Ba strikes crucial winner as Chelsea beat Swansea
Chelsea gained a gritty 1-0 victory over a resilient Swansea side that had been reduced to playing with 10 men for most of the game.
Chico Flores’ red card halted the hosts’ strong start, but Chelsea struggled to impose themselves as they put in a disjointed performance and wasted the chances they created, before Demba Ba finally got the all-important goal in the second half.
Chelsea should have taken the lead in the opening minutes after Branislav Ivanovic’s cutback found Mohamed Salah, but the Egyptian sidefooted wide from just a few yards out to send one of the best chances of the game going begging.
Swansea were enjoying the better of the first half, however, with Jonjo Shelvey first wasting an excellent opening with a poor cross before a towering Wilfried Bony header was well-saved by Petr Cech. But things were about to get a lot worse for the hosts.
Chico ended up in the book with a cynical foul to deny a Chelsea counter-attack, and just two minutes later the Spaniard brought down Andre Schurrle as he advanced down the left flank with a poor challenge. Phil Dowd hesitated, but in the end produced a second yellow for the centre-back to bring the hosts down to 10 men.
Despite the numerical advantage, Chelsea could not make it count and struggled to put real pressure on the Swansea goal. Salah had another fine chance just before half-time, but contrived to blaze over the bar from just 10 yards out.
Mourinho reacted by making two half-time changes, bringing on Oscar and Samuel Eto’o for Schuerrle and Ramires, and the veteran striker had a golden opportunity not long into the second half. Ashley William’s botched clearance saw the ball fall right to him just 10 yards out, but he contrived to drill it wide with the goal gaping.