Swansea City-Chelsea Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Boxing Day's feast of football will see Chelsea try to reinforce their title credentials against Swansea at Stamford Bridge.

While they may not be aesthetically pleasing at times, Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Monday moved the Blues (10-4-3) within just two points of the top of the table as the Premier League season heads towards its halfway stage. Chelsea were booed by the Arsenal fans on Monday, with chants of 'boring, boring Chelsea' being aimed at the Portuguese manager, but Jose Mourinho responded in typically abrasive fashion as he remained unbeaten in 10 lifetime matches (5-5-0) versus Gunners counterpart Arsene Wenger.

"I'd agree," he said. "I have played against them ten times and I never lost. Ten times, they don't win once. What do you want them to call me?

"We came to win, but it was very important not to lose, because if we lose we are five points behind the leaders. And, with a point, we are two points behind Liverpool and Arsenal. That's a completely different picture. We tried to win, but we are not unhappy with the point."

Swansea (5-5-7) have just five points from a possible 15 so far in December, and a 2-1 defeat to Everton on Sunday left manager Michael Laudrup lamenting his team's lack of fortune.

"We did not deserve to lose the game, definitely," the Dane said. "We wanted something out of the game. Maybe the thing that disappointed me most is I got the feeling in the last ten minutes when they made the two changes that they would settle for a draw. They took out two offensive players and put in two midfielders and we still wanted to try to get the winner and then they got it from a free kick.

"I think we deserved at least a point, but we did not get it and I have to accept it even if it's not easy."

Laudrup will be without out-of-form striker Michu for up to six weeks after he underwent surgery on an ankle injury, while goalkeeper Michel Vorm (knee), Nathan Dyer (ankle) and Garry Monk (knee) will also be missing. Chelsea have fitness doubts over fullback Ryan Bertrand.

Chelsea have won both league meetings at Stamford Bridge between these sides since Swansea's promotion, but were held to a draw at the Liberty Stadium last season and beaten 2-0 by the Swans in their two-legged League Cup semifinal.

The Blues have dropped just two points at home this season - a 2-2 draw with West Brom in November.

Swansea are without a win in three and have won just twice in their last nine in the league.

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