Rafa's Swansong? Swansea v Chelsea Betting Preview
Swansea (3/1) take a two goal lead into the second leg of this Capital One Cup semi-final knowing that a similar performance will send them to their first major Wembley final. Whereas Chelsea (10/11, 5/2 Draw) go into the game knowing that the League Cup is their best chance of silverware in a faltering season.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup enjoyed the 3-1 win against Stoke at the weekend believing it the perfect preparation for the cup tie against the Blues and will be confident of another result at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday night.
"I'm pleased with the result [because] we all know we have that semi-final second leg against Chelsea on Wednesday," he said. "Winning is always the perfect preparation, winning and no injuries. I think it was a very good performance, we dominated from the first minute." He's not getting complacent however, and knows that his team face a difficult task in overcoming the European champions. "I don't think we are (favourites)," he said.
"We are fully aware of what Chelsea can do, and we knew when the draw was made that it was going to be more than difficult. "Of course, we have a better chance now than we did before the first game, and all I wanted was to have a realistic chance of reaching the final going into the second leg - and that is certainly the case".
The Swans' have been difficult to beat of late but they haven't been winning too many either. Since their 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates at the biggining of December they have lost 3, won 4 and drawn 5. A bet on the draw maybe the way to go with Swansea knowing that would be enough to see them through.
The Swans' top scorer Michu has bagged 16 goals so far this season, including one in the first leg and has been instrumental in their cup run. The Spaniard has proved one of the signings of the season and we go 7/1 to score the first or last goal and 2/1 to score at anytime. Even better, we have enhanced his price to score in a Swansea win to 6/1. Enhanced from 9/2. On loan Manchester United man Hernandez has scored a couple since arriving at the the Liberty Stadium and we go 10/1 first/last, 7/2 anytime. Danny Graham (8/1 first/last, 11/4 anytime) has attracted a bit of interest from a few parties during this transfer window and will be eager to impress his suitors although his team mates have been trying to persuade him to stay.
Should Swansea reach the final it will be the first time in their history. Before this season, the Swans had never progressed past the fourth round.
Chelsea have a great history in this competition, reaching the final on six occasions, winning four times, two of which triumphs have come since 2007.
New Chelsea signing Demba Ba has been scoring for fun since his arrival at Stanford Bridge and would love to help put his new team through to another final. The Ex Newcastle man has 3 goals from 3 appearances since joining the blues at the start of the month and is the favourite to get on the score sheet again. We have him at 4/1 first/last, even money anytime. We also have our headline offer on Ba to score at anytime and Chelsea to win at 2/1. Enhanced from 8/5.
Fernando Torres is next in the betting. He is 11/2 first/last and 6/4 anytime. The much maligned striker has scored 14 goals this term in all competitions from 33 appearances. Juan Mata has the same amount from midfield and is likely to start the game. Should he score we go 13/2 first/last, 15/8 anytime. He has scored two goals and assisted four more in just five League Cup appearances for Chelsea this season.
We are offering the same price on Lampard which could be a steal should Chelsea win an early penalty.
Chelsea's interim manager Rafa Banitez is backing his team to overcome the deficit at the Liberty Stadium but predicts a cagey game. "We have to score and win. For them, it depends: 2-0 up, they could wait and play counter-attack. They could try to pass the ball and attack, but I think they will wait for us". Banitez has recently made it clear that he believes that his side are already out of the title race so will be more determined to get a result if they are to salvage anything from this season.
They don't have a bad away record of late though. The Blues have scored three or more goals in five of their last eight away games in all competitions. For them to do that against Swansea we will give you 9/2 for exactly 3, 13/2 for 4 or more.
For Chelsea to qualify they need to win the match by two clear goals. If Swansea score an away goal Chelsea will need to score 4. We go 11/2 for Chelsea to win the game with a 2 goal handicap and 9/2 for the game to be a draw with Chelsea minus 2 goals.
The last time Chelsea trailed by two goals going into the second leg of a League Cup semi-final was against Sheffield Wednesday in 1991 (lost 2-0) and they were eliminated 5-1 on aggregate. For Swansea to put on such a stellar performace as Wedneday did over 20 years back and dump Chelsea out with a second leg 3-1 win, we go 28/1.
Michu to score & Swansea to win in 90 minutes - 6/1
Ba to score & Chelsea to win in 90 minutes - 2/1
Lampard to score first - 13/2
Double result: Chelsea/Draw - 14/1