Five key battles ahead of Swansea City v Chelsea semi-final decider

Ashley Cole 3

Where on the pitch could this all Premier League tie be won and lost?

What a night last night was as Bradford City dumbfounded the football world again to qualify for the Capital One Cup final. Now the League Two side will be awaiting more Premier League opposition in the final as Swansea take on Chelsea with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.

So where will the game be won and lost at The Liberty Stadium?

Michu v Gary Cahill

In recent weeks despite the poor form of other more obvious members of the Chelsea team personally I have been most disappointed with Gary Cahill. He will have an imperious game winning everything in the air and looking composed under pressure and his concentration will lapse for one second and usually that second proves crucial. He will not be afforded such a luxury with Michu around as the Spaniard is a predator for those moments of indiscretion.

Ben Davies v Cesar Azpilicueta/Branislav Ivanovic

Azpilicueta or Ivanovic are going to be asked to join the attack as much as possible as Chelsea look to reverse a two-goal deficit at The Liberty and they will be faced by a left-back in top form. Not only will that offensive battle be interesting but vice-versa whoever plays at right back for Chelsea is going to have a real handful dealing with the marauding runs of the Swansea left-back.

Jonathan De Guzman v Juan Mata

The Canadian-Dutch midfielder has been in fine form in recent weeks but he may be tasked with a slightly more defensive style of play tonight to help contain arguably the league’s best player this season. Kemy Agustien usually plays when a job like this is needed but he has an injury so De Guzman may be the only midfielder mobile enough to do this particular job.

Wayne Routledge v Ashley Cole

Routledge has come on leaps and bounds since his journeyman start to a promising career and this season is proving to be his best ever. While the option to play him central is a possibility for Laudrup he is far more likely to play out wide and a battle with Ashley Cole could prove an interesting one. Whoever plays out wide right whether it is Routledge, Hernandez or Dyer they will have to ensure they track Cole back when he joins Chelsea attacks.

Ashley Williams v Demba Ba

Rafa Benitez would be mad to start Torres after yet another inept performance from the Spaniard against Arsenal with Ba chomping at the bit to get involved. The Senegalese forward looks a far more potent threat then his striking companion and the Welsh captain will be tasked with keeping him quiet. As well as the more obvious battle Ba will also be expected to close down Williams whenever possible as Swansea will try to play the ball out from defence.

Where do you think the game will be won and lost?

images: © joncandy, © Live4Soccer(L4S)

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