Cahill set for debut while Terry rests
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Tuesday 31 January 2012
Gary Cahill is set to make his Chelsea debut tonight against Swansea after Andre Villas-Boas decided to rest John Terry with a view to this weekend's visit of Manchester United.
Frank Lampard was also left in Surrey last night when Chelsea travelled to Wales, to ensure he has recovered from his calf injury by Sunday. Ramires is out of both games after suffering medial ligament damage at Loftus Road on Saturday. With John Obi Mikel injured as well, Michael Essien could make his first start of the season tonight.
Cahill joined Chelsea more than two weeks ago but has had to wait for a start as Chelsea have kept four successive clean sheets. He is expected to partner David Luiz at the Liberty Stadium.
Villas-Boas said that Terry had "a bone oedema [on his knee] that he has been carrying since he collided with a post against Portsmouth [on 7 January], and this stops him a little bit. It's nothing serious but something to keep an eye on. He has had an MRI before and he should be OK for Man United."
Although he will not be playing in Swansea, Terry is still unlikely to attend court tomorrow for the pre-trial hearing into the charge that he used racist language towards Anton Ferdinand. His counsel is expected to enter a not-guilty plea.
Tonight marks the anniversary of Fernando Torres's £50m transfer from Liverpool and he will desperately hope to mark it with a goal at Swansea. Despite recent signs that the old, dangerous, effervescent Torres is returning he has not scored in the Premier League since Chelsea last played the Welsh club, in September.
That was his third goal for Chelsea, and more promisingly his second in as many games having scored at Manchester United six days prior. However, Torres was then dismissed for a lunging tackle, missed three games through suspension and, aside from a brace in October's Champions League thrashing of Genk, has not scored since.
His tally is now five goals in 43 matches for Chelsea. The Liberty Stadium, where Swansea have conceded six goals in 11 home fixtures, does not seem the obvious place for Torres to end his latest drought but Villas-Boas is optimistic.
The Chelsea coach said: "I think we are seeing a player growing in terms of form. Eventually we expect goals from it, and we hope those goals will come back. For the kind of effort he is doing, eventually it will be repaid."
Villas-Boas admitted four months was a long time to wait for another league goal but said: "At the moment that is the reality, but he has been helping the team. Fernando has one of the most assist totals for other players in the club so he is producing for the team."
With the Ivory Coast of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou through to Saturday's African Cup of Nations quarter-finals, Torres will get at least the next two matches leading the attack. Chelsea have scored only twice in the last three matches, including Juan Mata's lucky penalty against QPR on Saturday.
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, formerly a Chelsea coach, may recall Alan Tate who has not played since breaking a leg in an accident involving a golf buggy in August. He cannot play Josh McEachran as the loanee is not allowed to play against his parent club.
SWANSEA CITY V CHELSEA
Swansea: VORM; RANGEL; CAULKER; WILLIAMS; TAYLOR; BRITTON; ALLEN; SIGURDSSON; DYER; GRAHAM; SINCLAIR
Chelsea: CECH; COLE; CAHILL; LUIZ; IVANOVIC; ESSIEN; ROMEU; MEIRELES; MATA; TORRES; STURRIDGE
Kick-off 7.45pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.45pm)
Ref K Friend (Leics) Odds: Swa 7-2; Draw 11-4; Che 4-5.
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