SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 17: Leroy Lita of Swansea City scores during the Premier League match between Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion at Liberty Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Chelsea can forget about the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United with Saturday's game at home against newly promoted Swansea City (3:00 PM GMT; 10:00 AM EST). I was going to try to watch some archived footage of Swansea before writing this, since I've actually seen them play all of once this year and a handful of times in the Championship, and it's difficult to have an informed opinion about a team you've barely watched. And then I looked at the BBC's preview and decided that hey it didn't really matter.
Anyway, Swansea are being marketed as this season's answer to Blackpool, which is slightly odd considering they failed to score a goal until week five, and their first was via the penalty spot. A loss at Manchester City on opening day was hardly a poor result, but back to back scoreless home draws with Wigan Athletic and Sunderland aren't great and they failed to take advantage of Arsenal's nuclear meltdown at the Emirates after that. That said, they won 3-0 at home to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, which is better than the Blues did.
Brendan Rodgers favours a three man midfield, which is no surprise considering he worked under Jose Mourinho at the same time Andre Villas-Boas did. Like Villas-Boas, his teams are less negative than The Special One's, which means we could be in for a very open match at Stamford Bridge - look for a 4-2-3-1 similar to the side that faced off against Arsenal. One player who's stood out for the Swans this season, for better or worse, is Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who's made some outstanding saves and the occasional massive goof (see: Arsenal).
Elsewhere, most of you will be familiar with former Chelsea youth player Scott Sinclair. The winger played for the club between 2005 and 2010, even making a few first team appearances, but ultimately failed to make his mark and ended up moving to Wales, where he helped Swansea achieved promotion last year. As for the rest, there are a couple names you'd know if you're an avid student of the Championship, but they're mostly a solid group of players with some attacking flair.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are Chelsea. Buoyed by the 3-1 loss at Old Trafford, the Blues should come into the match with the belief that they can put on a show at Stamford Bridge, with Fernando Torres showing glimpses of being a real striker rather than some sort of horrendous fraud. With the Carling Cup match against Fulham in midweek taking its toll on some potential starters, the lineup should be relatively easy to set: Branislav Ivanovic, John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Raul Meireles and Nicolas Anelka are fully rested, while most of the rest are not.
That means that we'll probably see the former partnering John Terry in central defence again, and it would come as no surprise to see a midfield three of Mikel, Ramires and Meireles, with Lampard dropped. I'm not sure that'd be the right move, considering how well Lampard played on Wednesday, but it certainly wouldn't come as a surprise. Daniel Sturridge misses the match with a knee injury, which saves Villas-Boas the problem of having to drop him after two strait poor performances.
The Blues should have a very strong bench, with Didier Drogba ready to play, David Luiz hanging around, and whichever one of Mikel, Meireles, Ramires and Lampard gets left out. Hopefully they can get ahead early and introduce Drogba to the match - it'll be nice seeing him back.
Anyway, this should be a comfortable win. My prediction streak was snapped with the 3-1 loss last Sunday (I had 1-1, booo), so I might as well try starting a new one: 2-0 Chelsea.