A Jose Bosingwa deflected equaliser denied former reserve team coach Brendan Rogers’s Swansea team a famous victory , on our first trip to Wales for a top flight league clash for over fifty years, and our first outing at the Liberty Stadium.
With the Blue’s two longest serving players Terry and Lampard both out, Petr Cech took the captains armband. There was still no place for new signing Gary Cahill as Bosingwa was recalled and Ivanovic moved to centre back. Romeu was selected to replace the injured Ramires in the only other change from the 1-0 win at QPR on Saturday. The front three of Mata, Torres and Sturridge was unchanged for a fourth consecutive game, while Brazilian forward Piazon was on the bench for the first time, just days after his 18th birthday, where he sat alongside fellow youngsters Bertrand and Lukaku. Swansea were unchanged from their previous league game. Chelsea loanee Josh McEachran was ineligible under the terms of the deal.
There was a late referee replacement, with Andre Marriner replacing Kevin Friend.
Swansea came out of the traps the quickest, making a positive, confident start, as they usually do at home, where only Manchester United have taken three points. The first chance of the game fell to Danny Graham, who hit a shot a few feet out from a free kick after a foul by Romeu.
Chelsea didn’t have a real attack until around the 10 minute mark, although Bosinwa, using his pace to make a run down the right on his 100th start for the Blues, was dispossessed by Sinclair, a former blue with a point to prove. Danger returned at the other end moments later, although it was prevented due to Graham being flagged offside.
Chelsea were at this stage careless in possession, particularly Meireles who misplaced a couple of easy passes. Then suddenly, from nothing Chelsea nearly went ahead, Sturridge coming so close from the edge of box. Sturridge was looking the liveliest of our forward players, and after getting the better of Sinclair, was caught by Neil Taylor, who could have no complaints about a deserved booking.
There was panic in the Chelsea rearguard as Sigurdsson had a shot blocked, Luiz hit a Graham effort on the line as Chelsea backs were to the wall. Swansea were certainly asking most of questions in opening 20 minutes and having most of play.
Chelsea’s best option looked to be on the break, although Vorm comfortably saved Sturridge’s shot, whilst Torres, a year to the day after signing for the Blues for £50m(more than the whole Swansea squad is worth) was left a frustrated figure in centre, and was then constantly taunted with “what a waste of money” chants that he is now accustomed to.
Chelsea then settled, came more into game and had more possession. Meireles was denied by Swansea captain Ashley Williams in the box, and Luiz was denied by two defenders after a barnstorming run down the left hand side. Torres couldn’t quite find Sturridge, when a tentative pass with not enough conviction was blocked by Williams, a big chance missed. Just after, Mata tried to dink a cunning shot over Vorm to no avail.
At the other end, a Dyer shot was held by Cech, before Romeu shot through bodys but had his attempt saved by Vorm at the near post, this was followed by a succession of Chelsea corners, although Swansea cunningly continued to clear the danger.
Scott Sinclair then put Swansea 1-0 up by remarkably looping the ball into net over Cech, the lack of celebration, despite being bombared by his team-mates, shows he still has feelings for the club that educated him. His 27goals in the Championship last season, including a hat-trick in the play-off final and 7 so far this season, would suggest to many he shouldn’t have been sold.
The half finished with Chelsea failing to create any clear cut opportunities to equalize, while Cole and Malouda were both booked.
Chelsea started stronger after the interval. Rangel impeded Malouda and became the second Swansea full back to be cautioned. Romeu on the half volley, dragged a shot wide, as Chelsea upped the pressure. Torres was unselfish in the box when he could have and probably should of shot.
A change in shape with Malouda going left, Sturridge right and Mata behind Torres, to provide him with more support, was clear to see and seemed to be fairly effective, as the away sides good spell saw them have 75% of the possession in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Cole will have been disappointed when he put too much on a cross with bodies waiting in danger zone.
The first change of the game saw Essien replace Romeu on 65mins.
A Mata corner saw an Ivanovic header deflected for another, before an Essien strike, reminiscent of him in his prime, hit with severe power rose just over. Aguestien replaced the hard working Sigurdsson for the Welsh side.
Essien’s next strike was not quite as impressive, a wayward shot spinning well off target.
Bosingwa was getting forward regularly, his cross to the dead ball line headed away by Rangel. His next cross saw Sturridge shoot just wide in a crowded box.
Andre looked to the physical presence of Lukaku, bringing him on for Malouda, who’s poor crossing, control and passing during much of the game made him look like a shadow of his former self, on the 80th minute. Luke Moore came on for Sinclair for Swansea, whose defence stayed stubborn and continued to thwart Chelsea’s attacking attempts. The impressive Dyer stretched the Blues defence and hit just wide on break in what was a rare attack for the home side in the second half.
Bosingwa couldn’t keep his shot down as Chelsea were worryingly starting to run out of time.
A frustrated Ashley Cole was sent off for a second bookable offence on the 86mins, just before Luiz clattered Dyer and was lucky not be booked. Chelsea tempers looked frail at this late stage, as the board signified four minutes stoppage time.
A Lukaku shot was collected well by Vorm before Bosingwa equalised, with a shot that deflected off the thigh of Taylor. The Welsh side may feel hard done by after the cruel blow, but statistics point towards a game slightly dominated by Chelsea, despite the fact their seemed to be a lack of conviction and creativity as has been the case so often lately.
Next, we face Manchester United at home on Sunday.