Match Report - Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City
8th August 2015 - 5:30pm
Swansea City enjoyed another excellent opening day to their Premier League season as they held champions Chelsea to an exciting 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho`s men are still waiting for a win since the end of last season, having failed to do so throughout the Summer, and his side showed their frustration throughout the game as Garry Monk`s side ruined their opening day.
It looked like it was going to go the host`s way when, midway through the first half, Oscar`s inswinging free kick from a wide left position went all the way in as Fabianski was wrong footed by the movement from Cahill in front of him. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp picked up at half time that Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis had his hands on his knees just before the ball came in, and could have done a better job in blocking the ball.
Chelsea`s lead lasted barely 5 minutes though. Debutant and new Summer signing Andre Ayew scored after Gomis` initial headed effort from Montero`s cross was saved, Ayew`s was too, before a clever drag back allowed him to find his spot to net from about 8 yards.
It was the perfect response, as the Blues hardly deserved their lead as the Swans had competed brilliantly, defending well, closing the space, applying superb and intense pressure and causing chances of their own. One of which should have saw Gomis open the scoring when through on goal, but he took too long having done well to pass Cahill, but Terry was there to make a good recovery tackle.
Winger Jefferson Montero was Swansea`s star until he was forced off the field after 71 minutes. The Ecuadorian made it a very miserable afternoon for right back Ivanovic, who had no clue how to cope with his pace and skill. Willian could hardly offer any support either as he was busy enough trying to mark Taylor`s attacking runs from full back.
It was a Swansea City performance that deserves such huge credit and applause. It was different from last year, and any other since our promotion to the Premier League in 2011. Our reading of the game, pressure, intensity, effort, determination and team spirit was first class.
It was clear that Monk had concentrated on getting the shape of his team right last year, and planning out different ways of coping with different matches etc. But now he`s got that sussed, he`s got his team playing and integrating better than ever before. The quick passing, the ability to get out of tight situations and into good attacking positions was excellent, and our ease in getting forward to create chances was superb.
To sum it up, since Opta first started recording detailed statistics in 2003, no other side has managed more shots on target away at Chelsea than Swansea City did today. A incredible 10, out of 18 shots in total.
That just goes to show that Swansea City really could have beaten the champions today on their own soil.
Earlier this Summer, Shelvey said that we`d see the team playing differently this season and you could see that today. The team had a different level of intensity and pace to their game. The understanding of each other and the passing was slicker and quicker, and direct balls met forward runs - often catching the Chelsea defence out. In fact, the Sky Sports pundits were surprised how often the visitors were able to get in behind the home defence.
Federico Fernandez was very unfortunate and unlucky to see his name under the scoresheet, as Willian`s cross from near the byline took a wicked deflection off the Argentine, as the ball flew over the helpless Fabianski and into the net.
Another stroke of luck in favour of Chelsea, but Swansea`s character shone through as they never lacked belief that they could get something out of the game.
The sides went in at half time with the Blues slightly in front at 2-1, but Jose Mourinho will have known that his side`s narrow lead didn`t reflect their first half performance that was evenly matched by their visitor`s.
Chelsea lacked their usual attacking flair. Costa wasn`t on his game, Fabregas was able to thread through some clever passes into the penalty area, and Hazard tried to go on his mazy runs but the Swans defence looked a different unit compared to last year at the Bridge. They were committed in the tackle, applied pressure and crowded Chelsea - not allowing them much space to create much in front of goal. Williams and Fernandez had to make a vital interception, block or tackle here and there which often prevented Fabianski from being forced into action.
Their defending from set pieces was excellent throughout, and despite his error for Chelsea`s opener, Gomis often contributed with some good clearances at corners.
Gomis missed an early chance from a Shelvey corner, heading the ball over as he directed it to the far post. He had an even better opportunity to score when he was put through on goal, but he wasn`t going to miss his third chance from the penalty spot.
Chelsea were down to 10 men after just 10 minutes since the restart. Shelvey played an excellent ball over the top for Gomis to run onto. Willian kept him onside, leaving Terry and Cahill confused thinking the assistant would wave for offside. The pair were back-peddaling, forcing goalkeeper Cortois to race off his line, but he caught Gomis with a high leg, bringing him down just inside the box. Referee Michael Oliver didn`t hesitate for a second in awarding the spot kick and showing the shot stopper a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Both Jamie Redknapp and Thierry Henry disagreed that it was red card - saying it wasn`t a clear goalscoring chance as the ball was going away from goal, but surely if a striker has got the ball past the goalkeeper with only 1 covering defender, before being brought down, then he is being denied a clear chance to score!?
Fortunately, Oliver wasn`t as in favour with Chelsea in the second half as he was in the first, and Gomis finally stepped up after a long delay to send Begovic the wrong way and put the scores equal once again at 2-2.
Swansea City went on to dominate large periods of the second half. Montero had the beating of Ivanovic every single time he received the ball, and he must have been relieved - as well as every Chelsea employee and supporter to see him forced off with a minor injury after 71 minutes.
Monk`s side never quite looked as threatening without the winger. Routledge came on, and played more central and had an early chance after being sent through on goal. Gomis also saw the ball go into the net again but his header was ruled out for offside.
The warning signs were definitely there for the Champions. Fabregas was taken off, Falcao also came on, free kicks were being lumped into the box as they struggled to find an undeserved winner in the final 10 minutes.
Monk afterwards said he was only disappointed with the last 10 minutes, as his side looked less likely to score, and had to do more defensive work against the ten men, but he admitted that his team were probably settling and looking to hold on to what is a massive point away at the Champions.