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Swansea City's Ben Davies aims to stay in the semi-final ahead of Capital One Cup first leg at Chelsea

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 08, 2013

Ben Davies has been as consistent as anyone in a Swansea shirt this season despite his tender years

Ben Davies has been as consistent as anyone in a Swansea shirt this season despite his tender years

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IT was half-time at Airbus, and a Swansea City side featuring Ben Davies were staring at defeat by Total Network Solutions.

A little over eight months on from the Welsh Youth Cup final, Davies will be in knockout action once more tomorrow night.

This time, however, the venue will be Stamford Bridge rather than an airfield in North Wales.

This time the prize on offer will be a place in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.

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Tony Pennock's Swansea youth side turned things round at Airbus last April, with two second-half goals ensuring the trophy ended up in Landore for the third straight season.

Michael Laudrup's seniors head for Chelsea knowing they may also have to turn things around in what is a two-legged tie.

Ideally, of course, Swansea will land a positive result in London and therefore kick off the second leg in a couple of weeks' time on level terms at the very least.

But even if Laudrup's men were to lose narrowly in part one of the semi-final, they would not be too disappointed.

"If we can keep it tight up there and make sure we are still in the tie when we come back to the Liberty, we will have a great chance," Davies argues.

"To get to Wembley would be phenomenal, but that's a long way off at the moment.

"We have to focus on the first leg and that's all we can worry about."

Swansea have never been to a major final, and only twice before in a century of a history have they made it to the last four of one of the big cups.

The fact that Davies is set to feature on such a big night for his club the latest step forward for the teenager in a season of remarkable progress.

Davies was just another youth player at Airbus last spring, when team-mates like Gwion Edwards and Kurtis March were better-known names within the Swansea line-up.

Yet now he is a Premier League regular, having got his chance in a crisis and, through his remarkable performances, allowed everyone to calm down.

Neil Taylor's season-wrecking ankle injury prompted Laudrup to dip into the free agent market to sign Dwight Tiendalli.

Yet while the Dutch defender has done well whenever called upon, Davies has nailed down Swansea's left-back slot with a string of impressive displays.

Young players are supposed to struggle for consistency, but the Neath product has been as dependable as any of Laudrup's players in the first half of the season.

Now comes another opportunity to shine, another chance to do something special in a campaign already brimming with landmarks.

The odds are against Swansea succeeding given the quality Chelsea possess, but then they have made a habit of upsetting the experts in recent years.

And Davies says: "I don't see why we can't shock Chelsea.

"We've shown that we can compete against the big Premier League teams this year.

"Hopefully we will be able to go there and do the job that Queens Park Rangers have just done and that we did at the Liberty earlier in the season."

Swansea drew 1-1 at home against the Blues back in November, just as they did thanks to a Scott Sinclair goal last season.

They were thumped 4-1 at the Bridge last term, but that was in Swansea's early days as a Premier League club.

Brendan Rodgers's team were still finding their feet in the top flight at that stage, and there was a lack of belief within the camp that they could go and get a result against a Chelsea side who were then managed by Andre Villas-Boas.

These days Ashley Williams and Co know they can go toe to toe with the big sides, for they have done it on a consistent basis over the last year or so.

"Chelsea have put a lot of money into that squad and when you look at the players they have brought in it's a top, top squad," Davies concedes.

"But we don't go into any game fearing the opposition.

"We won't look at the team sheet and worry about who we are playing.

"We concentrate on playing our best in every game and hopefully that will be enough to get us a result tomorrow."

He was on thin ice from the outset with Chelsea's followers thanks to certain comments made during his time at Liverpool, and Rafael Benitez took flak last week after rotating his squad and losing at home to QPR. Shaun Wright-Phillips's goal earned Rangers an extraordinary result, for they have hardly beaten anyone in recent times while Chelsea have been swatting teams aside.

Since then, of course, Chelsea have thrown a few more million quid at their squad, recruiting Demba Ba from Newcastle.

The bad news for Swansea is that the Senegalese striker — who scored against them for the Toon in November — is eligible for the League Cup and is bound to play some part over the two legs.

Then again, it was not as if Swansea were not going to come up against top-class forward players anyway given the options at Benitez's disposal.

Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard are all capable of turning games on their own.

And though Frank Lampard looks to be in the midst of a long goodbye at Chelsea, he has proved in the last couple of weeks that there are plenty of goals in his 34-year-old legs.

On paper, Swansea should not really stand a chance against a squad built on Roman Abramovich's rubles.

But as Laudrup pointed out this week, football is not all about money.

Davies agrees.

"We've shown this season that we can pick up results away from home at grounds that are very tough to go to, like St James' Park and the Emirates," he says.

"Now we want to do the same against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge."

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  • swanseaola  |  January 08 2013, 9:27AM

    C'mon you SWANSssssssssssssssss!

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