Blues sink the Swans
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea had lost just once to Swansea City in eleven Premier League meetings as the Blues aimed to continue their good form against the Swans at Stamford Bridge, towards the end of February. In the opening minute, Eden Hazard combined with Cesc Fabregas, before Pedro fired over the upright. Then on two minutes, after Martin Olsson was hassled off the ball by Pedro in the box, an alert Diego Costa struck a sweet effort that required Swans keeper, Lukasz Fabianski, to palm away at full stretch. On six minutes, a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner was just too far over for the advancing Federico Fernandez. In the thirteenth minute, after a Fabregas delivery, inter play between Costa and Hazard, gave the ammunition for Fabregas to fire but his shot was deflected behind off Tom Carroll. But the Blues persistence paid off on eighteen minutes as Hazard linked play with Pedro in the area, and as the ball fell to Fabregas, he walked the ball into the bottom left corner. On twenty six minutes, after Costa forced a low strike across the face of goal, a follow up shot by Fabregas, produced a sprawling save by Fabianski, from a cross by Victor Moses on the right by line. On thirty six minutes, after a foul by Martin Olsson on Moses, a free kick by Fabregas on the right was headed wide from Blues captain, Gary Cahill. In the forty third minute, a weaving run by Pedro, ended with his strike cannoning behind off Alfie Mawson. But the Swans equalised on the stroke of half time from a long free kick by Sigurdsson, and a floating header by Fernando Llorente, flew into the roof of the net, following Sigurdsson being appended by N’Golo Kante. On forty six minutes, from an incisive through ball by Fabregas, it put Hazard clean through and a one handed save by Fabianski, averted the danger as he dived to his right. In the fiftieth minute, as Marcos Alonso started the move on the left, a pull back by Hazard, was met with a soaring strike by Fabregas which crashed against the top of the crossbar. A decision went against the Swans, as the ball appeared to have struck Cesar Azpilicueta on both hands in the area and then Chelsea had a penalty appeal turned away for a clumsy challenge by Mawson on Costa in the box, as referee Neil Swarbrick remained unmoved on both occasions. But on seventy one minutes, the Blues restored their advantage with Kante orchestrating the move and Fabregas pulling the strings before fine tuning by Pedro, that left Fabianski plucking the ball out of thin air, as Pedro’s strike went through his arms, into the left side of the goal, before Pedro was changed for Nemanja Matic, while the Swans took off Carroll for Jordan Ayew, just before Sigurdsson struck a free kick at Thibaut Courtois, following an infringement by David Luiz on Llorente. The Swans made a second switch of Luciano Narsingh for Wayne Routledge. On eighty two minutes, after a low left wing cross by Matic, a lofted strike by Kante, went over. But two minutes later, the game was out of sight, Matic rolled the ball into the path of Hazard, whose low cross from the left was rammed into the net by Costa. With the game won at 3-1, a double Blues change saw Kurt Zouma take over from Victor Moses and Willian replace Hazard. At the end an Azpilicueta ball was back heeled by Willian into the path of Fabregas, who lofted the ball over the upright, but it was Chelsea extending their lead to eleven points at the top of the Premier League table, with a twelfth consecutive win at home.