Premier League - Ba strikes crucial winner as Chelsea beat Swansea

Premier League, Liberty Stadium - Swansea City 0 Chelsea 1 (Ba 68)

Premier League - Chelsea keep up pressure at top

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Demba Ba #19 of Chelsea is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea

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.

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 Schuerrle 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.

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.

Chelsea almost suffered disaster just afterwards as a fine run from Wayne Routledge saw him almost get clear on goal, but his effort took a nick off Ivanovic's heel to dribble out of play. And just two minutes later, Chelsea finally made their breakthrough. Two long passes following a quick throw-in saw Nemanja Matic release Ba to advance on the lone defender in Williams, and his fierce effort was too strong for Michel Vorm, who got a hand to it but saw it bounce into the net regardless.

A further wasted chance from Eto'o in injury time continued Chelsea's awful display in front of goal, but they held on to claim the win regardless. It wasn't pretty, but if winning ugly is the sign of Champions, Mourinho's men certainly did that today. They are now just two points behind Liverpool, with a game against the league leaders still to come.


6' - SALAH CHANCE:  How did Chelsea not score? Ivanovic makes a good run to burst down the right channel and his cut-back first eludes Ba but then sits nicely for the onrushing Salah, only for the Egyptian to sidefoot it wide. That was a shocking miss.

16' - FLORES SENT OFF: Unbelievable! Straight after receiving his first booking, the Spaniard brings down Schuerrle with a wayward leg as the German burst into the area. It's harsh, but both were yellow cards by the letter of the law. The home fans are absolutely furious about that.

45+2' - SALAH MISSES AGAIN: It is really not Mohamed Salah's day. He finds his way into a good shooting opportunity yet again, and although he has the close attention of the Swansea defence, he should do far better than he does, blazing high and wide from no more than 10 yards out.

58' - ETO'O MISS: How many chances do Chelsea need? A rare error from Williams sees the ball fall to Eto'o, largely unmarked and just 10 yards out but he fires it wide of the post. Another massive, massive chance passes for the visitors without so much as a shot on target.

60' - ROUTLEDGE CHANCE: And now Swansea almost score at the other end! Incredible. A superb run from Routledge sees him use Bony as a decoy to surge into the area, but his effort takes a nick off a Chelsea defender and goes out for a corner, which just drifts over everybody.

68' - BA GOAL: Chelsea have their breakthrough! It is a bad, bad goal for Swansea to concede after they had done so well all game. Chelsea have a throw-in and suddenly Ba is charging at a lone defender in Williams. Some decent footwork and then a ferocious shot sees Vorm get a hand to it but it bounces over him and into the net. It's not pretty, but it is a huge goal at both ends of the table.

89' - LATE SCARE: Almost a late equaliser! A deep cross gets fired into the Chelsea area for Bony in acres of space - the Ivorian can't connect, but his movement deceives Cech who has to palm away the ball before it nearly drifts in anyway! That was scary stuff for the visitors.

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Chelsea are now unbeaten in all 10 PL matches this season directly following a Champions League match (W9 D1).

Not since a 4-1 victory against Queens Park Rangers on 9 February 2013 have Swansea conceded a goal in a PL home match and gone on to win. They have kept a clean sheet in their previous six PL home wins.


Can Chelsea overcome their rotten away form? In a two-horse race between a flamboyant, entertaining but naive side and a team of gritty battlers who can win ugly, conventional wisdom states that money ought to be placed on the latter. If Jose Mourinho can guide his side over the line, it will require all his managerial powers, because his team's away performances continue to be woeful.


Willian (Chelsea): The Brazilian turned out not to be involved in the game's only goal, but for much of the match he was Chelsea's main attacking threat by a considerable distance, posing a threat with some brilliant passing and crossing as he faced a deep defence, rather than his more usual pace and workrate, demonstrating the full range of his talents.


Swansea City: Vorm 5, Rangel 7, Williams 5, Flores 2, Davies 7, Britton 6, Shelvey 5, Dyer 7, Hernandez 6, Routledge 6, Bony 5. Subs: Amat 7, N'gog 5, De Guzman 6.

Chelsea: Cech 7, Ivanovic 7, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 5, Ramires 5, Matic 7, Salah 4, Willian 8, Schurrle 5, Ba 6. Subs: Oscar 5, Eto'o 4, Mikel 5.


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