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Swans keep Blues at Close Quarters

Written By: Robert Halter

At the start of Chelsea and Swansea City, the ball was hooked across by Oscar, on the right flank, and the ball was met on the volley from Diego Costa, who could only find the outside netting at the near post. On three minutes, when Oscar launched the ball over the top, the Swans shot stopper, Lukasz Fabianski was quick on his feet to stifle the advancing Costa. On six minutes, it should have been water off a ducks back for the Swans’ Bafe Gomis, but his header went over the bar from a Jonjo Shelvey corner. In the eleventh minute, Andre Ayew’s pass gave space to Shelvey, who cut in from the right, but Thibaut Courtois, comfortably collected from a low delivery. On fourteen minutes, Ayew and Shelvey combined to set Gomis free but he fluffed his lines as first the Blues captain, John Terry stifled the attack before Gary Cahill hacked the ball away. A minute later, a double handed stop by Courtois fended away Ki Sung-Yueng’s goal bound strike, from a pass across by Gomis. On seventeen minutes, Fabianski leapt into the air to clutch hold of a deflected effort off the Swans captain, Ashley Williams, from a thunderous long range blast by Nemanja Matic. In the twenty second minute, Chelsea struck the first blow, as Oscar’s free kick evaded Cahill’s back heel and flew straight into the net, following a clumsy challenge by Gomis on Cesar Azpilicueta. However the Swans got back on level terms in the twenty ninth minute, when Jefferson Montero swung a ball over from the left and as Gomis’s header brought an instinctive save by Courtois, the ball fell to Ayew, whose initial strike rebounded off Terry on the line, but Ayew snapped up the ricochet and fired the ball in. Although within a minute, Chelsea were back in the lead, as Willian’s strike looped off Fernandez  and cannoned past Fabianski, into the net. The momentum was with Chelsea, as within three minutes, the ball was played back from Branislav Ivanovic, and Fabianski had to claw away Costa’s strike from a tight angle. But there was more work to do for Courtois, who had to turn away Gylfi Sigurdsson’s long range strike, who had been supported by a ball from Montero in the thirty sixth minute. Four minutes later, after Sung-Yueng pulled up injured, an enforced change was made as the Swans brought on Jack Cork. The Swans were the quickest out the traps for the second half but Fernandez ballooned his header from a Shelvey corner. Then at the second time of asking, the ball crashed against the outside of the near post from a Shelvey corner in the forty ninth minute. But in the next two minutes, the Blues were dealt a blow as Courtois was red carded by referee Michael Oliver for pulling down the advancing Gomis, from a floating ball by Shelvey, in the middle of the park. The Blues new goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic replaced Oscar, but was sent the wrong way from Gomis’s spot kick to bring the game level at 2-2. In the fifty seventh minute, Begovic dived to his left to palm away a low strike by Montero and on the hour mark, Montero was again stopped by Begovic, who pushed his near post strike over the bar, after Sigurdsson had carved the opening. From a Shelvey corner, Begovic was then forced to punch the ball away, once again. In the sixty fifth minute, Ivanovic spurned a Fabregas free kick, after the Spaniard had been fouled by Shelvey. After Montero fell awkwardly from Willian’s rash challenge, Wayne Routledge took his place, and from Shelvey’s weighted pass Routledge could have made an immediate impact but his drive in the area was caught by the clutches of Begovic. Then an inspired run by Willian, gave space for Hazard, but as he went past Neil Taylor, an important block by Fabianski, palmed the ball away, on seventy four minutes. Fabregas was then sacrificed for Kurt Zouma and the Swans later changed Gomis with Eder. In the final stages Radamel Falcao replaced Willian, and as Falcao tried to steer the ball towards goal, Fabianski was at hand to pick up, in the eighty sixth minute, after Hazard’s neat touch, as the game ended in a draw.