By Andrew Robinson
Chelsea v Swansea, Capital One Cup semi-final first leg
7.45pm, Sky Sports 1
Chelsea and Swansea meet in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final tonight, and the Blues will be hoping to set their stall out with a home win.
Rafa Benitez has hardly been popular at Stamford Bridge, but the signing of on-fire striker Demba Ba and an all-familiar trip to Wembley for Chelsea’s fans – they’ve been there nine times since it opened in 2007 – could put him in the good books and might mean Mr Abramovich chooses him over Pep Guardiola.
With this season’s tournament full of surprises, such as Bradford’s run to the semis, it’s not beyond Swansea to pull off a win at Stamford Bridge.
The Swans are a juicy 13/2 to do so tonight. They have history in the capital this season, winning at Fulham and putting Arsenal to the sword with a late double from now star man, Michu.
Michael Laudrup’s side could be without the Spaniard tonight. The hustle and bustle seems to be taking it out of the £2.5 million man and he’s suffering with a number of niggles, but this didn’t stop him coming off the bench to score against Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend.
And his boss is keen for him to play: “He is our top scorer and it is important for the team-mates to have him there and it’s important with the opposition because they always know they are in danger when he is there. If he is fit then he will play.”
The introduction of Ba at Chelsea has instantly made them into a potent attacking force, as Southampton found out last week. The Senegal international is 7/2 to open the scoring tonight.
With Ba coming in for the bargain price of £7.5 million, Fernando Torres, who cost four times as much, needs to start showing his value. You can have a punt on the Spaniard at 4/1 to notch first tonight.
The Blues have been firing in cup competitions this year and have not scored less than five in any of their four domestic cup games, netting five against Leeds, Manchester United and Southampton, and hitting Wolves for six.
They’re 33/1 to pick up a 5-0 win tonight, which would almost guarantee them a place at Wembley, with Bradford looking like the most likely opponents, after a 3-1 win over Aston Villa last night.