An exhausting week looks as if it had taken it’s toll on the European Champions as they were held by a resilient Swansea in south Wales. Victor Moses got his first league goal for the club, but Pablo Hernandez earned a point for the hosts with a late strike from the edge of the area.
The day had started badly when the news emerged that David Luiz and the in-form Juan Mata would both miss the trip. This saw Branislav Ivanovic move into the middle alongside Gary Cahill, with Moses replacing Mata.
While the Swans precise passing game was effective throughout, they failed to give Petr Cech too much to worry about, while up the other end Fernando Torres had several sights of goal that on other day might have found their way into the net. His near post flick from an Eden Hazard corner was cleared off the line by Leon Britton.
A charging in Ivanovic wasn’t far away either. The Spaniard was then unable to get sufficient power into a header when a driven cross from Moses bounced up to him in the box.
After all the talk surrounding referees in the last week, Kevin Friend did well to stay anonymous throughout the game today. There was a half-hearted shout for a penalty when Ashley Williams bundled into the back of the Belgian. Hazard had Chelsea’s next chances of note too, and perhaps it says something about the lethargic nature of the performance that these didn’t come until the second half. First the 21-year-old cut in from the left and saw his low shot turned away, before forcing a decent save from the keeper with a curling freekick. It was from the resulting corner that the Blues got themselves in front, Gary Cahill’s towering header flicked off of Moses, onto the post and in. It looked from this point as if Roberto Di Matteo and his side would head back along the M4 with the points with Cech having little to do up to this point, although Nathan Dyer did have the big keeper scrambling to turn his chip over the bar. Even so, Chelsea were in control and should have seen the game out – a hallmark of champions, but with two minutes to go the hosts found a way through. Pablo Hernandez, who had looked bright under dark Welsh skies fired through a crowd of bodies to earn a point that on reflection was probably deserved. The goal winded the Blues and only a last ditch block from Cahill prevented Danny Graham from snatching all the points for the home side.
It brought down the curtain on a sour week for the Blues in the league at least, but with two big home games to come against Shakhtar and then Liverpool, there is plenty to get motivated about. This is around the time of year that the wheels have come off a Chelsea league season in each of the previous two years. Robero Di Matteo must now shut out the off-the-field antics and ensure that is doesn’t happen again.