Abi Davies loved her trip to London so much after the Arsenal game two weeks ago she came back this weekend. Unfortunately her trip co-incided with Chelsea banishing any early season wobbles.
Swansea went into Saturday’s fixture at Stamford Bridge still searching for their first point away from home having been condemned to defeat at The Etihad Stadium on the opening weekend of the season, before being unfortunate not to come away from The Emirates with a point two weeks ago.
Swansea had no fresh injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game and were bolstered by the return of Danny Graham who recovered from the injury that kept him sidelined for the Swans first Premier League victory. However Swansea’s record signing had to settle for a place among the substitutes as Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side to the one that comprehensively brushed aside West Brom last weekend.
Despite facing opposition of a different calibre, Swansea were able to match Chelsea in every department early on, with some highly effective link play down both channels.
The first opportunity for the visitors coming when Nathan Dyer combined well with Angel Rangel out wide before the Catalan delivered a great ball into the box, however Ivanovic was on hand to clear the ball away for a corner.
Swansea continued to enjoy early possession and appeared to have the home side rattled, however were unable to apply any substantial pressure high up the field with the majority of their passing movements taking place inside their own half
Despite Swansea’s ability to pass the ball around well, it was Villas-Boas’ side creating the better chances as Meireles, Ramires and Ivanovic all tried their luck from long range, before Fernando Torres finally broke the deadlock with little under half an hour gone. Having been fairly anonymous up until this point, the Spaniard did well to score his second goal in two games with his first real involvement. The £50million striker got in behind the Swans defence, showing great control to chest the ball down before turning and drilling the ball into the bottom far corner.
The home side doubled their advantage just 7 minutes later. As Chelsea played the ball out from the back. With some great route one football, Ashley Cole’s instinctive ball through into the box found Ramires in acres of space, allowing him to collect his composure before blasting the ball past Dutch international Vorm.
Swansea were given a glimmer of hope with 6 minutes of the half remaining. As Mark Gower looked to push into Chelsea’s half, Fernando Torres lunged in on the midfielder, and despite no complaints about the challenge from Gower himself, Mike Dean had no hesitations in producing a red card for Torres.
Although a man short, Chelsea did not look rocked by Torres’ dismissal as they retained their two goal lead going in at the break.
Having risen from the brink with Swansea, playing in all four divisions with the club, Leon Britton again stood out as one of the best players in a Swans shirt on Saturday, making numerous timely interceptions as well as being in the midst of most Swansea movements, the diminutive midfielder once again proved instrumental during the first half, before being substituted at Stamford Bridge as Brendan Rodgers looked to implement a more attacking formation with the introduction of Wayne Routledge.
Swansea were the quicker out of the blocks after the interval and during a period of pressure in and around the Chelsea box, Nathan Dyer was first to try his luck and came agonisingly close to opening Swansea’s account away from home, when his effort deflected off Mikel before rattling the cross bar. From the resulting corner the ball fell for Ashley Williams who couldn’t get enough power on his header allowing Cech to collect with ease.
The Welsh centre back came close again moments later as he forced Bosingwa into making a goal line clearance.
Danny Graham was introduced on the hour mark in place of Lita, and for me, proved a much bigger challenge for Chelsea’s defence, pressing them deep in their own half and looked hungry to score his first competitive goal for Swansea.
Nicolas Anelka came close to scoring a superb individual goal, having made a surging run forward his shot was denied only by the woodwork.
Chelsea did extend their lead in the 76th minute when Remires cut inside Ashley Williams before calmly steering the ball past Vorm.
The Swans were finally rewarded for their endeavour when Ashley Williams pulled a goal back with four minutes of normal time remaining, as he found himself unmarked inside the area to connect and head home from Mark Gower’s perfectly weighted free kick. Williams goal means Chelsea have now conceded in all but one of their opening 6 league games this season.
Williams came close to adding a second for the visitors shortly after, however this time he couldn’t quite direct his header on target.
Deep into injury time Didier Drogba restored Chelsea’s three goal advantage after slotting the ball past Michel Vorm and into the bottom corner.
Full time Chelsea 4-1 Swansea
Having been handed his full league debut against West Brom last weekend, Leroy Lita’s goal, assist and overall work ethic saw him deservedly retain his place in Swansea’s starting XI on Saturday. Despite possessing a number of key attributes, I feel the English striker would work far more effectively as part of a 4-4-2 formation, due to his ability to hold off defenders and flick the ball on from a deeper position, which he tried to do several times against Chelsea however time after time found he had no-one in support.
Coming up against some of the premier leagues elite players, Swansea knew they were facing a mammoth challenge to take anything from the game, and in the end Chelsea’s clinical ability and more direct approach to goal proved too much for the Welsh side.
Swansea play host to Stoke next weekend,another difficult test for Rodgers side after the Potters ended Manchester United’s 100% winning start to the season yesterday.