Swansea City open their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign with a trip to Stamford Bridge to face last season’s Champions Chelsea on August 8.
The Swans start their new season with arguably the hardest test of them all. Jose Mourinho’s side won the Premier League title with apparent ease last term, and they are sure to be red-hot favourites to retain their crown next year.
Last season, the Blues done the double over Garry Monk’s side. Chelsea ran out 4-2 winners when the sides met at Stamford Bridge early in the campaign – a hat-trick from Diego Costa and a goal from Loic Remy (who has recently emerged as a Swans target), cancelled out an early John Terry own goal and a late Jonjo Shelvey strike to give the home side a 4-2 victory.
The Swans may have put on a decent show at Stamford Bride, but it was anything but that when the sides went toe-to-toe at the Liberty Stadium in January. Swansea were outplayed, outfought and simply outclassed by Mourninho’s superstars. The game was well and truly over by half time, as Chelsea went into the break with an astonishing 4-0 lead. The Blues added a fifth in the second half, and that’s how it finished. The goals were scored by Oscar (2), Costa (2) with Andre Schurrle netted the fifth – the result did however turn out to be the lowest point of a remarkable season for the Swans.
Despite undoubtedly struggling against Chelsea last term, Swansea are more than capable of going to any of the big guns and getting a result. Monk’s side proved that last year with an opening day victory against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. The Swans were not fancied at all prior to their trip to Old Trafford, but an excellent display capped with goals by Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson, earned Swansea a famous 2-1 win, and set the tone for a record-breaking season.
The Swans ended up doing the double over United and Arsenal during the course of the season. Monk’s side beat both 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium, and then a late Bafetimbi Gomis goal saw off the Gunners 1-0 at the Emirates in mid-May.
Swansea have had a mixed bag of opening day results since they have been a Premier League club. Their first ever Premier League fixture was a 4-0 loss to eventual Champions Manchester City in August 2011. Then the following year, Michu inspired the Swans to an incredible 5-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. The last two seasons, Swansea have been paired up with the Red Devils – losing 4-1 at the Liberty in 2013, and winning 2-1 at Old Trafford last year.
There’s a different kind of pressure on Garry Monk and his warriors as they go into next season. Each year they have been in the top flight, they have been tipped for a relegation scrap. But after such an incredible campaign last year, they have to be taken more seriously from now on. Swansea will go to Stamford Bridge with noting to fear. Monk will have his side fit and raring to go, and maybe, just maybe the Swans can upset the Chelsea applecart.