (though have not lost either).
With Chelsea kicking off 24 hours before the weekend's marquee Manchester City vs. Arsenal clash, the Blues have a chance to open up a five point lead and put even more pressure on Pellegrini's men. Not that we should expect Arsenal to do us any favors, but the next league match for both title contenders will the big showdown at Stamford Bridge at the end of the month, and maintaining at least a two-point lead ahead of that match would be tremendous.
Date / Time: Saturday, January 17, 2015, 15:00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Referee: Jonathan Moss -- in further parallel with the 6-3 win away to Everton, we get the same referee as we had that day! He's since also refereed our 3-1 League Cup win against Derby County. Mr. Moss appears to be terrible at this whole "campaign" against Chelsea thing. May it long continue.
Forecast: Cold with a spot or two of wintry showers. Fun fun fun!
On TV: none (UK); Premier League Extra Time (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD 2 (India); elsewhere
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Star Sports (India)
Swansea City team news: The big news here is the £25m (plus £3m in potential add-ons) influx of cash and the equal and opposite £25m (plus £3m in potential add-ons) departure of talent that was Wilfried Bony. So, bye-bye man who had scored or assisted the last 11 goals that Swansea managed in the league, and hello Bafetimbi "I was decent in Ligue 1" Gomis. That's not to say that Gomis can't be dangerous -- he's clearly quite the force on his day to try to handle and contain -- but the 29-year-old impressive ponytail has just one Premier League goal.
Swansea will also have to make do without the dark lord Jonjo Shelvey who's serving the final game of his four-match ban, and Ki Sung-yeung, who's away at the Asia Cup. Ki was on loan at Sunderland last season and scored the goal that eliminated us from the League Cup. Good luck at the Asia Cup, Ki! Garry Monk does expect to be able to count on both the impactful Gylfi Sigurdsson and the not nearly as impactful Jefferson Montero following minor injuries.
The Swans are without a win in their last three Premier League games and currently sit 9th with an almost even win-draw-loss record and goal differential. Six of their eight wins have come at home.
Chelsea team news: Cesar Azpilicueta is out with a hamstring injury while Thibaut Courtois will only be fit for the bench thanks to his thumb injury. After a most terrible New Year's Day, Chelsea have scored five and conceded none in wins over Watford (FA Cup) and Newcastle.
We've got history: Since the ballLAD-gate, Chelsea have won four out of four, including the 4-2 earlier this year at Stamford Bridge and the 1-0 at the Liberty last season in which Demba Ba scored the only goal from a wonderful Nemanja Matic assist. This will be just the 29th meeting all time between the two sides. Last time Chelsea lost to Swansea in a league game was 1981 (Division 2).