Andre Marriner’s poor call results in the Blues dropping the first points of the season at the Liberty Stadium. The English Category 1 official made some shocking decisions in the first half which denied Chelsea three blatant free kicks alongside the huge blunder which cost the Blues a crucial goal later in the 2nd half.
Chelsea cruised past Swansea in the first half after a scintillating team performance. The Blues remained compact and the highlight of their display remained the recycling of the possession after losing it; Kante, at the heart of that.
Antonio Conte named an unchanged starting XI with changes on the bench as the new signings Luiz and Alonso replaced the youngsters Loftus-Cheek and Aina.
Overall, it was a disappointing match for Chelsea given their dominance didn’t result in a comfortable win and instead the Blues had to fight their way back to earn a draw in the 81st minute. Not being able to kill the games off has remained a problem for Chelsea in recent times and it was reflected in this game as well.
Chelsea setting up to defend against Swansea’s play in the opening minutes of the game.
Chelsea opened the play strongly and maintained a fast tempo. Tactically, Oscar started off alongside Costa to pressure the Swansea defence but soon joined the midfield to form a 4-1-4-1 formation. Kante guarded the Chelsea defence in the Makelele role whereas Willian and Hazard remained as two wide players with Matic in the center of the park.
Oscar’s role was crucial to nullify Ki’s influence early in the game as he closed down the Korean international when Swansea had the possession while operating on the right side of the midfield.
Kante playing a diagonal ball for Hazard while Oscar and Willian charge forward to support which resulted in Chelsea’s opening goal.
Kante and Matic pivot, similar to opening three games of the season, protected the back four as Willian, Hazard and Oscar all made surging runs forward when in possession in a 4-2-3-1 manner with either Azpilicueta or Ivanovic overlapping to provide width to their play.
Recycling of the possession quickly was the noticeable feature of Chelsea’s play in the first half. Kante, arguably the best defensive player in Premier League, showcased his astute discipline throughout the game. The central midfield of Kante, Matic and Oscar collectively made four interceptions and three clearances while winning 57% of the aerial duels.
Throughout the game, Chelsea players stood strong and recovered the ball well when Fabianski thumped the ball long. The glaring example would be in the 80th minute when John Terry contested the goal kick which subsequently resulted in an equalizing goal for Chelsea from Diego Costa after good play from Ivanovic.
The notorious Spanish striker was at the heart of Chelsea’s plays going forward.
Diego Costa’s (number 19) contribution for the opening goal.
Apart from scoring the brace, Costa looked lively. He contested for everything that came his way and fought to make things happen in the attack. He dropped deep when he was required to and made spaces for Hazard and Willian, both, to take the man marking defender out of the equation.
Diego Costa’s heat map vs. Swansea
Despite being rattled by Jordi Amat early in the game after a clattering tackle, the Spanish man kept his calm and progressed to play one of his finest games in a Chelsea shirt.
The changes proved essential in earning a draw from Antonio Conte. Fabregas and Moses were sent near the 77th minute mark and their impact proved vital. Moses, a more traditional winger compared to Willian, remained on the right win to occupy Kingsley while Chelsea kept delivering crosses in the box. Matic was replaced by Fabregas who showcased his quality by creating five chances in closing fifteen minutes of the game. To win the game, Conte threw on Batshuayi late on in the game but it wasn’t enough to seal a victory.
Although a draw, Chelsea can still manage to take positives out of the game. For starters, Costa’s form. He was immense the whole game winning a massive total of eleven duels and seven fouls. The transition from midfield to attack seems to be sorted out under the new manager which was a problem beforehand. The diversity on the bench is another positive moving forward. However, Chelsea still haven’t found the right combination to put the games to bed when they are in complete control of the game, like this one.