Report - Swansea City 1-1 Chelsea
31st January 2012
Swansea City were denied a home victory against Chelsea on Tuesday night as a 93rd minute equaliser, courtesy of an unfortunate Neil Taylor own goal gave Villas-Boas's side a share of the points a full house Liberty Stadium.
It was a game of two very different halves. The Swans dominated the first, creating the most chances which they converted into a Scott Sinclair goal before the break. The Blues came out fighting in the second half, pressurised the hosts continually and made it difficult for us to put our passes together.
When it looked like the Swans were going to defend and keep their 1-goal lead until the final whistle, especially after Ashley Cole's late sending off, they were dealt a harsh blow in the third of four injury time minutes, after a shot from the right deflected past Vorm and into the bottom left corner.
Having made ten changes for the FA Cup game at Bolton on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers reverted back to a more familiar full strength side which saw Sigurdsson again picked in midfield ahead of Kemy Agustien.
The first half saw the Swans maintain a lot of possession, and while their attacking play was far more structured, patient and prepared, Chelsea were more direct via the counter attack but fortunately they were unable to threaten Vorm's goal. Fernando Torres struggled to pose a threat to the home defence. Neil Taylor in particular was almost faultless defensively and he also offered a helpful attacking support down the left flank. The same couldn't be said for his opposite number Ashley Cole though, who resorted to frequent fouling, which eventually led to his late sending off.
Swansea's early domination should have led to their opening goal of the game midway through the half when Danny Graham got the better of Petr Cech on the edge of the penalty area. The striker managed to round the keeper, but two or three poor shots that followed were all blocked by covering defenders.
While the hosts had all the possession, you had the feeling that Chelsea had the individual quality to score a goal out of nothing, as they didn't half as much build-up play to get into shooting positions. Their accuracy was lacking, with a few shots flying harmlessly wide of the goal. Daniel Sturridge, a former target for Rodgers, had the visitor's best chance. He did well to turn but his follow up shot was poor.
With 6 minutes remaining of the opening 45, former Chelsea winger Scott Sinclair must have been abolsutely thrilled to score against his former club. He hasn't scored many goals from open play so far this season but this one was his best of the campaign so far. Sigurdsson, who had been whipping in good pacey crosses throughout, saw a free-kick half-cleared to Sinclair, and his left footed shot beat Cech and into the top left corner to give us the lead at half time.
Chelsea struggled to get the ball and keep it in the first half, but the two sides swapped identities it seemed in the second. It was the hosts who struggled to string two passes together after the restart, while the Blues threatened often and kept the Swans on the back foot for most of the half.
Brendan Rodgers side sat deep, and invited Chelsea's pressure onto them in the final third. It looked like we had managed to cope in defence with the visitor's attacking momentum, and we expected it would ease and almost disappear following Cole's inevitable red card. Swansea finally had some of the ball after Chelsea were reduced to ten-men, but our lack of ambition to go for the second goal was punished very late on.
You could say it was cruel to concede such a late goal, but Chelsea were still able to get into a decent position down the right with ten men and force a shot towards goal. Brendan Rodgers criticised his team last Saturday after not managing the game well, having gone a goal in front, and it was the same situation tonight. We didn't keep the ball well enough late on and we weren't able to close off the final few minutes by simply not conceding possession.
We were denied the chance to go up to tenth, but you have to take plenty of positives when you walk away from the Liberty Stadium frustrated not to have beaten a team like Chelsea. Not only that, but to see the Chelsea fans absolutely delighted to rescue a point against us.
Swansea: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams (capt), Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdsson (Kemy Agustien, 67), Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair (Luke Moore, 78), Danny Graham.
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Garry Monk, Jazz Richards, Wayne Routledge, Leroy Lita.
Chelsea: Petr Cech (capt), Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Oriol Romeu (Michael Essien, 65), Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Florent Malouda (Romelu Lukaku, 80), Raul Meireles, Jose Bosingwa, Daniel Sturridge.
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, Lucas Piazon.