Bradford facing final hurdle

Bradford facing final hurdle

Published Jan. 22, 2013 4:19 p.m. ET

Some 24 hours after that argument is resolved, a different sort of pressure will begin to boil up at the Liberty Stadium, as Swansea go about protecting their own two-goal lead against Chelsea.

It's a complicated assignment for Michael Laudrup. It is not always easy to psychologically prepare for a game in which you have a comfortable advantage. If Swansea play safe, focusing on defending and not giving anything away, Chelsea are handed an invitation to attack. On the other hand, Swansea can't be too reckless, too cavalier, for fear of leaving themselves exposed to danger.

Chelsea have to go for the jugular, and with their creative trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard tucked in behind either Fernando Torres or new signing Demba Ba, there is more than enough attacking potential to score the required goals to drag the Blues back into it.

Chelsea arrive buoyed by a weekend victory over Arsenal, which went some way to mending some of the damage done by recent shocks at Stamford Bridge - as epitomized by Swansea's 2-0 win in the first leg. The star of the show, as usual, was their scoring sensation Michu, whose habit of popping up with vital goals is a hallmark of their season. But notably, it was the way Swansea played with calmness, with control, passing the ball comfortably and enjoying a foothold in the game, which was equally impressive.

The sense of anticipation in south Wales is heady. "All of Swansea is waiting for this game," said Laudrup. They had a perfect warm-up on the weekend, with a composed win over Stoke. "Winning is always the perfect preparation, winning and no injuries," added Laudrup.

The sense of anticipation is building. Swansea need to keep their cool, to ensure they confirm their own chance to book some hotel rooms in London come cup final day.