Chelsea face do or die match at Swansea

ROB HARRIS
Last updated 10:38 23/01/2013
Gary Cahill
Getty Images
GARY CAHILL: "It's certainly one of the biggest games of the season for us."

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After starting the season chasing seven titles, Chelsea is facing elimination from yet another competition.

The European champions must overturn a 2-0 deficit against Swansea to reach the League Cup final, or facing missing out on a fourth trophy since August.

Chelsea's two previous trips to Swansea's Liberty Stadium have ended in 1-1 draws, and a repeat result would send the south Wales club through to its first major final.

"It will be tough because it's a hard place to go," Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said. "They're so well organised and play really good football. The key for us will be getting the first goal. If we can do that I'm sure it will be a nervy night for them and that's what we aim to get.

"They're an attacking team, but we have to go at them and try to hurt them. It's certainly one of the biggest games of the season for us."

And it's been quite a tumultuous season - even by Chelsea's standards.

Winning the Champions League for the first time in May was meant to be the springboard for an era of dominance by the Roman Abramovich-owned club.

It hasn't gone to plan as the Russian billionaire has seen three trophies elude his west London club this season, while manager Roberto Di Matteo was fired in November and Rafa Benitez hired until the end of the season.

August saw Chelsea denied both the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup, while a trip to Japan last month ended in defeat in the Club World Cup final.

The European title defence also ended in December, with Chelsea exiting the Champions League at the group stage and relegated to the Europa League, where Sparta Prague awaits in the last 32 next month.

The FA Cup defence is still on, with Chelsea at third-tier London club Brentford on Sunday in the fourth round.

But the chances of Premier League glory are slim with Manchester United 11 points ahead of third-place Chelsea.

"Sometimes we've dropped points in games we would expect to win," Cahill said. "We just have to keep looking upwards, we need to make sure we're in the Champions League places for next season and obviously we're still in three cups."

In the other semi-final match, fourth-tier club Bradford is at Aston Villa on Tuesday holding a 3-1 lead over the Premier League club.

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- AP

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