Chelsea’s Spanish trio lead Blues to a dominant 3-1 victory over Swansea
Chelsea cruised into a comfortable 3-1 victory over Swansea City at Stamford Bridge, taking their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points. This was the first time this year, when Chelsea played in the classic 0300 pm Saturday kick-off, and it certainly was a success.
Chelsea went into the game with a very similar line-up as they did against Burnley two weeks ago, with Cesc Fabregas stepping in as the only change for the day. The game was Fabregas’ 300th Premier League appearance – first Spaniard to reach such milestone!
The Blues opened the game with good tempo as Pedro took a shot inches over the bar after Victor Moses earned Chelsea the first corner of the game inside the first minute of the game. Swansea were ever since struggling to have a look-in into the early stages of the match.
Inside the first ten minutes Chelsea had one good-looking counter attack and moved the ball very nicely on the Swansea half, but often the play got either cut out or sticky when Diego Costa got involved.
He did very well on the 14th minute though, as he and Hazard worked a nice one-two inside the Swans area, before the Belgian thrived a slick back pass for Fabregas on the edge of the box, where his shot was blocked for a corner.
His second try wasn’t though, as the Spaniard took Chelsea into a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play with a great finish from Pedro’s pass! Eden Hazard charged forward but found himself inside the visitors box with no room for a shot, so he passed one to his right for Pedro, where the ex-Barcelona winger saw Fabregas making a run in the centre, and the 29-year-old made no mistake to tap the ball in for a deserved Chelsea lead! It was his fifth goal of the season, third in the league – in just six starts!
Antonio Conte’s men didn’t settle for a one goal lead though, and kept going and going right after the ball got back into the play. Chelsea’s high pressure even almost resulted an own goal from Fabianski.
Fabregas went close for his second on the 26th minute when he volleyed a great shot from Moses’s cross on goal, but Fabianski did well to keep that one out.
N’Golo Kante turned up yet again today as well, as his tackles and interceptions in midfield deservedly resulted a ton of applause from the Blues fans. Fernando Llorente even got close to going past David Luiz straight through the middle, but the Frenchman tracked back the Spaniard with a superb defensive run.
Swansea started to grow frustration against the possession-dominant Chelsea side after 35 minutes of play, as full-backs Kyle Naughton and Martin Olsson both got their names into the book for fouls against Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, respectively.
With 40 minutes in the clock Chelsea had had six attempts on goal against Swansea’s one shot off target, and Paul Clement didn’t look too happy with his attacking ranks on the touchline.
Swansea’s defensive players also got a lot of stick from him soon after, as Pedro completed a superb solo run from wide on the left all the way into the area, where his shot was eventually blocked for a corner. The Spaniard was unstoppable on his determined effort to get Chelsea up by two, which seemed closer and closer to happening.
And just when you thought Chelsea were got the better of the first period, Fernando Llorente’s brilliant header equalized the game on the last kick of the half. N’Golo Kante fouled Tom Carroll deep in midfield, and the Swansea key midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up to take the free-kick. The additional time had already come to its end when the Iceland international sent the ball into the Chelsea box, where Victor Moses was caught ball-watching as his man Llorente was given all the space and time to head away a Swansea equalizer.
The scores were even as the players headed into the tunnels for a 15 minute half-time break, and the team talks of each managers had surely been a lot different without the last minute goal. Antonio Conte gave the players a good speech though, as Chelsea restarted their hunt for the second goal with full tempo.
After two minutes of play on the second half, Hazard played a magical one-two with Fabregas, but the Belgian’s shot towards the bottom left corner was well saved by Fabianski.
Fabregas really got the main attention today, as he once again connected well with Hazard, this time blasting a powerful strike straight to the woodwork from the very same area where he had taken his three previous efforts. Already at this point of the game, it was clear that Fabregas is at least four times more of an attacking option than Matic.
Chelsea didn’t ease up but as the rain started pouring down with pace, it came more and more harder for the Blues to find a right solution to Swansea’s puzzle-like defence. All things considered things started to look very much like in the game against Burnley two weeks ago – the weather, our attacking play, opposition’s defensive play.
If the hosts thought to have faced any unreasonable or controversial refereeing with the late first-half equalizer, Swansea surely felt the same after Sigurdsson went flying past stumbling Moses on the left trying to chip his way past Azpilicueta right after, but the ball was stopped by the defender’s arm. Referee Neil Swarbrick didn’t see the wrong in the occasion, and the game went on.
Chelsea didn’t mind and got even more exhilarated from the call, and Pedro soon found the net for Chelsea’s second goal of the game! Fabregas played a short pass for the fellow Spaniard in the middle, where the winger didn’t have to think twice before taking a great curled effort on goal which was unluckily slipped into the net by Fabianski due to the wet conditions. It was his third in the last three games and he couldn’t be in better form at the moment!
Pedro was soon later subbed off, and replaced by Nemanja Matic as Conte looked to set more defensive set-up to protect the regained lead.
Swansea fought hard for a response, but Eden Hazard and Diego Costa orchestrated a brilliant, beautiful, and an astonishing goal to take Chelsea 3-1 up at the Bridge. Eden Hazard did all the work on the left, coming in with slick moves before chipping a lovely cross for Diego Costa on the front-post, where the Spaniard made no mistake hammering in a lovely goal – his 16th of the campaign, and 8th goal in 5 appearances against the Swans!
With 83 minutes on the clock, Conte made his last two substitutions right after the goal, giving away seven minutes of play for Willian and Kurt Zouma, who replaced Pedro and Victor Moses.
Four added times into the 90 minutes of play weren’t enough of time for Swansea to get back into the game, and Chelsea easily saw out the rest of the match for an important 3-1 victory over the Welsh visitors. 11 points clear at the top of the table – come on Chelsea!
Manchester City, United and Arsenal can all surely feel the pressure Chelsea are putting on them with the win, as they’re not playing at all this weekend having their games postponed for a later occasion.