Blues stop the Swans
Written By: Robert Halter
Swansea City had not won a league game at Stamford Bridge in ninety two years, prior to their night match with Chelsea, end of November, as the Swans were perched in the relegation zone. In the opening minute, an over the top ball by Alvaro Morata fell to Pedro, who had his shot on the left of the area blocked by Mike van der Hoorn. On nine minutes, after the Swans captain, Wilfried Bony brought down Cesc Fabregas, a whipped in free kick by Willian, brushed off the head of Marcos Alonso, and narrowly past the right post. Four minutes later, from a pass by Alonso, a low right footed strike by Morata went into the safe keeping of the Swans shot stopper, Lukasz Fabianski. In the sixteenth minute, after a stray ball by Kyle Naughton, the ball was driven in from Davide Zappacosta directly at Fabianski. In the following three minutes, through a Fabregas delivery, a poor header by Roque Mesa, went into the path of Pedro, who fired his strike into Fabianski. On the twentieth minute, from a Willian corner, the ball bounced off Morata’s head and out of play. Midway through the first half, from Willian’s pull back, a strike by Pedro was scrambled behind from the palms of Fabianski, and from the resulting corner by Fabregas, a cushion header by Morata was caught by Fabianski. In the twenty eighth minute, from an over the top delivery by Fabregas, on the volley an instinctive strike by Morata was turned over the upright by Fabianski. On thirty five minutes, off a Fabregas corner, the ball was powerfully headed behind the back of the right post by Alonso. In the forty first minute, from a Willian pass across, the ball was poked wide of the far left post by Pedro. After a confrontation with the fourth official, Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte was sent from his technical dug out to the stands by referee, Neil Swarbrick. Before the restart for the second half, Leroy Fer replaced Renato Sanches. On fifty three minutes from Willian’s low cross, the ball was blazed over from Pedro. But the Blues opened the scoring in the fifty fifth minute, from a short corner with Fabregas and Willain, before N’Golo Kante’s strike in deflected off the head of Bony, and at close range, Antonio Rudiger applied a header into the bottom left corner. Three minutes later, Chelsea went close to a second, as from Pedro’s ball across, a low strike from Alonso was instinctively saved with the reflexes of Fabianski. Following a hand ball by Martin Olsson, a free kick by Fabregas on the right, was met with a header by Morata, that was acrobatically tipped over from Fabianski, in the sixty second minute. In the following two minutes, as Morata charged through from Alonso’s pas, he clipped the ball high over the top. The Swans then took off Mesa for Oliver McBurnie. The first Swans threat took until the sixty sixth minute when from Jordan Ayew’s incisive pass, Fer curled the ball out to the right of the top hand corner. In the next two minutes, Willian cut in from the left and his bending strike was clawed away from the bottom right corner by Fabianski. On seventy two minutes, as Ayew went through on the right, at a tight angle, Thibaut Courtois, held onto his strike. Then up field, after playing a one two with Willian, a low shot from Alonso went straight at Fabianski. The Blues then changed Zappacosta with Victor Moses, before Chelsea later made a double substitution of Eden Hazard for Pedro and Danny Drinkwater replacing Willian. After a Fabregas cross went past Morata and Hazard in the goal mouth, a final switch was made by the Swans with Wayne Routledge taking the place of Ayew. Near the end of the match, a delivery from Routledge was just out the reach of Martin Olsson and Bony at the far post. A final card was shown to Morata, who got booked for back heeling the ball out of play to waste time, but he need not of worried as Chelsea collected three points with a slender 1-0 victory over Swansea City, who remained second from bottom of the table while the Blues maintained their position in the top three before a busy schedule of fixtures during the December festive period.