Another trip to Wales, another disappointing result for the Blues, as a resilient Swansea City battled to a 2-2 draw in the principality. A Diego Costa brace canceled out two second half goals from the Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer, as Chelsea drop their first points under manager Antonio Conte.
For large portions of the match, Chelsea were much the better side, registering 28 shots total and 7 on target to just six shots for Swansea with two finding the target, though those two shots on target would provide the Swans with both of their goals.
Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin set up his side to frustrate the Blues through their physical play, deploying a back three for the first time this season.
That game plan seemed to be undone early on, as Chelsea’s high press caused Swansea problems and stifled the Swans options when going forward.
Chelsea took the lead in the 18th minute through Costa when Branislav Ivanovic’s cross from the right was half-cleared by Federico Fernandez and found Oscar in space just on the edge of the penalty area. The Brazilian quickly laid the ball off for Costa, who unerringly found the bottom corner of the net beyond the reach of the diving Lukas Fabianski.
Eden Hazard nearly doubled the lead minutes later when he expertly intercepted a pass in midfield and raced in on goal. However, his run took him a bit too wide of the goal, and the angle allowed Fabianski to make a comfortable save.
Costa should have also made it 2-0 when John Terry flicked a corner to the far post, but the arriving Costa could only skew his shot wide.
Swansea grew into the first half and began to gain a bit of possession, resulting in a chance for Sigurdsson from outside the area that he could only flash wide of the left-hand post.
After the break, Guidolin withdrew Neil Taylor and switched to a more traditional back four, and it provided the Swans some stability.
The change would result in the equaliser, as an overhit cross from Modou Barrow on the left caught Thibault Courtois out, with the Belgian keeper missing the ball and tripping Sigurdsson in the process.
The Iceland international made no mistake from the spot, beating Courtois down the middle for pace and justifying Guidolin’s changes at the break.
The Italian manager couldn’t have predicted the build-up to the second Swansea goal that would give them the lead. A square ball from John Terry coupled with a poor first touch from Gary Cahill allowed Leroy Fer to race in on goal and slip a shot between the legs of Courtois, though replays showed that Cahill was fouled by Fer from behind.
Conte’s response was to introduce Victor Moses for Willian and Cesc Fabregas for Nemanja Matic, and Fabregas’ appearance in particular restored Chelsea’s control in the midfield.
Fabregas initiated Chelsea equaliser, as his dinked pass found Ivanovic in space over the top. The Serbian’s shot took a deflection and sat up nicely for Costa, who found the net with an overhead kick that deflected off of Fernandez.
The introduction of Michy Batshuayi allowed Chelsea to continue to press for a winner, but on this day, it was not to be, as the Swansea defence held firm to give each side a point.